County raises grating permit costs for homeowners and developers
SUMMIT COUNTY – It’s construction season in the High Country and, for some homeowners and developers, it got a little more expensive to move the land.
One example occurred when Summit County raised its rates for a basic grating permit, which allows an individual to add a fence, move trees or eliminate other objects on his or her property.
Prior to this year, the fee was $150. Now, the fee is $450, giving a small shock to locals interested in sprucing up their property.
“Just like everyone else, we were tight on the budget,” said Ric Pocius, Summit County engineer. “One of the directors from the commissioners told us we needed to cover our time and effort for each permit. Maybe five years ago we were covering costs, but now, there’s a bunch of other steps we need to take.”
The additional steps, Pocius explained, dealt with new housing built on steep slopes as well as dealing with wetland concerns, which require an on-site review by engineers. The easy lots to develop, he added, have already been taken, which is another reason building permits, on the whole, are rising.
“The raises have been more than we expected,” said Charlie Story, estimator and commercial project manager for Travis Construction in Silverthorne. “It’s going to raise the costs of the house, the building, the work. Generally, it does get passed on to the clients.”
Those in unincorporated areas in Summit County, or in Montezuma, must go through the county engineer’s office to obtain a permit. Those in incorporated towns, like Dillon, must go through the town’s planning and building departments for permission to add to a house or expand a driveway, among other projects.
Scott Daniels, owner of Daniels Construction and Design Inc. in Breckenridge, does one project a year and expected the increase.
“It seems like it’s always going up,” Daniels said. “It’s always a factor in planning square footage.”
Dillon’s excavation permits doubled from $50 to $100 this year.
“We don’t raise fees that often,” said Theresa Worsham, Dillon’s community development coordinator. “We actually calculated all the work done on an individual permit. When we calculated the actual costs to the town, we rounded down, not up. The council recommended we meet our costs, but this was a conservative estimate.”
Silverthorne, meanwhile, offers a $50 grating permit.
“On the whole, our prices for permits did go up,” said Mark Gage, Silverthorne’s community development director. “Very rarely do we issue a grating permit, because it’s covered by a building permit. There’s no reason to spend 50 bucks for a grating permit because the same work can be covered by a foundation permit.”
In Breckenridge, excavation and grating permits don’t exist. The costs of such permits are factored into building permits, which are classified by total expense as either A, B, C or D levels. A permit for an addition to a home – classified as C-major – would cost around $935, said Chris Neubecker, planner for Breckenridge.
While some towns will issue a grating permit so developers or homeowners could get a head start on construction before the building permit is issued, Breckenridge abstains.
“Most people will need to go through the planning commission,” Neubecker said. “Smaller projects, like adding on a deck, might not require as much review. But it’s still good to check it out.”
For advice on adding a section to a home, or for adding a building to property, consult your local planning or engineering office. It is a multi-step process that requires review by multiple officials.
Internal work and minor landscaping usually does not require a permit.
For more information, visit http://www.co.summit.co.us/
Ryan Slabaugh can be contacted at (970) 668-3998 ext. 257 or at email@example.com
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