Building Permit Fees up 565 Percent in Kent
More than a half dozen multi-million dollar projects are under way in Kent
Yes, your eyes aren't deceiving you, and that headline is correct.
Building permit fees in Kent are up 565 percent through October of this year compared with the same 10-month period last year.
So far this year, developers and other property owners have paid $814,994 in permits and fees to renovate or build new buildings in the city. The $122,623 in permit fees paid between January and October of 2010 seems paltry in comparison.
"With all the building going on, it doesn't surprise me," Kent City Councilman Wayne Wilson said.
The 565 percent increase can mostly be attributed to parks fees, inspections and building plan reviews associated with more than half a dozen multi-million dollar projects all under way simultaneously in Kent.
"It's a ton," Bridget Susel, acting director of the Kent Community Development Department said. "It's a very busy time."
It certainly is busy in Kent with construction going on in almost every corner of the city. The big projects under way include:
- Province at Kent, a 596-bed student housing complex on South Lincoln Street.
- University Edge, another student housing complex under construction on Rhodes Road where Sunrise Apartments formerly stood.
- Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center, which just got its building permit this month.
- Fairmount Properties downtown redevelopment project, in conjunction with the city of Kent, is under construction on South Water and Erie streets.
- Acorn Alley II is mostly finished, but individual stores remain under construction, including Popped! and Laziza, while others such as Zoupwerks and Wild Earth Outfitters have already opened.
- The PARTA Kent Central Gateway transit center, which will rise across from the new hotel on Erie Street.
- Family Dollar, a new retail store on South Water Street.
- Demolition and reconstruction of the CVS at South Water and Summit streets.
And there were a lot of demolitions across the city this year, and those also carry fees.
Susel said the majority of the building permit fees paid so far are associated with the new student housing projects, University Edge and Province at Kent.
"But downtown is a big portion of it, too," she said.
The boost in permit fees isn't exactly a windfall for Susel's department.
Kent Budget and Finance Director Dave Coffee said the revenue generated by the permit fees goes directly into the city's general fund.
"Likewise, the expenses for city resources that generate those revenues are funded by the general fund," Coffee said.
Plus the city's building department isn't exactly equipped for such a development boon. The myriad projects have pushed the community development department beyond capacity in some aspects, so some of the work — such as inspections and technical plan reviews — are contracted out to third parties at an expense.
Wilson said he expects the city will continue to see large fee revenue as construction continues on many of the projects through next year.
"I would guess this year is probably the peak because this is when the big ones are coming in," he said.