For Immediate Release
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
ARLINGTON, VA – The Arlington County Board today approved fee increases for building and zoning permits expected to bring in nearly $7.5 million in new revenue for Fiscal Year 2008. The new fees go into effect October 1, 2007.
The additional revenue will fund a new one-stop customer service center at Courthouse Plaza, 20 new staff in the County’s Inspection Services Division and the Zoning Office, and technology upgrades.
The 24,000-square-foot center, scheduled to open in late 2008, will feature service kiosks, customer care areas, and conference space. It will use state-of-the-art technologies to manage customer flow and prevent bottlenecks. The improvements will significantly shorten waits for permits and improve customer service.
“The center will mean a new day for builders, businesses and our residents doing business with Arlington,” said Community Planning, Housing and Development Director, Susan Bell. “With the new resources we’ll be able to meet and hopefully, exceed our customers’ expectations by helping them save time and money.”
With more than 5 million square feet of development under construction and more than 10 million in the pipeline, Arlington has been challenged to deliver fast, consistent, predictable and quality permitting, plan review and inspection services.
In the past five years, the County has seen a 127 percent increase in the number of building plans it reviews, and a 47 percent increase in the number of building and trade permits issued. There has been a 100 percent increase in the number of inspections conducted daily.
Building permit fees for new single-family homes and townhouses would increase from $0.17 cents a square foot to $0.50 cents. For residential additions, permit fees would increase from $0.18 cents per square foot to $0.50 cents. Permits for residential alterations, such as homeowners making home improvements, would not change.The building permit fee increase for a 3,000 square-foot single-family home will be about $1,200.
Permits for new commercial buildings and additions would increase from $0.19 cents a square foot to $0.70 cents and permits for commercial alterations would increase from $0.14 cents a square foot to $0.50 cents. Increases for electrical, mechanical and plumbing permit fees vary. The building permit increase for a new, 2,000 square-foot condominium unit will be about $1,275. A new 200,000 square-foot office building with an estimated construction cost of $28 million dollars will pay an additional fee of $127,000.
The fees will be used to create an “enterprise fund” that will pay the one-stop customer service center’s operating costs. Prior to last night’s Board action, fees went to the County’s General Fund.
With a dedicated funding source, the County can quickly respond to changes in the pace of construction. All the new revenue will be used to improve services, providing shorter wait times and more predictability to builders and developers. Despite the fee increase, Arlington County remains competitive in the region as a place to build and renovate. Members of the building and development industry expressed support for the County’s new direction during the Board meeting.
Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the "10 miles square" parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. It is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the Environmental Protection Agency's highest award for "Smart Growth" in 2002. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world - including the Pentagon - Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.