Developer says City of Terrace overcharging for building permits

Issue stems from disagreement on interpretation of bylaw

A residential property developer says the City of Terrace has been overcharging him for building permits, and he is threatening legal action to recoup those costs.

When a developer proposes a project to the City, such as building a new house, the City charges the developer a building permit fee based on the estimated value of the project. The details of how to estimate value and how much should be charged are laid out in the City’s Building Regulations Bylaw, which was established in 2004.

The bylaw states City building officials should estimate the value of projects by interpreting a list of guidelines. For example, one such guideline on the list states that the main floor of a house could have an estimated value of $80 per square foot. Another guideline states attached garages could have an estimated value of $30 per square foot.

Once the estimated value is determined, the City charges a building fee of $8 per $1,000 of estimated value, another $1 per $1,000 of estimated value for building plan review, plus other applicable charges such as sewer connection fees.

Lyle Salekin, owner of CDG Enterprises, one of the larger property developers in Terrace who has built numerous houses in recent years, told The Terrace Standard that he and City building officials disagree on how to interpret that bylaw when estimating project value.

Salekin said he believes the interpretable part of the guidelines is the bit that specifies to which part of the building a certain estimate value should apply. For example, there can be room for debate about whether a section of building is indoor space or outdoor space.

“How closed in is a carport until it becomes a garage, that’s what they’re supposed to be interpreting,” Salekin said.

But Salekin said City building officials told him they are interpreting the dollar amount that is estimated per square foot. Where the guideline says main floor space could be estimated at $80 per square foot, City officials are estimating a higher number because the cost of building has increased since the bylaw was established, according to Salekin.

“They’re interpreting $80 means $130,” he said.

Salekin hired a lawyer to send a letter to the City highlighting seven projects where Salekin believes he was overcharged for building projects, and demanding a refund for the amounts he says he overpaid, totalling $10,224.55.

The City will not comment on ongoing legal matters, a City building official told The Terrace Standard.

Salekin said he is not opposed to increasing the estimated value guideline amounts, but it should be done through a bylaw amendment handled by city council, rather that through interpretation by City building officials.

“I agree that you can raise the fees. I’m not saying that they can’t be $135 [per square foot],” he said. “I’m saying let’s give notice to everybody. Let’s change the bylaw. That’s why we have the bylaw.”



jake.wray@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Group rescued unharmed after attempting to tube Lakelse River

Terrace Search and Rescue brought in helicopter to conduct search

Police investigate July 2 homicide in Houston

Man succumbed to injuries at Pearson Road residence

Terrace couple awarded by Governor General for volunteer work

Ron and Mavis Ramsey recognized for founding society that covers medical expenses

Skeena Sawmills in Terrace inks fibre deals with Kitselas Forestry and Kalum Ventures

Sawmill set to purchase around 45,000 cubic metres of fibre per year

Skeena Sawmills in Terrace reach labour agreement with local United Steelworkers union

The four and a half year long deal was ratified on May 19, 2020 and is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2020

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, B.C. study unveils

Study marks an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note

Interior Health will not expand Police and Crisis Team

Southeast Division Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli asked IH to expand the program

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

Most Read