Reynoldsburg City Council unanimously approved legislation Monday, April 23, that will increase zoning permit fees.

Reynoldsburg City Council unanimously approved legislation Monday, April 23, that will increase zoning permit fees.

The plan, designed to help cover city staff costs, was first introduced in February by city Planning Administrator Matt Hansen, who said Reynoldsburg's existing fees have not been evaluated since 2007.

Hansen said he recommended increases after he realized Reynoldsburg's were lower than those charged by most other surrounding municipalities.

He said the approved legislation brings fees up to an average of what neighboring cities charge, which will also compensate for the amount of staff time it takes to review the renovation projects being requested.

The increases are not meant to be a significant revenue-generator for the city, Hansen said.

"We're basically making sure that most of our expenses are covered and providing the planning and zoning services in the city," Hansen said.
"We haven't evaluated our fees in a number of years and the cost of doing services has continued to rise."

Some of the increases are minimal. Hansen said someone who wants to put up a new deck will pay $50, instead of the current rate of $40.

Others, however, are much more substantial.

Hansen said one hike will be Design Review Board's fee for a business that wants a permit to make exterior renovations.

The current fee is now $50. Once the new rate goes into effect, it will be $200, which is aligned with an average of what surrounding municipalities charge.

He said last year when a major overhaul was completed on the McDonald's restaurant on East Main Street, the fee was only $50, but the staff time it took to review that project was equal to a new building being constructed.

"It took more time than what a base rate of $50 would take, so that is why we're trying to match up the development department's work on these projects with an appropriate fee," Hansen said.

"A $200 fee would be appropriate, based on an average of what surrounding municipalities would charge," he said.

For comparison, Hansen said Westerville and Grove City both charge $300 for a similar zoning permit request, while Gahanna's fee is $250, Upper Arlington's $180, and Pickerington's $150.

"We took the average of all the municipalities for all of our fees, found out what that was and adjusted it to make sense for what residents and businesses would expect when doing a project," he said.

The city's rezoning fee for commercial properties is set at $500, Hansen said, but based on the average charge for surrounding municipalities, which is $1,226, the new fee in Reynoldsburg will be $1,000.

The new fees will not take effect for 30 days. Mayor Brad McCloud said they will keep pace with increasing costs.

"Gasoline is higher than it was the last time we did this, wages are higher, insurance is higher. It's just another step to keep pace with other municipalities," McCloud said.