Town’s fees catch up with its neighbors’

COPAKE—If you build it, fees will come.

Just remember to get a building permit first or those fees will be twice as much.

The Town Board voted unanimously to raise its Building Department fees at its July meeting.

Building Inspector/Zoning Enforcement Officer Ed Ferratto presented the board with an updated fee schedule, noting the time has come to raise the fees because the town is “way behind” and has not kept pace with higher permit rates in other towns.

In a follow-up phone call Mr. Ferratto estimated that building department fees had not been raised in 5 to 10 years. He said the new rates will bring Copake in line with the rates charged in Ancram, Hillsdale, Austerlitz and Canaan.

In the new list of recommendations, many fees are no longer based on square footage, but instead on the total estimated cost of a project.

Building permits for new single family residences, additions and renovations will cost $4/$1,000 of the estimated cost. The current rate is $.40/square foot. The value/cost per square foot can vary significantly depending on the quality of materials used.

Projects like decks and porches, which used to have separate rates, will all be included under the $4/$1,000 estimated cost rate.

A building permit for a commercial business will be $5/$1,000 of estimated cost. The cost is now $.50/square foot.

The minimum fee for any building permit will be $50, except for permits for small sheds not larger than 120 square feet, which will cost $25.

The current minimum building permit fee is $35.

Sign permits will cost $50, compared to $35 now.

A permit to build an in-ground swimming pool will still be $.50/square foot, while above-ground pools will be a flat $50 fee. They are now $.10/square foot.

An abstracts records search will be $75 compared to the current fee of $35.

A final certificate of occupancy or certificate of compliance will cost $35, up from $25 now.

A renewal fee for building permits, which are only valid for a year, will cost 50% of the original permit cost.

No building permits will be renewed after three years unless the project is brought into compliance with current applicable Uniform Fire and Building Codes of New York State, according to the new fee schedule.

As is now the case, any work performed prior to obtaining a building permit will be charged double the building permit fee when it is issued.

Mr. Ferratto said by phone that in updating the fee schedule his goal was not just to make rates comparable to other towns, but also to streamline and simplify them.

The town is also instituting a new computer program: Building Automated Systems to track all parcels by tax map number. All building permits and building project photographs from start to finish can be uploaded according to tax map number creating a computerized record of what’s happening on every parcel. The assessor will also be able to access the program to check the stage of a project’s progress.

Eventually all back data will be scanned in to make searches on individual parcels quicker and easier.

The new Building Department fee schedule takes effect January 1, 2014.

To contact Diane Valden email .

Comments are closed.