February 17, 2011

Planning Department fee upgrade 'long overdue'

Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- Starting today, there will be some changes to the planning department fee schedule after adjustments found quick approval from the Planning Board last night.
It’s been about five years
 since the fees had been updated, and Planning Director George Sioras said that Derry rates had fallen out of line with actual costs and fees in other communities.
“These fees are more consistent to reflect the amount of time engineering and staff put into doing plans,” said Sioras at last night’s meeting. “This will also help us with some additional revenue for the planning office and our budget, and we need to do that.”
Under the new fee program, developers will be asked to pay separately for a project’s external review at a cost to be determined by the planning department, according to a staff document outlining the changes.
Conversely, developers used to pay a separate fee to cover internal staff reviews. That work will now be funded as part of the regular application fee,
 according to the document. 

Several changes have been made to fee amounts and a full list is available at the town’s website, www.derry.nh.us. 
For example, developers will now pay $.15 per square foot of new commercial or industrial construction up to a $10,000 limit, as opposed to the prior fee of $350 plus $100 per lot and $500 per acre of disruption. 
On projects requiring a legal notice, applicants will pay $50 where no fee existed. 
Lot line adjustments used to cost $20 per lot or unit, but under the new fee schedule developers will pay $100 per lot. 
Department fees have also been added for change in use forms and technical review committees, at $25 and $50 per application, respectively. 
No one from the public spoke to the proposed changes during the Wednesday night meeting and board members unanimously approved the measure. 
“It looks good,” said Derry Planning Board Chairman David Granese. “You guys did a lot of hard work.” 
Sioras said the planning department had been working with staff in finance and public works for several months to develop the plan. 

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