During its next committee meeting in May, Pataskala City Council is expected to consider fees being charged through the zoning department.

During its next committee meeting in May, Pataskala City Council is expected to consider fees being charged through the zoning department.

Mike Fox, a resident and mayoral candidate, has requested that council review fees, saying some people were charged $300 for inspections the city couldn't complete.

"This is a pretty disturbing issue," he said.

Pataskala law director Rufus Hurst said the city is reviewing the issue. He's working with city planner Dianne Harris to obtain records and determine if a problem exists.

He suggested during the April 20 Pataskala City Council meeting that Fox provide any records he believes should be considered.

Harris said Fox has not brought specific charges to her office before last week.

"We have nothing to react to at this point," she said.

Harris said she was asked to look at a fee charged for a commercial zoning permit when an electric pole had to be replaced near a business at state Routes 310 and 16. She said the company replacing the pole was required to obtain a building permit through Pataskala and through Newark's building-code department, through which Pataskala contracts for the service.

After reviewing the records for that application and two others that occurred within three months of Fox's first complaint, the city determined funds should be returned to the company that replaced the electric pole, to the company that installed a furnace at the YMCA and to the company that installed a furnace at the Goodwill store.

The city requires a zoning permit when a building or structure is "erected, moved, added to (or) structurally altered."

Harris said the city has been consistent in how it handles these permits and fees in the past.

In a report to city administrator Timothy Boland, she wrote, "When an applicant comes to them (the Newark/Licking County Building Department) with a project, they (the building department) ask to see the (city's) zoning-permit approval or advise us if one is needed. Likewise, when we review a zoning application for a project that appears to be a project subject to the jurisdiction of the state building codes, we refer the applicant to the Newark/Licking County Building Department and advise the department if there are issues they should be aware of."

While working with Hurst to review the current fee structure, Harris said, they will try to determine why fees are charged and when they apply.

In another e-mail to Fox, she wrote that the city does need to continue to have a zoning review of projects to ensure the zoning standards of the property are being met.

She said fees being charged, however, could be reviewed.

In an e-mail to Fox, she wrote, "I am going to request council consider an amendment to the fee schedule, establishing a minor fee for a commercial zoning certificate of compliance for system replacements, repairs and installations that do not involve changes of use, building footprint, dimensions, massing or configuration of roofs."

She said exact language has not yet been proposed.

Fox said he wants people to stop paying an additional $300 if the project is not being reviewed by the city.

"I don't want to bankrupt the city," he said but added that he wants to hear what Harris and Hurst discover.

lwince@thisweeknews.com