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(A) Application fee. An application fee is hereby established and imposed on applicants for a permit, a request for legislative change, or an appeal under this chapter, to cover the costs of all aspects of administration of the city planning agency and all other city departments relating to the processing and decision on the application. Application fees are intended to cover application processing, review, and evaluation; meetings, consultations, and research; hearings and appeals; preparation and revisions to plans and policies that the city is required to adopt to make necessary findings and determinations; environmental review and technical studies; consultant and legal services, city staff and administrative overhead. The amount or method of calculation of the application fee (including deposits and hourly rates), and each component of the fee, shall be established by resolution of the City Council.
(B) Application and processing fee options. Application and processing fees shall be in the amount and subject to terms as follows:
(1) Application fee based on estimate of processing costs. An application fee based on an estimate of the overall processing costs related to the application shall be paid upon submission of the application. If the actual cost of processing the application exceeds the initial deposit or fee paid, the Community Development Director may mail notice to the applicant, using the applicant's address stated in the application, specifying the amount of the additional fee and stating that the additional fee is immediately due and payable.
(2) Fee based on actual processing costs. An application fee based on actual processing costs shall be calculated using the applicable hourly rate and shall be billed and paid in accordance with administrative rules and regulations established by the planning director. Monthly invoices shall be mailed to the applicant, using the applicant's address stated in the application, specifying the amount of fees incurred.
(3) Deposit based on actual processing costs. The City Manager or Community Development Director may require a deposit or cost recovery agreement, based on the city's estimate of the overall processing costs related to the application. If a deposit is required, the application shall not be deemed complete until the applicant provides the deposit, in cash or check, to the city. A minimum balance of at least 25% of the initial deposit amount must be maintained by the applicant at all times during the city's review and processing of the development application, unless waived by the Planning Director or City Manager because they determine that less than 25% of the initial deposit is required to finish the city's review and processing of the development application. The city shall provide monthly notices of the deposit balance to applicants. Notices shall reflect the actual costs incurred by the city in processing the application.
(4) Selection of application fee or deposit. The Planning Director shall determine whether the fee for an application shall be fee-based or deposit-based taking into account the project type and complexity.
(5) Suspension of application processing. The planning director shall suspend the processing of an application if the applicant does not pay any portion of an application fee or the minimum deposit within 30 days of such request by the city. The application shall be reactivated following full payment of fees or the minimum deposit, unless the application has been denied or withdrawn.
(6) Fees paid in full prior to public hearing. All application fees and actual processing costs shall be paid in full prior to (i) the first public or administrative hearing to review the application or (ii) the city's final determination regarding the application, whichever occurs first based on the type of application and required approvals. No exceptions shall be made to any developer or applicant.
(C) Appeal and modification. Notwithstanding § 153.251 of this chapter, the amount or propriety of an application fee or deposit may be appealed to the City Council. The City Council, by resolution, may waive or modify an application fee.
(D) Refund. If an application is voluntarily or involuntarily withdrawn prior to a decision on the application, the applicant may be entitled to a refund, without interest, of those portions of the application fee or deposit paid to the city for performance of services or payment of costs associated with the application that have not yet been performed or incurred. The applicant must submit an application for the refund within 30 days of withdrawal of the application. Failure to submit a timely application for a refund shall be an absolute waiver of any right to the refund.
(Ord. 2014-004, passed 5-27-14)