New home construction in Kissimmee could get more expensive if City Commissioners adopt new fee schedules for building inspections and development review.
Both items are on the Commission's agenda. Craig Holland, the city's development services director, told GrowthSpotter the building fees haven't changed in at least 12 years. The Planning Division fees were last updated in 2007.
"They're horribly in need of updating," Holland said.
While some fees, such as burn permits, were reduced, residential permitting is about to get much more expensive, starting with rezoning, which would go from $1,100 to $2,426. The review fee for a PUD preliminary plan nearly doubles, from $2,000 to $3,936. The fee for approval of a preliminary plat for a subdivision would go from $2,000 to $5,280 (compared to $3,400 in Osceola County).
"The Planning (Department) is partly subsidized by the general fund," Holland said. "We're trying to even that out. Mostly it's to cover the cost of the operation. With the current fees, we're not covering our costs."
The city's building department is totally self-funded, but the additional revenue will go to hire three additional inspectors. "Our building staff dropped by two-thirds during the economic slowdown. We maintained 24-turnaround with inspections – we did that with one inspector."
Revenue from the higher development review fees will pay for upgraded technology and staffing. "We're advertising now for a new plan reviewer, and we're going to be hiring two more counter positions," Holland said.
Building permit fees for single family homes are broken into four categories based on the size of the house. The total base fee for a house that is less than 1,600 square feet would go from $570 to $2,146 - that includes the building permit and construction plan review.
The total base fee a 2,000-square-foot home would go from $825 to $2,197. Any house larger than 4,000 square feet would start with a base fee of $2,432 (up from $1,055) plus $5.11 for each additional 100 square feet.
Holland said higher fees are needed to sustain the level of service in Kissimmee. "A lot of people want to compare Osceola County and St. Cloud and the fees," he said. "It's wildly different. You're not comparing apples to apples. We have a whole different level of review."
The new ordinance would eliminate fees for voluntary annexation requests - Holland said the city typically waived them anyway. It also ties the fee schedule to the Consumer Price Index, so they would automatically increase with the rate of inflation.