Planning Commission agrees on fees list for building permits

By Megan R. Harrell
Star Staff

Carter County is currently one of the few counties in the region that charges little or nothing for building permits. Yesterday, the Planning Commission agreed upon a fees list for all structures erected in the county's zoned areas.
   Chris Schuettler, director of Carter County Planning and Zoning, recommended the fees. "Most planning offices are fee type offices. We pretty much operate as a 50 percent fee office," Schuettler said. "These rates are some of the lowest that you will find in Eastern Tennessee."
   The fees include $200 for an industrial building permit and $100 for commercial building. Residential building permit fees will vary depending on the size of the building. The agreed upon fees were $75 for houses over 2,000 square feet; $50 for houses 1,500 to 1,999 square feet; $25 for houses 1,000 to 1,499 square feet; and $15 for homes less than 1,000 square feet.
   Members of the Planning Commission agreed on a fee of $50 for a building permit for the first unit of a multi-family dwelling, and $15 for each additional unit. Owners of single wide mobile homes will be charged $25 for a building permit in all areas of Carter County.
   "This is not an aggravation. It is just something that other people do and Carter County is not," Schuettler said. "A lot of people are having to come in and get building permits in order to get financing from lenders that are not in the county anyway."
   Before the fees list goes into effect it must be voted on by the entire Carter County Commission. Schuettler plans to bring the list before commissioners during their next meeting in June.
   The Planning Commission also heard from a resident of the Idlewylde subdivision on the violation of zoning ordinances. Mark Bean came equipped with a petition signed by his neighbors, and photographs of zoning violations. Bean testified that the violations are decreasing his and other citizens' property values, and asked about a litter ordinance for the county.
   If zoning ordinances were adopted violators would have to be prosecuted as a nuisance. If found guilty the county would have to absorb the cost of the cleanup which could lead to an expensive proposition. Although Carter County has looked at Washington County's litter laws to draw ideas, no litter law is expected to be adopted in the near future.
   The Idlewylde subdivision was cleaned up approximately 10 years ago when Schuettler took legal action against zoning violators in the community. Schuettler expressed his aggravation at the subdivision's regression and informed Bean that the Enforcement Committee will visit the area next week.
   There are several zoning violators currently in the General Court System and repeat offenders will be cited to Chancery Court by Schuettler. Repeat offenders could be charged with contempt of court if it is determined that orders to clean up their properties were not carried out.