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City adopts proposal to defer building permit fees
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The Richmond Hill City Council unanimously approved plans to defer building, permit and connection fees for home builders, acting on Mayor Richard Davis’ original proposition made earlier this month.

The motion was made June 17 and went into effect the following day.

Davis said he came up with the idea in an effort to stimulate the real estate market in the city.

Prior to this, builders were required to pay the fees up front. As an example, city Planning and Zoning Director Steve Scholar said fees for a 3,000 square foot house run about $6,700.

"I think the mayor’s proposal is a good one," Scholar said. "I don’t think it’s a risk on our part and it should furlong local real estate."

Davis said fees for the construction of one home are not a big deal, but most builders have to borrow money to pay the fees for larger projects.

"This proposal will be saving on the interest that they would normally pay," Davis said. "And we’ll still be getting the same amount of money we always get – just a little bit later."

Under the new city policy, builders of new detached single family houses will be required to pay only a $100 nonrefundable fee to obtain a building permit and can defer the payment of other related fees until later in the construction process. The building permit fee will be collected prior to the power release, an inspection which authorizes the power company to provide electricity to the house and typically comes toward the end of construction. The $100 collected upon issuance of the building permit would be credited toward the overall building permit fee.

The tap, connection, and water meter installation costs will be deferred until a certificate of occupancy is requested by the builder.

The ruling applies strictly to new construction of detached single family residential units and is applicable for individuals as well as construction companies.


In other business:

- Police Chief Billy Reynolds said the new RHPD motorcycles will be arriving within the week. He said officers will go through a two-week training period before the motorcycles are put into action.

- Council unanimously approved a resolution to transmit the Richmond Hill Comprehensive Land Use Plan to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for review. The comp plan will be up for adoption at a council meeting in October.

- Greg Parker was granted a permit to allow a restaurant to operate at any or all of the three available retail spaces left at Parker’s Square on Hwy. 144. Realtor Cathy Butler Gregory, who appeared on behalf of Parker, said there are two restaurants inquiring about the space.

Although she did not name names, she said one would take up all three units and "would be a great addition to Richmond Hill if they decide to come here" while the other interested chain would only require one of the spaces.

- Council approved a height variance and subdivision plat for Savannah developer Shaylesh Patel’s four-story Fairfield Inn at Ponderosa and 17.

- One and a half acres was approved for development for KOA Campgrounds. Scholar said this is step one in paving the way for additional cabins to likely be added to the site.

- A 30-foot-by-40-foot car detailing cover was approved for Royal Oaks Car Wash.

- City Manager Mike Melton commented on the annual, state-mandated Consumer Confidence Report. He said the results indicate all city water and water sources are "in good shape."

- Melton said a $25,000 grant was received to begin moving toward the creation of a Stormwater Utility Operation. He said it will compliment the city’s water and sewer master plan, which is currently in the works.


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