South Stormont builders face $150 yearly penalty for dormant permits

(Newswatch Group/File)

LONG SAULT – South Stormont plans to charge builders a yearly “maintenance fee” if they let building permits go dormant.

It’s meant to push applicants to get their work done in a timely fashion.

That’s among a host of changes on the table as the municipality updates its building bylaw that was last revised in 2012.

Chief Building Official Hilton Cryderman says there are just over 900 open building permits and about 300 were issued in 2020, leaving a portion of the 600 left that would be considered dormant.

A permit is considered dormant five years after it was issued and has not been closed.

Nearly 100 permits have either been abandoned or they’re incomplete.

The fee, meant to “encourage contractors and owners to close the loop and see construction through to the final inspection” would be $150 a year and would be added to municipal taxes if it’s not paid. To renew the dormant permit is another $100.

“I know a lot of people would call when their year is almost up asking to extend and we would say yes,” Cryderman told council Wednesday afternoon. The bylaw does allow the CBO some discretion.

Also in the proposed changes is allowing the township to revoke permits if construction has not be “seriously commenced” within six months of the permit approval or construction has been “substantially suspended or discontinued” for more than a year.

Councillors had no questions about the changes.

The building bylaw will come back to a future council meeting for approval.