2018-09-06 / News

State issues new fee schedule for building permits

Because of suspected price gouging, municipal governments in Rhode Island no longer are determining the cost of their building permits.

According to Town Administrator Andy Nota, the statewide formula was enacted to protect builders from paying excessive fees.

“The intent of this regulation is to prevent a community from profiting through permitting,” he said. “It was occurring in certain parts of the state.”

While the law was implemented in July, the local zoning department was given a two-month extension. The new system, with fees that have declining multipliers as the cost of construction increases, goes into effect Monday.

Building permits are issued to offset costs associated with reviewing plans, overseeing construction, conducting inspections and issuing certificates. In 2005, however, the Rhode Island Builders Association sued Cranston, Lincoln and Warwick, claiming those municipalities were charging fees in excess of the actual cost to approve and oversee construction. The trade union settled with each defendant in 2014. Simultaneously, the state Building Code Commission began drafting its formula.

Previously in Jamestown, projects valued at less than $500 required a $25 permit. The new formula establishes a $50 minimum. For projects ranging from $1 to $10,000, the fee is $12 per $1,000 valuation. For projects ranging from $10,001 to $50,000, there is a $120 fee with an additional $10 per $1,000 exceeding $10,000. For projects valued above $50,000, there is a $520 fee with an additional $8 per $1,000 exceeding $50,000.

According to Nota, the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns fought this measure because it was unclear how these rates were set. Nota is vice president of the league’s board of directors.

Return to top