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Board of Adjustment recommends new, reduced fees

Monday, April 15, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

After more than two years of discussion and drafting, the Board of Adjustment has officially recommended a new set of application fees for families in the Austin area. When fees to bring a variance before the board nearly doubled from 2017, board members took it into their own hands to make sure that families were not “priced out of the ability to have their due process rights met at our Board,” according to their resolution. The most significant reduction was for residential zoning variances. This past fiscal year, the Development Services Department approved a fee schedule in which a residential zoning variance cost $3,230.24 per case; the board recommended that the fee be lowered to $500 in its resolution. Similarly, board members recommended that Council lower residential special exception variances from $2,459.60 to $500. Commercial zoning and sign variances retained their $3,230.24 price tag. The rationale for this reduction was based in part on a comparison to neighboring metro areas like San Antonio, Houston and Dallas, where Board of Adjustment fees for residents range from $400 to $1,200. The board’s resolution specified that the reduction in fees should not result in changes to staffing because “the staff provide a public good that should be provided by and supported with tax dollars collected by the city, rather than wholly paid for by applicants.”

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