Salmon Arm council has voted to increase city development services fees, to bring them in line with similar-sized communities and better account for staff time.
Council gave third and final reading to the city’s Fee for Service Amendment Bylaw 4343 following a related public hearing on Monday, July 22.
The proposed application fee increases include:
• OCP (official community plan) bylaw amendment, from $800 to $1,500;
• Zoning bylaw amendment, from $800 to $1,200 for regular application, and $500 to $800 for application relating to a secondary suite;
• Combined OCP/zoning, $1,200 to $,2000;
• Development permit, $350 to $1,000;
• Temporary Use Permit, $600 to $1,000.
Fee increases are also proposed relating to subdivision, and applications to the Agricultural Land Commission. In addition, new fees are recommended for referrals relating to radio/cellular communications and, for example, the placement of cell towers.
By comparison, applications for OCP amendments in the CSRD, Vernon, Lake Country and Kelowna range between $1,500 and $3,445; zoning amendments between $920 and $3,445; and development permits as high as $1,715.
In a report to council, Kevin Pearson, city director of development services, explains how fees for applications covered in the proposed schedule have remained largely unchanged since 1998.
“Over that time, fees have become significantly lower than other small to mid-sized communities and compared to other nearby jurisdictions,” writes Pearson.
Revenue from current application fees, Pearson continues, accounts for a small percentage of the cost of staff time.
“The work involved in current planning is highly subsidized; in recent years, accounting for approximately 10 per cent of the department’s operating budget.”
Coun. Kevin Flynn, referring to a letter from the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society supporting the bylaw, noted, “It’s unfortunate we’re dealing with changes 20 years down the road, and therefore they look like they’re significant changes.”
In his comments, Mayor Alan Harrison said the new rates are very competitive with those of neighbouring cities.
“We’re lower in almost every category but not substantially lower and we are recovering more of our cost of staff time that it takes to work through these applications that come to council.”