For the next two years, a number of small construction and remodel jobs will be more attractive to owners and builders as the county has reduced building fees by 25 percent. Although the new price structure does not take effect for 60 days, homeowners and contractors can start gearing up for spring projects. The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors made it official during Tuesday’s meeting by voting unanimously to adopt Resolution 190-2013 which establishes the temporary fee reduction.
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Applied to garages, decks, granny flats, additions and remodels, the board’s action is seen as a potential boost to the county’s economy and a partial solution to unemployment, particularly among those in the building trades. It was also promoted to “encourage public safety” by offering the incentive to build to code and standards.
Roger Trout, director of the county’s development division, clarified in an e-mail to the Mountain Democrat on Wednesday that the reduction applies only to the county “building division fees, not the cities of Placerville or South Lake Tahoe. It does not apply to other fees that are collected with building permits. It is a small part of the whole ‘fee’ picture,” Trout wrote.
District 1 Supervisor Ron Mikulaco suggested that the county track the “level of activity” that might be generated by the resolution to see if the “desired results are obtained.”
Board Chairman Ron Briggs opined, “I think we’re doing a good thing here, (especially) for the small guy.” Briggs also credited the efforts of Ron Wolsfeld and the Rural Communities Coalition from the Georgetown Divide who have kept after the county since raising the issue of fee reductions earlier this year. “Ron Wolsfeld is the definition of persistence,” Briggs quipped.
Building fees were not necessarily the major complaint Wolsfeld brought to the board’s attention over the past year. The whole process of application and permitting has been blasted as taking too long, being unnecessarily complicated and confusing by many would-be builders and is considered by some a significant factor in the lack of permits being “pulled” for the past several years. The county has been addressing the issue through its Community Economic Development Advisory Committee’s Regulatory Reform work group for more than three years.
County staff who worked on the reduction resolution did not make conclusions of forecasts of the number of projects or new jobs that might be created by the temporary fee reduction, Trout said. However, Wolsfeld and leaders in the Coalition have consistently reported that large numbers of Divide residents have been seeking work out of the county or even moving away from the county due to the lack of construction work locally.
Contact Chris Daley at 530-344-5063 or [email protected] Follow @CDaleyMtDemo.