2018-08-08 / News

Lapeer officials adopt new permit, fee schedule for building department

BY JEFF HOGAN
810-452-2640 • jhogan@mihomepaper.com

LAPEER — The City of Lapeer has operated its own building department since 2007 — started in order to offer better service to residents and builders at no greater cost than it was at the time receiving from the Construction Code Authority (CCA) it contracted with for inspections and enforcement.

However in recent years there have been complaints by homeowners who said they were charged too much for permits and inspections, as well as from contractors and landlords who said the costs of doing business in Lapeer was higher than other nearby communities.

At the prodding of several city commissioners including Debbie Marquardt and Catherine Bostick-Tullius and Mayor Bill Sprague it was promised there would be a top-to-bottom review of the building department to examine what it charges for permits and inspections.

The city broke away from the CCA it formerly contracted with to conduct inspections and issue permits for residential, commercial and industrial projects. The complaint at the time was that the CCA was too slow in getting around to projects within the city, and thereby holding up progress on everything from backyard fence installations to building projects.

The Lapeer Building Department was organized to achieve two things — to provide better service than it was getting from the CCA, and at a cheaper rate.

On Monday, the Lapeer City Commission voted by a 4-1 vote to approve an amended fee schedule for permit and inspection costs in the city of Lapeer. City officials contend the new fee schedule mirrors what the CCA charges. In some instances the cost of fees and permits increased to match those charged by the CCA, though many declined.

Commissioner Marquardt voted against the fee schedule, citing a concern that in some instances the costs were considerably higher.

Voting in favor of the new fee schedule were Commissioners A. Wayne Bennett, Joshua Atwood, Catherine Bostick and Dan Osentoski.

In 1972, the Michigan Construction Code Act was adopted and shortly thereafter, in 1974, enforcement of municipal codes became mandatory. In 1980, several Lapeer County cities and townships founded the CCA under an inter-local agreement authorized by the Urban Cooperation Act. In 1983, the CCA was reorganized as a nonprofit corporation owned by the member municipalities and governed by a five member board that serves many townships and municipalities throughout Lapeer County. It maintains offices in Mayfield Township and in Imlay City.

While the Lapeer Building Department was intended to be a self-sustaining department, financed by the fees and permits charged, it was supplemented by the city’s general fund for a period of years.

The Building Department, under the direction of Darryl Oliver, is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the Michigan Building Codes relating to the construction, alteration/remodeling, repair and demolition of buildings and structures located within the city. The goal of the Building Department is to protect the health, safety, property and welfare of citizens through enforcement of state building codes. To ensure that construction work complies with applicable codes, the City requires comprehensive plans for most types of projects and inspections are conducted at periodic stages of the work.

City Manager Dale Kerbyson said the new fee schedule will still allow the department to fund its own payroll and expenses.

As an example among some of the changes, under zoning compliance applications the cost for sheds (under 200 square feet) went down from $81 to $42, while the cost for decks, porches, awnings and carports increased from $81 to $162, plus a zoning fee of $42 (includes one inspection).

Itemized permit fees include: a fee of $324 for an addition to an existing home on crawl space, plus a $42 zoning fee, plus a plan review fee of $81 (includes four inspections); a new build (residential on a basement) is $486, plus a zoning fee of $42; while fees for egress windows, basement water proofing and blow-in insulation is $100.

In the areas of mechanical, electrical and plumbing work being done on a structure in the event an individual or contractor is found to be working without a permit on new home construction, additions and remodels as well as multi-family and industrial projects the fine is $100 for the first instance, $200 for the second violation and $300 for the third instance.

The new fee schedule is available at the Building Department Office on Howard Street (adjacent to the Lapeer Train Depot) and online on the city’s website.

In other business:

• The City Commission approved a Special Event Request from the group Brotherhood Resolve to hold a walk on Sept. 18 in which veterans and their families will walk from Lake Orion (starting at 8 a.m.) and travel north on M-24 through the city of Lapeer at approximately 4 p.m. The walk will conclude at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4139 on Daley Road in Mayfield Township. Intention of the walk is to raise awareness about veteran suicide.

• The City Commission approved a charitable gaming license request for the Lapeer Lightning Music Boosters. The Boosters are applying for the license through the State of Michigan. The license will allow the Boosters to sell raffle tickets.

• The Lapeer City Commission approved the purchase of four automated external defibrillators (AEDs), carrying cases and one additional set of pads for $5,730. The purchase will complete a two-year replacement project of the Lapeer Police Department’s AED units.

• Vacancies remain for Lapeer residents to serve on the city’s EDC/ TIFA/Brownfield Commission, the District Library Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals (alternate). If interested, citizens are urged to contact the City Clerk’s Office at 664-5231.

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