Southold Zoning Board of Appeal is calling for fee increases that would double the cost of construction.
According to Leslie Weisman, chairman of the ZBA, the fees have stayed the same since 2011, and over those nine years the board has seen an influx of applications for building structures.
“It’s time we looked at this,” she said Tuesday as she presented a list of fees charged elsewhere to the city administration. Other cities in the East End, including Shelter Island and Southampton, are also doubling fees for working without a permit.
The data collected by the ZBA shows that from March 2018 to February 20 of this year, 45 exemptions were granted for building structures, including house additions, decks, swimming pools, fences and sheds, resulting in application fees of $ 32,300. A doubling of construction costs would have generated $ 64,600 in revenue for the city, according to the table.
“The revenue that we have lost if we do not do what other municipalities are doing is considerable,” said Ms. Weisman.
Supervisor Scott Russell, who agreed that construction fees should be doubled, suggested that fees should take into account the type of derogation granted.
“If you’re conveying property value, it’s fair to ask more,” he said using the example of adding a deck to the living space of a house.
Ms. Weisman said the ZBA only looks at the square footage of a variance.
“It’s size based,” she said. “The board looks 15 feet as 15 feet.”
Alderman Jim Dinizio argued that the ZBA existed to provide relief from the Code and not provide equity to property owners.
“I understand that I have a background in tax advisor, but that there is no zoning board for that … you’re stepping out of line here,” he said.
Ms. Weisman, who said the ZBA had “choked off” with applications, asked the city administration to collect other fees, such as special exemptions for commercial real estate, which could potentially bring more income.
She also proposed to the board of directors to add a renewal fee to comply with the rules of the trustees and construction department.
While working on fees, Ms. Weisman also raised issues with the City Special Events Code, which allows up to six events, such as B. Weddings, to be grouped under a request of 150 USD.
“It’s too cheap,” she said.
Mr. Dinizio noted that many companies make non-specific requests for permits to lock appointments so that when people call to book an event, the appointments are overridden.
While discussions of these other fees continued, the board agreed to prioritize doubling the fee for existing buildings, which Ms. Weisman identified as the most pressing issue. A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday 7 April at 7 p.m.
The city government is also ready to increase the fees for the city’s trustees. They are expected to hold a public hearing at their next meeting on March 10th.