Commissioners recommend development fees to reduce burden on ratepayers

OCEANSIDE — City utilities commissioners unanimously recommended development fees that reduce the burden of new infrastructure costs on ratepayers.

Several commissioners at the Feb. 15 special meeting said they do not like fees, but see the benefits these fees brings.

“I’m not a fan of raising fees, but think this is fair,” Commissioner Brian Rupp said.

Currently the city provides a number of services to developers without collecting fees. These include hydraulic modeling, plan review, inspection and meter exchange.

Commissioner Brian Boyle said he is surprised the city is not already charging fees for these services.

Proposed is a fee for required computerized hydraulic models and impact studies for new developments that determine if current system capacities can serve projects or if systems need improvements.

Fee amounts will be based on the size and complexity of the project, and offset some of the city cost to complete the model and study.

Proposed hydraulic modeling fees will range from $2,500 for a one- to 10-unit development, to $10,000 for a 100- to 400-unit project.

Fees will also be charged for plan checks that review building, grading and improvement plans to ensure that they comply with city water, sewer and reclaimed water design and construction guidelines. These checks also make sure private water and sewer connections work with city systems.

Inspection of grading and improvement plans will be charged at an hourly or flat rate. Inspections entail city staff on-site observation of laying water and sewer pipe in city right of way to see that it meets city design and construction standards. Revenues from collected fees will be used to support continuing inspections.

The city will also charge hourly fees to review trash enclosures and recycling bin plans to see that they comply with solid waste, recycling and organic recycling requirements.

City management analyst Shoshana Aguilar said hourly rates of $75 to $100 will be charged for plan checks.

Proposed grading plan and improvement plan flat rate fees will depend on the size of the project. Review of a minor grading permit is $80. Review of small to medium grading plans run from $150 to $600. The fee for a large grading plan is $1,100.

The flat rate fee to review an improvement plan for a small project is $200. Review of an improvement plan for medium to large projects run from $600 to $1,200.

A proposed $115 fee will be charged to downsize meters. This fee will cover city parts and labor.

The fees will generate an estimated $284,700 annually. This breaks down to $72,500 in hydraulic modeling fees, $88,600 in plan review fees, $30,000 in solid waste plan review fees, $93,200 in inspection fees and $400 in meter exchange fees.

If approved by City Council the fees will go into effect, and increase annually based on the CPI-Urban Index for San Diego. Council will vote on the proposed development fees at a later date.

The next Utilities Commission meeting is at 3:30 p.m. March 20 at City Council Chambers, 300 North Coast Highway, Oceanside.

1 Comment
  1. Nadine Scott 4 months ago

    Now if only we could increase park fees or get developers to include them in larger projects…..

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