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Sewer impact fees for remodels more strictly enforced

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

After a testy exchange with a lawyer from out of state, Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District officials have cracked down on westsiders who don’t pay impact fees to remodel their homes and businesses.

"We had a real unpleasant situation," said Jerry Kinghorn, an attorney for the reclamation district.

Officials weren’t told of the man’s remodel until he tried to connect to the sewer system, Kinghorn said.

"By that time they were 95 percent of the way through their remodels," he added.

An ordinance the Summit County Commission adopted Wednesday requires the Water Reclamation District approve plans before building permits in the county are issued, he said.

"We’ve had a few characters come over here and twist the building officials’ arms and they really haven’t had anything to stand on," Kinghorn said. "Up to this time there has been kind of an informal arrangement between the building officials and the Water Reclamation District."

The Summit County Building Department now has the necessary muscle to withhold permits for remodeling projects unless sewer impact fees are paid, he added.

"The county is issuing permits for these remodels and not sending them to us first to review," said Debbie Jensen-Sparks, the district’s finance manager.

To add a bedroom to a house in the Park City area the homeowner must pay the Water Reclamation District roughly $1,800, she said.

"We’ve had a number of small residential remodels where people have remodeled small houses into great big ones," Kinghorn said.

Those projects impact rate payers in the district, Sparks said, adding that impact fees help fund new growth.

"Everybody who gets a building permit, even for a remodel, needs to get a sign-off from us first," she said.

The number of homes and businesses being remodeled in western Summit County steadily increases, Jensen-Sparks said.

When commercial spaces are remodeled to suit new tenants the Basin Water Reclamation District must also be consulted, she added.

"They are slipping through the cracks out here in the county because the building officials are not requiring it for remodels," Jensen-Sparks said.

Contacting the district before remodeling a house or constructing a deck allows for sewer easements near the project to be identified, she said.

"We’ve got priority because we need to have access to get to some of our lines that are close to property lines," Jensen-Sparks said. "We need to review them to make sure they don’t build over our easements and cause problems down the road."


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