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VANCOUVER, WA-Building and development fees are on the rise in the City of Vancouver. The City Council this week unanimously approved a 36% hike in building fees and a 32% average hike in development fees.

The new rates will take effect in 45 days, and will now increase annually based on inflation. In addition, the City Council promised another substantial hike in 2003 in an attempt to catch up with the city’s actual costs for dealing with the impacts of new development.

Building fees haven’t been raised by the City since 1995. Development fees were increased in early 1999. As a result, according to the city, building fees cover just 57% of the city’s related costs, and development fees cover just 40% of the city’s related costs. Add in money collected from other departments, and its fees cover more like 77% of its related costs.

The City says it is not trying to get to 100%, in part because its building and development costs include providing public information and developing policy, for which builders should not have to pay. Approved development fee increases include:

–a 471% increase in the address change fee, from $35 to $200;

–a 100% increase in land-use appeals — exclusive of those filed by recognized neighborhood associations — from $1,000 to $2,000.

–a 73% hike in the fee for comprehensive plan amendments, from $4,000 to $6,900;

–a 67% hike in the fee for conditional use permits, from $2,351 to $3,983;

–a 23% increase for the fees associated with a 30,000-sf office building, from $15,953 to $19,662;

–a 35% increase in the cost to review a subdivisions under the state Environmental Policy Act, from $930 to $605; and

–a 35% decrease in flood plain permits, from $100 to $65.

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