The Rhinebeck village board has updated its building fees, more than doubling some key ones.
The increases, which go into effect Sept. 1, will impact both residential and commercial building permits.
A residential building permit currently costs $250 for the first 1,000 sq. feet, and $75 for each additional 1,000 square feet. Under the new fee structure, the price per square foot will be $0.55. That means a building permit for a new 1,500-square-foot residential structure will be $825, up from the current $325.
For most types of commercial construction, the new fee will be $0.64 per square foot, compared to the current rate of $600 for the first 5,000 square feet and $100 for each additional 1,000 square feet. That would raise the permit fee on a 5,000-square-foot commercial construction project to $3,200, from $600 currently.
The rates for certificates of occupancy for both residential and commercial construction remain unchanged at $100 and $200, respectively. A new category for multifamily residential structures has been added, with a fee of $750.
The process was initiated by Zoning Enforcement Officer John Fenton, who felt that the village’s fee structure was much lower than those in neighboring municipalities. His findings were initially reported to the village board by Mayor Heath Tortarella at an April 8 meeting.
“We’ve had a couple of big commercial projects here,” said Tortarella. “We could have collected a lot more revenue in permitting.”
The motion to adopt the new fee schedule passed 4-1 at the Aug. 12 village board meeting, with Trustee Howard Traudt dissenting.
“Just having the lowest fees in the county isn’t necessarily a good reason to raise fees,” said Traudt. He wondered whether the village’s low fees have contributed to its vibrancy.
Trustee Scott Cruikshank disagreed, suggesting that increases of a few hundred dollars are unlikely to discourage new business ventures in the village.
So far in 2014, the Village of Rhinebeck has issued 148 building permits for both residential and commercial properties. Included among those was the $47 million, 87,000-square-foot expansion wing at Northern Dutchess Hospital. Using the old fee structure, it would appear that the village collected $8,800 for that building permit. Under the new fee structure, the permit would cost $55,680.
Also Aug. 12, the village board voted unanimously to amend its policy on tree removal so that homeowners will now share the costs.
“The key issue confronting the board is the cost of the removals,” Trustee Gary Kenton stated. “We continually go over budget.”
Tortarella agreed, noting that when the new budget year started June 1, there were already 14 trees that had been deferred in the year before.
Up until now, the village has covered almost all the costs for pruning and removals of trees in the right-of-way, but the board agreed that the pace has become unsustainable. Under the new policy, homeowners will share the costs equally with the village.
Kenton said the village attorney had advised him that the current policy is not part of the village code, it is not law, so the new policy will does not require a public hearing. The change is effective immediately, but applications already under consideration will be treated under the old policy.