North Aurora balks at vote on cutting building fees
By Denise Linke For The Beacon-News March 5, 2013 1:28PM
Updated: April 7, 2013 6:27AM
NORTH AURORA — The Village Board has tabled a proposal to cut building permit fees after several trustees protested that they received no advance information on the plan.
“I won’t vote on anything before I do due diligence on it,” Trustee Laura Curtis said at Monday night’s Village Board meeting.
The ordinance would cut some fees associated with building a new home, including land/cash contributions to school and park districts, making the total proposed reduction about 35 percent. The storm sewer connection and inspection fees would be combined into a single fee of $175, a $50 decrease from the current total of $225.
With the fee reduction, developers would save about $6,000 per home they build, said Lakestar Advisors President Adam Dontz, who petitioned for the fee cuts on behalf of Gladstone, McHugh Construction and Town and Country/K. Hovnanian Homes, which all have half-finished subdivisions in the village.
Dontz, then working for Gladstone Homes, also petitioned the village in 2009 to cut building permit fees to help make new homes easier to sell as the housing market faltered. At that time, the Village Board lowered the fees by about $3,000 until July 31, 2010. The petition from Dontz proposes re-instituting the temporary building permit fee cuts enacted in 2009.
“I think this would be a good idea. It would help get these houses built and get the village moving forward,” said Trustee Mark Guethle.
Curtis, a real estate appraiser, said she does not think the village needs to cut permit fees to encourage new home construction.
“The trend throughout Kane County is that new home starts are going up,” she said. “We issued 57 permits last year, which is a huge increase over (the previous) year. With the increase in demand, I don’t think home builders will stop building homes because we didn’t lower our fees.”
Trustee Chris Faber objected to calling for a vote on the new fee cut proposal Monday because only members of the Development Committee had seen it — or even knew that it existed — before the meeting.
Village President Dale Berman said he directed staff to draw up the ordinance for a vote at Monday’s meeting.
“I thought the committee was 100 percent in favor of it and that we wouldn’t need a staff report because the full board would be in favor of it,” he said.
Berman asked staff members to prepare a memo explaining details of the fee cut proposal for trustees to read before the March 18 board meeting.