TOWN PLANNING FEES TO INCREASE

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From March 1, 2009, persons will have to pay more for applications submitted to the Town and Country Development Planning Office for development purposes.

Word of this came from Chief Town Planner, Mark Cummins, who said that the change, the first in 23 years, was in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations, 2009, and was a result of last year’s Budgetary Proposals.

One of the major changes, Mr. Cummins noted, related to the erection of buildings for residential purposes. He explained that previously, there was a standard fee of $10 for chattel houses and $50 for non-chattel houses. However, he said that with respect to the latter, the fees are now apportioned based on the square footage, while that for chattel houses remains unchanged.

“If a non-chattel house is less than 999 square feet you pay $100, if it is between 1,000 and 1,499 square feet you pay $200.  So, the intention was to have a sliding scale so that a person who has a house of 4,000 square feet won’t pay the same $50 as someone who has a house which is 675 square feet and that principle goes throughout the amendment as it relates to buildings,” the Chief Town Planner explained.

It should be noted, however, that there are two exceptions to the square footage charge for buildings, namely petrol filling stations and motor car sales rooms or garages which will pay a fixed fee of $750, which represents a $500 increase.

Another significant amendment to the regulations is the fee for marina applications which has been raised from $250 to $50,000. “The marina application entails so much work by various ministries of government and such a high level of review, that it was felt that the fee of $250 in no way reflected the volume of work which would have been done, the number of visits made to the sites and the time spent on the applications. So $50,000 more aptly represents the quality of time that would be dedicated to an application for a marina,” Mr. Cummins stated.

With respect to documents of planning approval, one set of certified copies of plans will be issued free of charge with the Chief Town Planner’s original decision, while any submission of revised plans not requested by a condition of the permission will incur a fee of $150. 

The Chief Town Planner noted that the provision had always been included in the Town and Country Planning Regulations at a rate of $50, but stressed that it had never been enforced before.

He reiterated that every effort was made to ensure that the new fee schedule was fair and reasonable, with the sliding scale on a square foot basis allowing for more equitable distribution of the fees charged. He added that given the layout of the amended regulations, it would be much easier for members of the public to review and determine which category their respective development should fit into.

The schedule of the amended regulations is posted on the Town and Country Development Planning Office’s website, www.townplanning.gov.bb.

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