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Split council denies fee refund

POSTED October 29, 2010 11:10 p.m.

With a split, 2-2 vote Tuesday night, the Turlock City Council took no action to reimburse $635.93 in building permit fees to Lori Crivelli of Crivelli’s Shirts and More.

Crivelli had appealed the fees, charged based on a council-approved fee rubric, which she felt were inappropriate and excessive.

For installing one sink, a nonbearing wall, signage, and Americans with Disability Act approved access points – a $3,000 project – Crivelli was assessed more than $1,000 in fees. As her business was sited in a pre-existing building, not requiring additional facilities, Crivelli believed $150 in fees for sewer construction and a $1.75 charge for a business license – which she already paid for – were unwarranted. Other fees, including a $261.25 plan check fee, were considered excessive by Crivelli.

Council members Amy Bublak and Kurt Spycher voted for the $635.93 to be reimbursed, agreeing the charges were excessive and asking for staff to reexamine the entire fee structure. Council member Mary Jackson and Mayor John Lazar opposed the reimbursement, fearing that such a vote could “open Pandora’s box” to additional requests for fee refunds.

Spycher welcomed such requests.

“I think if someone else has a $3,000 project and $1,000 worth of permits they should come before us, because that is out of whack,” Spycher said.

Councilman Ted Howze did not attend the meeting due to illness.

As three votes in favor were needed to pass the measure, no action was taken on the fee refund. The item could return before the council following the split vote, but such a move is unlikely.

 

The Turlock City Council also:

·         Approved a public dance hall permit for Mariachi’s Restaurant, located at 2669 Geer Rd. The permit will be reviewed again in six months to determine any impacts on area retail businesses.

·         Began the process to amend municipal code to explicitly ban parking vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds on city streets not designated as truck routes. Such vehicles are already banned from “operating” on non-truck routes, and parking is banned in residential areas, but an ambiguity exists regarding parking the vehicles on non-residential, non-truck routes.
Exceptions would be made for vehicles making pickups or deliveries to buildings on restricted streets, drivers obtaining lodging or food, and vehicles undergoing maintenance, repair, or fueling at commercial businesses.
The violation would carry a $115 fine for a first offense, $215 for a second offense, and $515 for a third and any subsequent offenses.
The ordinance will return before the council for a second and final reading before becoming law at their Nov. 9 meeting.

·         Received a staff update on a new building permit process with a five day turnaround.
According to City Engineer Mike Pitcock, the new process will see 70-75 percent of building permits – those with no structural or minor structural changes – turned around in a week. The new process will be made possible by closer interaction between Engineering, Fire, and Building Services.

·         Received staff updates on on the leaf pick-up program, and a newly completed Americans with Disabilities Act compliant sidewalk at the Sunnyview Dog Park.

·         Issued a proclamation recognizing November as National American Indian Heritage Month.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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