May 28th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 21
Realtor alleges permit fees are arbitrary
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
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Crowsnest Pass Municipal Council
Pass Herald Reporter
At a council meeting on May 20, a local realtor alleged commercial building permit fees were being arbitrarily applied, but a municipal staff member is denying these charges
Lowry Toombs, a realtor with Royal LePage, asked council for a review of the calculation mechanism that determines commercial building permit fees.
Toombs says the building permit charge in the Pass is higher than both Lethbridge and Calgary.
The cost for a building permit for a single story edifice is $120 per square foot, which he says is fair.
The same fee is being applied to multi story buildings, which Toombs says is too high. He also objected to basements being subject to the same fees as regular floors.
“We think there’s been an oversight, particularly when it comes to commercial structures,” says Toombs.
Toombs is representing Dawn and Mark Rigby, owners of Country Encounters, who are building a restaurant, parking lot and five-room accommodation building in Coleman.
He also alleges the Rigby’s development permit fee was arbitrarily applied. He says the Rigby’s were granted a development permit but were then charged an additional $5,000, which was reduced to $3,000 after a meeting with council.
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“I think it’s something the council needs to be aware of as they work with new people in the community,” says Toombs.
The Rigby’s are cutting into the sidewalk on 17th Avenue and 77th Street to build their new business. Municipal bylaws state the developer is responsible for fixing the sidewalk but Toombs asked council to waive the law and help repair the sidewalk.
“We were hoping that the municipality could at least look at it, since we do have a new commercial structure, that some budgetary considerations could be made into developing that sidewalk,” he said.
Kenneth Bourdeau, development officer, denies Toombs’ allegations and says the Municipality’s permit fees are equally applied.
“Toombs had his points to make but I think he might have been stretching the truth a little bit,” says Bourdeau. “It’s not arbitrary. There’s a bylaw. I have to simply follow with what’s in the bylaw and if someone disagrees with that they have the opportunity to bring their concerns to council.”
Bourdeau was surprised Toombs would allege municipal bylaws were being arbitrarily applied but then ask an exception be made for his clients.
He says that if he were to provide a recommendation to council, he would not recommend making an exception for the Rigby’s sidewalk.
“With the offsite levy open house [held in March] we heard loud and clear that everyone wants to be treated the same,” says Bourdeau.
May 28th ~ Vol. 84 No. 21
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