2002-2012: Home permit fees jumped
Building in El Dorado County is not for sissies, especially given the time and expense involved.
And a sizeable portion of that cost is due to permit fees, regardless if the builder is planning a commercial center, residential development, or is just constructing one’s own home.
Comparing permit fees today with what they were 10 years ago gives some indication of the difference with the greatest dollar increase attributable to Traffic Impact Mitigation (TIM) fees.
Those fees were raised with passage of Measure Y, the 1998 ballot measure that required developers to pick up the full cost of mitigating the traffic impact of a development.
However, traffic mitigation fees are not the only ones that have gone up. Almost all permit fees have risen in the past 10 years while new ones have been added on. In combination, these fees make it increasingly difficult for the average person to afford a home.
Since the permit fees for commercial and planned developments can vary substantially, the example of the fees paid to build a single-family home is used to illustrate how much permit fees have risen in the past 10 years. In this particular case, the house is located in Rescue since school, fire, and TIM fees can vary by area.
According to the El Dorado County Building Services Department, in 2002 the total cost of building permits for a single-family home in Rescue would have been $14,725.
This total would include $1,261 in building fees; $14 for the SMIP fee (which pays for California’s earthquake monitoring program); $313 for the septic fee; $885 for the rare plant reserve fee; a $6,679 TIM fee; $1,100 in fees towards the fire district; $4,200 in school fees; and an encroachment fee of $273.
The current cost of permit fees to build a single-family home is 255 percent higher. Again using Rescue as the example, the building fee would be $3,727; SMIP fee of $35; septic fee of $899; grading fee of $435; rare plant reserve fee of $885; surveyor fee of $25; encroachment fee of $273; site plan review fee of $300; and a state imposed $15 Green Fee to “encourage greenness.”
Traffic impact mitigation (TIM), fire, and school fees in the county vary. TIM fees range from $13,330 to $35,740, depending upon where the dwelling is located given that there are eight different traffic zones in the county not including the Highway 50 corridor. In the case of Rescue, the TIM fees would be $35,740.
School fees also vary based on school district and the square footage of the dwelling. In most areas of the county, the rate is $2.97 a square foot. For an average 2,500-square-foot home the school fees would be $7,425. The fire fee is based on different factors including size of the home. For Rescue, it would be $2,525.
Adding the school, fire, and TIM fees to the other fees, the total cost in permits to build an average 2,500-square-foot home in Rescue would now come to $52,284.
So in 10 years, permit fees to build a single family home have increased by around 255 percent.
In addition to these fees, some areas of the county have other fees. For example, residents of El Dorado pay a safety zone fee of $215, communities with service districts pay a special assessment, and home builders in the Tahoe basin pay an additional fee depending upon what portion of their parcel is covered by structures. The cities of Placerville and South Lake Tahoe have their own fee structures.
Not included in the accompanying pie charts are water hookup charges. A 3/4 standard residential hookup costs between $16,539 to $17,093, depending on location.This does not include the actual time and material cost of the meter and its installation. If a road crossing is required to access a water main the cost of a bore is $3,000, according to the El Dorado Irrigation District.
The good news in all this is that some relief may be on the way.
According to El Dorado County Supervisor Ron Briggs, a reduction in TIM fees is in the works. This would be in addition to the 24 percent reduction in fees earlier this year and the 1 percent reduction last year. He said in the coming months, depending upon what is recommended, they expect to reduce TIM fees by another 25 to 30 percent.
“Measure Y drove the TIM fee increase,” he said. “The interpretation by the county created fees that were higher than they should have been.”
According to Briggs, many of the road capital improvement plans that the TIM fees were based on included a number of large interchanges and bridges, improvements which Briggs said would probably never be built.
Briggs said the county is currently conducting a traffic study that models traffic flow and road use. That along with the General Plan Update and population projections will help the county forecast uses, and hence TIM fees, more accurately.
“We’re ranking roads and doing traffic modeling to come up with more realistic plans for road improvements. These would then determine TIM fees,” said Briggs.
Reports should come out in October or November, said the supervisor, and will address many of these things. Building fees will also be revisited. ”They are sixth on our list.”
Briggs added that while builders and residents often focus too exclusively on county fees when they should also take their concerns to their school, fire, and community service districts regarding the fees they are charging for their capital improvement projects.
“Community groups complain about the same things. People need to pressure the schools and fire districts as well,” he said.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.
Dawn Hodson covers news and features.