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Coppell has made changes to its permit fees for residential alterations, additions and repairs. The City Council approved the changes at a recent meeting.

Suzanne Arnold, chief building official, said the changes were made in response to House Bill 852, which was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on May 21.

The bill went into effect immediately and prevents cities from considering the value of constructing or improving a home to calculate the building permit fee.

“Basically the bill says the evaluation is not the city’s business, and we need to find another way to calculate our fees,” Arnold said.

Arnold said the changes will affect the permit fees that include residential alterations and repairs including additions, and any repairs that are currently based on construction valuation. It does not affect commercial fees, she said.

“We took two approaches to revising these fees,” Arnold said. “We established flat fees for permit types where there’s a pretty consistent level of service or if it really couldn’t be captured in square feet. A lot of repairs fall under that category. For things you could get a quantifiable area on, we did a cost per square foot with a minimum.”

Before the change, for example, the fee for a residential addition of 1,000 square feet with a declared valuation of $70,000 would be determined based on a chart where a fee corresponding with the valuation would be listed. Arnold said in this case the fee would be $486.

In the new method the focus shifts from the valuation to the square footage. For a 1,000-square-foot addition, 50 cents will be charged for each square foot making the fee $500.

A minimum fee for permits is set at $150.

“We do still have to execute a certain level of service even for smaller projects,” Arnold said.

Arnold said the two main goals in making the new fees were to be fair to residents and financially responsible to the city.

“We tried to arrive at a point that was pretty comparable between those two methods,” she said.

In addition, the city has assigned flat fees for several work classes including flat work such as driveways, sidewalks, foundation repair, window replacement, electrical work, basic alterations, etc.

Arnold said the city is planning to study the effect of the fee changes in the fall to determine if any further changes need to be made.

“That will give us time to get some feedback from customers to do the financial calculations to determine the impact and to also see what other cities are doing,” she said.  

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