Letter from Michael Codron, Director of Community Development, June 25, 2020 – New Fees

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In July 24, 2020
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Letter from Michael Codron, Director of Community Development, June 25, 2020

Good afternoon,

I hope you are all doing well and taking advantage of some of the new services offered by Community Development, including online payments, an expanded phone tree to access our staff team, and enhancements to info.slocity.org. We are also working to activate full electronic submittals for building permits and planning applications by the end of the calendar year.

The purpose of this e-mail is to let you know about three new fees that we are proposing. Just what you need, right? I know, this isn’t welcome news. However, I believe these fees are important to our shared success and would not bring them forward otherwise. Here are the details:

Temporary Certificate of Occupancy
A new fee of $860 will be assessed to allow the City to provide enhanced services around Temporary Certificates of Occupancy. The goal here is to provide you with a formal process to establish the conditions by which early occupancy will be granted. By deliberately planning for early occupancy, we can make sure that we are able to meet your milestones for the project even before it is ready for final occupancy. Grand openings, staff training, stocking inventory, are all reasons we routinely grant early occupancy. Going forward, we are proposing to establish a new process to plan for these events well in advance so there are no surprises for you or us late in the game.

Planning Consultation
Planning consultations are an important part of how we help you make a complete application. Many of you have taken advantage of our Pre-Application Review process. For a fee of $956, you can pursue a pre-application review by all City departments and receive very crucial feedback on the viability of your project and key considerations for your formal application. We also offer Zoning Letters for $453, which provide formal documentation to you about allowable uses on your property. Going forward, we are also going to offer Planning Consultations. After the first 30 minutes of feedback on your project concept, the City will charge at the rate of $173/hour for additional consultation time on that same project. Why is this a good thing for you? Accountability. The fee will allow us to provide you with written documentation regarding the information shared during the consultation. We believe this is a valuable service improvement as you consider investing in project entitlements.

Environmental Impact Determination
The time has come where Community Development will no longer be performing Initial Studies of Environmental Impact in house when they are likely to result in a Mitigated Negative Declaration. As a result, our base fee for this service (currently over $6,500) will change to the full cost of the consultant contract plus 30% to cover administrative costs. The benefits of this approach are comparable cost, timely processing, and accountable performance by state-of-the-art CEQA practitioners. While Community Development Department staff have all the skills and expertise to perform this work – we want to take advantage of the specializations that have occurred in this field. Expanding the use of our consultants in this area will allow us to spend our limited time on other aspects of the review to ensure timely processing of your application.

A City Council Agenda Report on this topic will be published Tuesday, June 30 for the July 7 City Council meeting. Please follow this link to download and review the report: https://www.slocity.org/government/mayor-and-city-council/agendas-and-minutes.

In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions you have. Thank you! -Michael

Michael Codron
Director of Community Development
Community Development
919 Palm Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-3249
E mcodron@slocity.org
T 805.781.7187