City raises fees, makes new ones for construction

Posted: Tuesday, October 17, 2000

Fees for services provided by the city's Community Development Department went up Monday night when the Juneau Assembly authorized the hike - and introduced several new fees.

The ordinance increases fees for most land-use actions that come before the Juneau Planning Commission. It was authorized by the assembly during the last budget process, according to City Manager Dave Palmer.

Zone change applications have doubled in price from $250 to $500; variances have gone from $300 to $350; street vacations from $250 to $400; and minor lot consolidation from $75 to $125.

Among the new charges are $350 for access driveways in rights of way; $150 for appeals of the Community Development Department director's decisions to the planning commission; $150 for letters of zoning compliance; and $350 for a hazard area conditional use permit.

The city manager's original request had been for a $300 fee for appeals of the director's decisions, but some assembly members balked at the hike. Appellants have not had to pay for the process since 1992.

"I didn't like the idea of going up to $300," said assembly member Jim Powell. "Although you have to charge something, you don't want to charge for justice."

In testimony before the assembly vote, Juneau Housing Trust President Stephen Sorensen asked that the ordinance include wording exempting nonprofit affordable-housing groups from the fees.

"The assembly has a long history of support for affordable housing and has provided lands, subsidies, grants and such," Sorensen said. "The exemption would help us cut the cost of construction."

The assembly opted not to make exemptions part of the ordinance, however, and instead directed city staff to prepare a resolution in support of continuing grants to affordable-housing groups to offset city fees.

"The resolution shows the intent of the assembly," Powell said. "It shows we want to help the affordable-housing nonprofits do their work."

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