Building Fees Are Based On Footage

Published 6:01 pm Thursday, September 1, 2011

FARMVILLE – There are new building permit fees in the Town of Farmville.

Town Council adopted fees based on square footage instead of a percentage of the estimated cost of construction or renovation.

The change in building permit fees is expected to generate additional revenue for the Town and council unanimously adopted the new rates following a public hearing at which nobody spoke.

“We've had no comments from anybody concerning this change,” Town Manager Gerald Spates told council members.

No comments were made during the public hearing, nor was any communication made to the Town office prior to the hearing.

“I'd like to recommend to council that we approve it,” Spates offered of the new fees that had been endorsed by council's Finance and Ordinance Committee.

A motion to do so was made, seconded, and passed without dissent.

In addition to fees based on square footage, some other building permit fees have increased and the Town is no longer proposing to pay the state's two percent tax, which would be added to all building permit fees, under the proposal.

Town officials believe the square footage-based fees will be much easier to administer.

The Town's Building Inspector Phillip Moore notes that the new fee structure “will be more consistent” and will bring the Town of Farmville “in line with other localities.”

During last week's public hearing, Moore told Town Council that the cost-based fees weren't always very consistent. “Similar jobs might have very different costs for the same amount of work…” Moore said.

The goal, he explained, was to “come up with a schedule of fees that would be more consistent…across the board.

“Instead if relying on one big project where you'd get the majority of the permit fees,” Moore told them, “the idea was to spread that out more so that basically everyone shares the burden of the cost. So we followed models of…other localities and came up with a formula that was very similar to what they had,”

The new fee system, he said, will make it “a little bit easier to determine the cost of the permits…less subjective.”

Spates told council that, with the old fee schedule, you could have somebody say a job cost $10,000 and somebody else say the same job cost $2,000.

“We have houses,” Moore followed up, that could “be the exact same square footage and there might be a difference of $40,000…but here (with the new fees) they'd pay the same permit fee.”

The new residential single-family dwelling fee structure calls for a $75 base fee (up from $25) plus 20 cents per square foot of the total footprint. Structural renovations would also see the $75 base fee and 20 cents per square foot of the total renovated space.

For non-structural renovations that do not involve adding, removing or changing any structural member of the building, mobile and modular homes would be charged the $75 base fee and 15 cents per square foot, with a $75 base fee each for separate plumbing, electric or HVAC, while garages and additions would see a $50 base fee and 15 cents per square foot. Porches, sheds and decks would be charged 15 cents per square foot, or a $50 minimum.

In-ground swimming pools would be charged $125 and above ground pools $75.

In the commercial category, new construction and structural renovations would see a $150 base fee plus 25 cents per square foot. Separate plumbing, electric and HVAC would be $150 each, while a commercial accessory structure would be charged a $150 base fee and 25 cents per square foot.

In the Other Inspections category, electric upgrades or change in service would be charged $75, a re-inspection fee would be set at $30 after the second failure, signs would cost $75, moving a building or structure would cost $150 and the plan review is increasing to $200.

A certificate of occupancy for an existing building -amending or transferring a permit would cost $50.

The Commonwealth of Virginia imposes a two percent levy, which the Town of Farmville has been paying, and this will now be added to the cost of the building permit fees.