Harwich Selectmen Hold Off on Raising Building Permit Fees

HARWICH – Construction permitting costs in Harwich will continue to be among the lowest on the Cape as Selectmen opt to delay plans from the town’s building department to sharply increase fees.

Building Commissioner Raymond Chesley had argued that building permit fees in Harwich more than 57 percent less than those of surrounding communities.

Chesley sought to raise fees as much as 60 percent. Permits for commercial buildings would have risen from $.50 to $.75 per square foot; new dwellings and additions from $.35 to $.55; and re-inspection fees would increase from $55 to $75.

Chesley, however, had a difficult time responding to questions from selectmen as to whether or not the department actually needed more money.

When asked, Chesley simply responded that he was not privy to all department expanses and as a result could not say if the fee increases were necessary for the department’s operation.

“It’s not a race to win with other towns,” Selectman Donald Howell responded, “Fees have to be based on the cost and you do have to go into those other costs. You can crank in some overhead costs for managing it.”

While refusing to act one way or the other on the fee increases, selectmen have requested more information on the matter and will take up the issue again at a later date.

“When you charge somebody you cover the cost of providing the service for the permit to the person, not the office,” Howell said.

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