What are your thoughts about recommended fee amounts including the appeal fee amount?
The City of San Luis Obispo is in the process of reviewing the fees that the City charges for services provided by the City; known as User and Regulatory fees and commonly referred to as Cost of Service fees. These fees generally include development services (e.g. planning fees, building permit review fees, inspection) and recreation fees (e.g. classes, sport programs) and the review consits of fees from Planning, Public Works, Engineering, Utilities, Police, Finance, and Fire Departments. Working with NBS Government Finance Group a Fee Study was produced in February 2017.
Staff Report and City Council Study Session. Upon receipt of the Fee Study, staff put together a City Council Study Session Staff Report and the results of the Fee Study were reviewed by the City Council at a study session on February 21st (see below presentation from the February 21 Council Study Session, the full item including City Council deliberation is available here).
Key changes discussed in the report include the following:
- Cost Recovery for Parks and Recreation (fees are at/near policy range, some fee adjustments and policy adjustments, increase to Jack House fee)
- Cost Recovery for Fire Department (recommended change to 100% cost recovery for annual multi-family dwelling unit inspections - apartments, hotels, fraternity/sorority)
- Cost Recovery for Planning Entitlements (100% recovery with some exceptions, continued use of "split fee collection")
- Removal of Development Review Surcharge (replaced with direct cost accounting by department by project type)
- Appeal Fees (updated appeal fee methodology by Tier)
- Comparative Fee Survey (compare fees to fees charged in other communities)
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City Council Direction. Overall, the City Council supported the recommended fee amounts with direction for some fees to be further adjusted or reviewed (e.g. consider raising cost recovery amount for the Mill's Act Participation Fee) (e.g. include reduced fees for non-profit facility rentals). In particular, the City Council directed staff to specifically address the cost of appeal fees within outreach efforts and to obtain feedback from the community on the methodology and cost of appeal fees.
Appeal Fees. The current appeal fee is a flat rate of $281 for any project appeal. The current recommendation is to divide project types into tiers (based on staff time) with a variable appeal fee dependent on tier as shown below. At the February 21st City Council Study Session, staff's recommendation was for the appeal fee to be 25% of the cost of service by tier (e.g. Tier 1 cost of service is $3,114 x 25% = $779 appeal fee). The City Council's discussion included reviewing the potential for a higher cost recovery fee amount for projects that are appealed by the applicant and a lower cost recovery fee amount for proejcts that are appealed by a non-applicant (e.g. resident). The below chart shows cost recovery levels (yellow boxes) and highlights appeal fee amounts by tier for applicant appeals and non-applicant appeals as a starting point for discussion. Example: if the applicant appeals a Tier 1 project, the fee would be $1,557. If a non-applicant appeals a Tier 1 project, the fee would be $623. Please review the following table and below prompt (orange question mark) and provide your feedback.
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For questions please contact Special Projects Manager Marcus Carloni at firstname.lastname@example.org
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