City raises developer fees

ENCINITAS — The cost for builders to construct projects in Encinitas will rise slightly in 2018, as the City Council approved a new fee schedule that raises fees by 2.4 percent.

The City Council unanimously approved the new development fee schedule at the Sept. 20 meeting.

The fees cover everything from fire inspections to requests to subdivide property and minor use permits.

The largest increase would be for a tentative subdivision map, which would increase from $11,000 to $13,000 per request, and from $550 to $650 for per lot in excess of five lots.

All told, the city’s fees will generate $2.11 million, compared to the $2.06 million under the previous fee schedule. City officials said the moderate increase allows the city to keep pace with the rising cost of services associated with these fees, which cost the city nearly $2.9 million.

In the case of the fees developers pay for services rendered by the building department, those fees are going down as a result of a reduction in the surcharge rate the city charges developers for the services, which are provided by a contract firm.

The council and staff reversed course on a new proposed fee for a special meeting that city currently doesn’t charge developers for known as a staff advisory committee meeting. This meeting gives developers a chance to meet with heads of city staff to discuss their projects and work out any potential issues before they head through the planning process.

City staff announced they were pulling the proposed $811 fee off the table before the public hearing opened, which allayed concerns from the council and the public.

Tom Cozens, a local real estate agent, said the city should be encouraging more developers to utilize the meetings, and the fee would deter them.

Mayor Catherine Blakespear agreed.

“I’m glad to hear that’s off the table, because I had some issues with it,” she said.

The city most recently raised fees in 2015, after not raising them for nearly a decade.

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