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(A) To defray costs, which can reasonably be anticipated to exceed those normal costs covered by the application fee, related to the processing of applications for any type of discretionary decision authorized by this chapter, an escrow account with the city must be established and funded as provided in this section. Examples of these discretionary decisions include, but are not limited to, special use permits, planned unit developments, appeals to or requests for interpretations by the Zoning Board of Appeals, rezoning requests from individual property owners, variance applications and site plan review. Applications initiated by an employee or any board, commission or branch of the city shall not be subject to this section.
(B) If the Zoning Administrator determines that the application fee will not cover the actual costs of processing the application to a final decision or if the body reviewing the application determines that review of the application and/or participation in the review process or appeal by qualified professional planners, engineers, attorneys or other professionals is necessary, then the applicant shall deposit with the City Treasurer such additional zoning fees in an amount determined by the Zoning Administrator equal to the estimated additional costs. Any determination regarding whether additional zoning fees are needed shall consider the following factors:
(1) The complexity of the application, including all documents submitted with the application;
(2) The complexity of the subject matter of the application;
(3) Whether the application involves interpretations of this chapter for which there is no established interpretation;
(4) Whether the application involves legal issues or is of a complexity such that the assistance of legal counsel would be reasonably prudent; and
(5) Whether the application involves planning, engineering, traffic or other issues such that the assistance of a qualified professional would be reasonably prudent.
(C) The additional zoning fees shall be held in escrow in the applicant’s name and shall be used solely to pay these additional costs. If the amount held in escrow becomes less than 10% of the initial escrow deposit, or less than 10% of the latest additional escrow deposit, and review of the application or decision on the appeal is not completed, then the Zoning Administrator shall require the applicant to deposit additional fees into escrow in an amount determined by the Zoning Administrator to be equal to the estimated costs to complete processing the application to a final decision. Failure of the applicant to make any escrow deposit required under this chapter shall be deemed to make the application incomplete or the appeal procedurally defective and thereby cause the denial of the application or the dismissal of the appeal. Any unexpended funds held in escrow shall be returned to the applicant following final action on the application or the final decision on the appeal. Any actual costs incurred by the city in excess of the amount held in escrow shall be billed to the applicant and shall be paid by the applicant prior to the issuance of any permit or the release of a final decision on an appeal. The applicant, who has placed funds in escrow pursuant to this section, shall be entitled to an accounting of the expenditure of funds from the escrow account if an additional escrow deposit has been requested, if any, and at the time of the return of any unexpended funds. The request for an accounting shall be made in writing to the City Treasurer. The accounting shall consist of a listing of all expenditures made from the escrow fund and shall include the name of the payee, a summary of the services or costs included in the expenditures and the date of the services.
(Prior Code, § 5.164)