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BoA recommends lowering fees to a sixth of the price for residents

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

After months of discussions in a working group, the Board of Adjustment voted to adopt lowered fees for residents seeking to come before the board and request a variance. At the beginning of this fiscal year, fees for individuals seeking a zoning variance jumped from $1782.56 to $3,230.24. Calling the fees “discriminatory” on a financial basis, the board unanimously voted to separate commercial and residential variances and slash the required payment down to $500 for both residential variances and special exceptions. Commercial variances will remain in a similar tier to what was presented at the beginning of the year. Board Member Michael Von Ohlen explained at the board’s Feb. 11 meeting that the working group based the fee structure on surrounding metropolitan areas like San Antonio, Dallas and Cedar Park, whose fees range from $400-$1,200. “I think our timing was right to be coming up with this structure,” he said. According to him, the city’s Deputy Chief Financial Officer Ed Van Eenoo recently asked the board for its opinion on the budget schedule. While all board members were in agreement that fees needed to be lowered, Board Member Melissa Hawthorne wanted to consider extra costs for Lake Austin zone variance cases, which she said were much more complicated than others due to environmental considerations. Overall, the board agreed wholeheartedly with the fee reductions. “I think we need to show our concerns for our community,” said Board Member Veronica Rivera.

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