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Supervisors approve impact fee deferrals

Various impact fees collected by the County of San Diego by developers can now be paid prior to final inspection rather than at the issuance of a building permit.

Although that deferral will allow the developer rather than the county to collect the interest on the amount to be paid which accrues during the deferral period, the benefits to the developer may spur activity which would keep San Diego County residents employed.

A 5-0 San Diego County Board of Supervisors vote March 4 approved the first reading and introduction of the ordinance amendment, sending the revision to the supervisors March 25 for a second reading and adoption.

“We have done a lot to stimulate local conditions,” said County Supervisor Ron Roberts.

In December the supervisors directed the county’s Chief Administrative Officer to draft the framework and necessary ordinance changes to implement a fee deferral program.

The deferral only covers the construction of residential tracts or commercial buildings; fee payment for individual residences would still be required at the time the building permit is issued.

The deferral program would cover Transportation Impact Fee payments, Park Land Dedication Ordinance fees, and drainage fees.

It would also cover sewer connection fees to county sanitation districts and sewer maintenance districts which are operated by the County of San Diego, although water districts which operate sewer service will be making their own decisions about any deferrals.

The impact fees would still be calculated prior to the permit issuance, and a $175 fee would cover the staff time to administer the deferral.

Payment by certified check would allow inspection and release for occupancy as soon as the day after the impact fee payments.

“We all know what’s going on out there,” said Matt Adams of the Building Industry Association. “Hopefully it’s issues like this, simple things that can be done like fee deferrals, that could help prime that pump.”

Since the program is intended to help provide jobs, the fee relief program will have an automatic sunset of June 30, 2011.

“We certainly look forward to discussion on further items that may lead to further economic recovery,” Adams said. “Hopefully we can come back a few months from now with some other ideas.”

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