Plan to raise permit fees Ok'd for review by developers, others

Pleasanton lags behind other cities in collecting costs of services

The Pleasanton City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday night to explore an increase in development user fees to bring them into alignment with a General Plan policy of self-sustainment for such fees.

Emily Wagner, formerly finance director who is now handling special projects for the city, told the council the General Plan mandates that building and development permit fees should cover the costs of plan review, engineering associated with site development, fire prevention, inspections and other costs incurred in the building development process.

Most California cities have been collecting full 100% cost recovery for development related services, she said. Pleasanton, which deferred an increase in to allow time for the economy to recover, has collected just 48% of such fees annually since the 1980's.

"With the upswing in the economy, now is a good time to start a discussion that will align the development fee schedule with City policies," City Manager Nelson Fialho said. "For decades the City has subsidized a balance on development permit costs. We feel that the time is right to make this necessary adjustment."

Wagner proposed boosting Pleasanton's cost recovery rate to 79%. That would translate to approximately $2.7 million annually in additional fee revenues that would reduce the city's subsidy of such funds. That money could be use for needed projects, such as a new library, parks, and youth and senior programs.

Wagner's suggested user fee increases would start Jan. 1, 2017 would continue to be increased gradually until the goal of 100% cost recovery is achieved, putting Pleasanton in par with Livermore and most other Tri-Valley cities.

In its favorable decision Tuesday, the council didn't vote to change the fee structure, but instead gave Fiahlo, Wagner and others on the city staff to discuss the plan with the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, the city's Economic Vitality Committee and developers.

Feedback from those groups will then be taken before the council again in several months for a second look and possible implementation.

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Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 8, 2015 at 1:13 pm

This article combined with the same subject article in the news print version is written really poorly. So far the only thing we know is that a permit's cost is $12 and that the city wants to raise this price. In the news print article it stated that the $12 was 6% of the actual cost of the permit process. So this would make the actual cost of the permit process $200. But then the newsprint article states that this is $250? Then the news print article states that the city manager thinks that $250 is only 85% of the cost, which would make the permit process $294. Now the finance director states that the $12 collected is 48% of the cost which would make the permit process $25. So we have $25, $200, $250, and $294. Good thing these people don't design rockets. All I know is that the taxpayer/property owner is not getting a good thing if permits go up to $250. If you are a developer building a multi-million dollar project, yes $250 is nothing. But if you are a homeowner who wants an electrician to install a couple extra outlets for $1000, then $250 does become a big deal. Good thing there are still jobs for liberal arts majors.

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