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Oxford permit fees hiked

While the number of construction projects in Oxford continues to grow, permit fees will soon increase to help offset the costs of multiple building inspections.

On Sept. 15, a public hearing will be held at the Oxford Board of Aldermen meeting on an amendment to the ordinance that governs how the city figures the amount of a building permit.

Building Director Randy Barber presented the proposed changes to aldermen on Tuesday during the first reading of the ordinance amendment.

Residential building permits won’t change much, Barber said.

“For someone building a single-family home it only goes up about $90,” Barber said.

Projects valued under $50,000 will see an increase from $25 to $50 for a permit. Projects valued between $50,000 and $100,000 will increase from $319 to $369 for the first $50,000 and then an additional $5 for each additional thousand of the value. A home valued between $100,000 and $250,000 will go from $569 to $659 for the first $100,000 and $4 for each additional thousand.

Projects valued more than $500,000 will see the biggest leap in permit cost. Those projects will be charged $1,179 — up from the current $1,019 — for the first $250,000 plus $4 for each additional thousand.

For example, a $1 million project will have a $4,179 building permit fee. A $14 million project will pay $56,379, which is a jump from the current price of $29,019. “Some of these large projects, inspectors aren’t just going to the site three or four times,” Barber said. “They’re going back 20 or 30 times. We needed to recoup those costs but we didn’t want the single-family home builder to bare the burden.”

Barber is also looking for approval to charge a $250 fee to developers who want the building department to review their plans to make sure they meet city codes before having them formerly presented to the Site Plan Committee or Oxford Planning Commission. The fee will be in addition to the building permits.

“We’re getting people coming into the planning department with plans this thick,” said Mayor Pat Patterson, holding his hands out with a foot of space between them. “And they want us to look them over and make sure they look good. That takes up a lot of our planners’ time.”

If approved, the changes would go into affect Oct. 1.