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Changes made to UCC fees

| Tuesday, March 7, 2006

This month there are a few changes to the Uniform Construction Code for residents building anything other than a house.

Changes to the fee schedule went into effect March 1, but only affect nonresidential plan review fees.

The plan review fee for nonresidential new buildings and additions, as drawn by an architect and/or engineer, is $300.

Alterations and renovations to an existing commercial building will now have a plan review fee of $150, and applicants requiring an occupancy permit only will not be charged a fee for a plan review.

Tammy Stenson, executive director of the Fayette County Office of Planning, Zoning and Community Development, said the idea to change the fees came as more businesses have started to appear in the county, and a change to the schedule will make the process easier.

"Widewaters in Connellsville is a perfect example," Stenson said.

While Widewaters Development, of DeWitt, N.Y., had to pay a plan-review fee for the entire building at Widewaters Commons, when vendors set up shop in the building, they will not be charged and will only have a code inspector check the inside of the business if nothing will be changed.

Stenson said she received no negative complaints when she brought up the changes to the Uniform Construction Code at the last Fayette County commissioners meeting at the end of February.

Currently, Stenson said, the code office is tossing around ideas for more possible changes to the code, but said the changes won't be brought up to the commissioners for a couple of months.

Stenson was happy to report that since the Uniform Construction Code Office was established in August 2004, there has been no increase in fees.

"We just want to make this process easy," Stenson said.

The county enforces building permits and demolition permits for both residential and nonresidential construction projects for 34 of the 42 municipalities in Fayette County.

Stenson said the eight municipalities that did not opt to work with the county must fulfill the Uniform Construction Code with a third party.

One of those municipalities is Uniontown. Mayor James Sileo said council decided to stay with its own code enforcement officer, Myron Nypaver, and added that the decision was not made out of animosity toward anybody.

"We just wanted to stay with the status quo," Sileo said. "We're pleased with what we have. There are no problems."

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