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Rule breakers could see permit fees double

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There could soon be larger penalties for developers in the city of Grande Prairie that don’t follow the rules. City council will look further into doubling the permit fees for anyone who starts or completes a project without a development permit.

The increase would also go for anyone who sways away from the conditions in an approved permit. City Development Permit Supervisor Stuart Wright explains that there hasn’t been too many problems in the city but this is a way to stop problems before they are there.

“There is an expectation that most developers wouldn’t be impacted because they do follow the rules and [follow] what they need to do prior to construction.”

Stuart adds that they compared other penalties across the province to come up with the proposed solution. There were ten other municipalities looked at and the city of Lethbridge was one of those that had double permit fees for rule breakers.

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“It really was mixed in terms of the responses and what they actually do. The most common theme was double the permit fee as a penalty for those who don’t follow the actual process.”

This would mean someone who didn’t follow the process while building a single family home could be charged $300 for their permit instead of $150. The fee would go up considerably for industrial and commercial buildings with the permit fee for new development starting at $550.

Fines for not abiding by the Land Use Bylaw are $250 for the first offence. The second or subsequent offence can range between $500 and $10,000 but Stuart says this depends on the development.

“That would be at the discretion of the city to look at the issue that has occurred. If it is someone’s second offence, what is the significance? If they were completely aware the first time around, it may be considerably higher than $500.”

The possible permit fee doubling has been added to a future fees and penalty bylaw for city council to look at.

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