Chatham ups village building fees to offset costs

CHATHAM–The Village Board adopted new building permit fees at their meeting last week. Village Clerk/Treasurer Barbara Henry said that the new rates will double the amount brought in by the village Building Department. She also said that the increases would not completely cover the costs of the building inspector and the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).

At the January 12 board meeting Ms. Henry said, “We are never going to cover the cost of the building inspector.” She said the village building inspector spends a great deal of his time on safety inspections of building projects. These fees cover a basic permit, which costs $50, up to special use permits, which cost $150.

Resident Francis Iaconetti pressed Ms. Henry and the board on the fees, saying, “The fees that are generated by the village should cover the costs of the [Planning and ZBA] boards.” He also said a major issue in the village was people who move forward with construction projects without first obtaining permits from the boards.

“There’s no encouragement to get a permit in the village,” he said.

Ms. Henry said that issue would be dealt with when the board looks at zoning fines, which the board cannot change until the Town Board adopts a local law to revise the fine schedule. Ms. Henry said the wording for the local law was not ready for this meeting but may be reviewed by the village attorney and ready for the board vote on at a special meeting later this month.

The board will also discuss water and sewer rates at that special workshop meeting scheduled for January 26 at 7 p.m.

Mayor Tom Curran said updating the fees was “great start” and confirmed that the board would be reviewing the fines next.

Also at the meeting:

• The Chatham Care 4U program, a Chatham Police Department program that assists people with addictions find treatment, has helped 57 people. In the police report submitted to the board, Chief Peter Volkmann wrote that the program had received a total of $2,300 in donations as well as snacks, candy and a coffee pot. He reported that the department will offer a training for program volunteers in February

• The village Department of Public Works is picking up Christmas trees that are out on the curb by February 3. DPW Superintendent Phil Genovese also reported that work will begin a water main on Woodbridge Avenue between Hoffman and Church streets this June. The work should be completed by August 30

• The board approved purchasing a new truck for the DPW for $45,053 with equipment costing another $34,041. Mr. Genovese said the truck would be used for the water and sewer departments and the DPW so the cost would to lease the truck would come out of all three departments

• The board approved allowing the Chatham Brewery to use the parking lot on Main Street for the brewery’s 10th anniversary party March 4 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Brewery still needs approval from the Town of Chatham, since the two municipalities jointly own the parking lot

• Ms. Henry said there is now an interactive zoning map on the village website, http://villageofchatham.com/interactive-map. She said that the board can add businesses and other village destinations to the map in the future. “The capacity is unlimited,” she told the board.

The next regular board meeting will be Thursday, February 9 at 7 p.m. in the Tracy Memorial/Village Hall.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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