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Permit fees for single-family home to jump

By Staff | May 19, 2009

The cost of building, construction and miscellaneous permits in Cape Coral will go up later this summer, with the blessing of the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association.
Cape Coral City Council members unanimously approved two resolutions Monday that will raise the cost of building permits for 2,500-square-foot single-family homes from $522 to $1,866.
Miscellaneous permits will become more expensive July 6, while new construction building permit fees will take effect Aug. 1.
In the midst of one of the worst times for the construction industry, CCCIA representatives said the increases are not as high as previous proposals, and are necessary to prevent the subsidization of the city’s Department of Community Development.
“At the highest rate, it would’ve been 25 percent higher,” CCCIA president Becky Swift said.
Since the beginning of the fiscal year, about $1.2 million in general fund monies have been used to cover DCD costs, prompting city staffers to bring forward an increase in fees that have not changed for more than eight years.
CCCIA executive director Patti Schnell worked with Assistant City Manager and DCD director Carl Schwing, Financial Services Director Mark Mason and other city staffers to ensure the rate increases were equitable.
She said she has noticed a sea change in the construction industry’s formerly rocky relationship with the city.
“We’re all rowing in the same direction,” Schnell said.
She credited the economy and Schwing, who took over as DCD director from Hector Rivera in August, as the main reasons for the change.
“A combination of Carl’s leadership and the economy has contributed to it,” Schnell said.
In a memo to the CCCIA last month, Schwing did promise his department would provide better, more timely service.
He noted that all phone calls made to inspectors before 2 p.m. would be returned within one hour, updated phone numbers for the Building Division staff would be maintained on the city’s Web site and voice mail and e-mail responses would be updated for vacation or sick days in case builders have an emergency, among other declarations of better service.
Council members applauded the collaboration of the CCCIA and city staff.
“It’s so refreshing to see that the city has worked with the industry and come to an agreement,” Councilmember Gloria Tate said.