Development permit fees are set to go up significantly in Banff to cover the cost of review, approvals and enforcement.
At its meeting Monday (Feb. 28), council passed first reading of a bylaw that increases fees to reflect the Town’s direction in the 2011 financial plan to move to full cost recovery of development department services.
A public hearing has been set for March 28 at 2 p.m. If the bylaw is passed, it is expected the proposed hike in fees will bring in an additional $20,000 in development revenues.
Randall McKay, Banff’s manager of planning and development, said the updated costs of development permit fees reflects the administration, review, approval and enforcement services provided by the municipality.
“The proposed amendments to the 2011 development fee schedule are intended to prescribe equitable fees and cost recovery for all development review services provided by the planning and development department,” he said.
“The fees and charges as proposed represent a significant shift from 2010 and have been revised to reflect council’s direction that fees and charges related to development be set at full cost recovery.”
Specifically, the 2011 financial plan indicates that development-related services such as building inspections and development approvals will be set at levels for cost recovery.
The plan also notes that comparisons will be made regularly to ensure fees and charges paid by residents and visitors are competitive with other Alberta towns and similar resort communities.
In addition, one of the goals of the community plan is to diversify Town of Banff revenue streams, so the municipality is not relying on property taxes alone.
McKay said the amount of staff time to review and decide upon a development permit application is difficult to determine and depends on the type, size, complexity and requirements of the application.
He said simpler applications might only take a few weeks or months, while more complex ones may take longer to finalize. Approvals from outside government agencies also tend to extend the process.
“As an example, cumulative staff time on a typical new residential development can range from 30-50 hours or more,” said McKay. “This translates into a range of $1,050 to $1,750 of staff time costs.”
On Monday, council also passed first reading of a bylaw to deal with building fees.
Primary building permit fees for residential and non-residential construction are being maintained at 2010 rates. However, other charges are going up to more closely align with building permit fees in Calgary.
Council also directed administration to return with options other than charging flat fees on projects that vary with the type and size of the building, such as demolition permits.
For example, the fee for a demolition permit is proposed to go from $81 to $1,000, but council wants to see if it should be a series of rates based on the size of a demolition.