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RE: Permitting Fee Prices in Menlo Park

From: Lafrance, Ron J <"Lafrance,>
Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2017 21:36:15 +0000

Mr. Londre,

Thank you for your e-mail and I apologize for any confusion on the fees you were charged. The City has not raised the fees associated with a Building permit in a number of years. The Building Division fees are established to obtain full cost recovery for all projects unless directed otherwise by the City Council, as is the case with fees associated with a photovoltaic system. Based on your e-mail I looked into the fees that had previously been charged for your EV charger projects and those that were charged on the permits issued to you on June 8th. There was an error in the fees charged prior to the June 8th permits resulting in under charging for those permits. This error was discovered and corrected and you were charged the appropriate fees based on the City's Master Fee Schedule. All fees are approved annually by the City Council. I again apologize for the confusion on this issue.

The City Council has directed City staff to explore how to increase the number of EV chargers being installed throughout the city. Although fees were not discussed at the time, we are happy to consider your comments. Staff will be presenting their findings and recommendations to the Council in the Fall. If you would like your concerns regarding fees considered, please feel free to submit to me your research on the fees charged by other cities. You are also welcome to address the Council directly during the public meeting on this subject. We would be happy to provide you with notification of when the meeting will occur.


Ron La France
Assistant Community Development Director/Building Official
City of Menlo Park

Please note that the City of Menlo Park Administration offices will be closed June 23rd, July 4th and July 7th.

-----Original Message-----
From: Matt | Willow Glen Electric [mailto:matt_at_(domainremoved)
Sent: Thursday, June 8, 2017 4:05 PM
To: Lafrance, Ron J <RJLafrance_at_(domainremoved)
Cc: _CCIN <councilmail_at_(domainremoved)
Subject: Permitting Fee Prices in Menlo Park

Hi Ron & City Council,

I’d like this to be an official petition to lower the costs of electrical permits, specifically for EV chargers, in your city. I was in your building department today and made the unfortunate discovery that you recently raised your permitting prices significantly. We have pulled 50+ permits for EV chargers in Menlo Park over the past few years, and most of them were priced $210-$240. The new price for a simple permit for one 50 Amp EV charger is $342.46! Your permits were already amongst the highest cost permits in the Bay Area for EV chargers, and this raise vaults your city into the top 5% in costs. Most jurisdictions with higher permitting fees have told me that they don’t get any property taxes or business taxes to help offset the cost of their permits. I hoped that your city’s high tax base (expensive homes + Facebook and other companies) would allow you to eventually lower your permitting fees. This recent increase jumped the cost 50%!

One of your staff alerted me that solar permits are free to help with energy efficiency upgrades. Shouldn’t EV installations get a similar benefit? Solar projects are $20K+ projects, while EV installations are often in the $1,500-$2,000 price range. A $340 permit can be as much as 25% of the cost for one of our installations in your city!

Los Altos only charges $75 for their electrical projects, no matter what it is for. Their city has (slightly) lower priced homes and less industry, so you’d think their permits would be more costly than yours.

I would also like to see if its possible to make your permit meetings more efficient. Currently we are required to drop off the paper permit application and plans in the Building Department before we can schedule a followup meeting in the building department. This requires two visits to pull a simple over-the-counter permit. I’ve been told that this is because contractors would occasionally miss their phone-scheduled over-the-counter permit meetings in the past. I’m a big proponent of self accountability, and our company has never missed a scheduled meeting. It would be very helpful if we could email or mail in our plans ahead of time so we could simply schedule the followup meeting and only need one visit to your building department. Alternatively, it would be even better if we could submit our plans via email or mail and have them approved without ever needing to step foot in your building department. I pulled three over-the-counter permits today and didn’t have to answer any questions about any of t
hem; these could have easily been reviewed without my presence.

Please let me know your thoughts on this.

Best regards,

Matt Londre
Sr. Project Manager
Willow Glen Electric, Inc.
(408) 705-3663 - cell
(408) 289-9725 ext. 1 - office
Received on Tue Jun 13 2017 - 14:40:10 PDT

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