Building permit fees in North Frontenac have not changed since 2005, even though the building code has changed considerably, Chief Building Official Shawn Merriman told a public meeting last Friday at the North Frontenac Council Chambers in Plevna.
“We have a lot more inspections now and with things like insulated concrete floors and radiant heating, there could be 18 inspections required for a large modern home,” Merriman said. “Fees were very complicated.
“We need to change the bylaw to reflect what’s in the (building) code.”
At the same time, the new bylaw will recognize that the fees for building a deck shouldn’t be the same as for a 1,500 square foot house, he said.
“There will be a minimum charge of $80, whereas it used to cost $180 for a deck,” he said. “That seemed a bit high.”
In many cases, the fee will be much higher than $80 but while the $80 has to be paid up front, it will be deducted from the final bill, he said.
Merriman said that more than 50 per cent of permits will decrease.
He said that in the past, there was no recognition of unique projects and no encouragement to report small projects.
“Yurts have been around for thousands of years but they’re completely different than a 1,500 square foot house with radiant heating and a two-car garage,” he said.
Coun. John Inglis asked how cost would be assessed in an owner-built home, where technically there is little or no labour cost.
“By looking at assessed value and construction value,” Merriman said. “It may cost them $50,000 to build it, but when you ask them what they’d sell it for, it will likely be around $200,000.”
Merriman said the main thing about the new bylaw was to be fair and provide an incentive for people to come in and get a permit and to “address the situations that do occur here.
“We had a lady come in for her yurt saying the $1,875 permit fee wasn’t reasonable.
“You know what — she’s probably right.”
The amendments to the fees bylaw were passed in the regular meeting that followed the public meeting.