3.3c Project review, hearing and inspection

Sets project review fees to cover the cost of outside consultants to assist in application review, impact assessment, monitoring, inspection and other technical assistance as needed.Includes guidelines for hiring consultants and detailed procedures for managing fees.
(C) Project review, hearing and inspection fees.1. Applicability. In addition to the administrative fees cited in section 3.3.B.2, the applicant shall also provide payment for all hearing costs, including the cost of legal ads and stenographers. The planning board shall also impose a project review fee on those applications which require, in the judgment and sole discretion of the planning board, analyses or review by outside consultants due to the size, scale or complexity of a proposed project, the project\’s potential impacts, and/or because the town lacks the necessary expertise to perform the review work related to the permit or approval. In hiring outside consultants, the board may engage, including but not limited to, engineers, planners, lawyers, landscape architects, architects, geo-technical experts, hydrology experts, or other appropriate firms, persons or professionals able to assist the board in its review of the proposal or application and to ensure compliance with all relevant laws, ordinances, and regulations, as well as with the formulation of reasonable measures to assess and/or mitigate identified impacts. Such assistance may include, but shall not be limited to, analyzing an application, review of information submitted by an applicant, design review of applications to determine consistency with the town\’s design standards and objectives including those referenced in the community comprehensive plan, examining the adequacy and reasonable alternatives of measures to mitigate potential impacts, monitoring or inspecting a project or site for compliance with the board\’s decisions or regulations, or inspecting a project during construction or implementation, or such other similar technical assistance as the planning board may require.2. Submittal. Project review fees shall be submitted at the time of the submittal of the application for deposit in an escrow account established by the town treasurer. Any application filed without this fee shall be deemed incomplete and no review work shall commence until the fee has been paid in full.

3. Schedule of project review fees. The following schedule applies to the types of applications to the planning board set forth below. This schedule supersedes all previous schedules as they may have appeared in the zoning ordinance, the subdivision and land development regulations, and any listings, which may have been compiled from time to time for the benefit of applicants.
A. Conceptual master plan, subdivision or land development project: $1,000.00 for the first six units or lots, plus $100.00 per unit or lot, after the first six.
B. Preliminary plan, subdivision or land development project: $1,000.00 for the first six units or lots, plus $100.00 per unit or lot, after the first six.
C. Final plan, subdivision or land development project: $1,000.00 for the first six units or lots, plus $100.00 per unit or lot, after the first six.
D. Development plan, subdivision or land development project: $1,000.00 for the first six units or lots, plus $100.00 per unit or lot, after the first six.

4. Replenishment. When the balance in an applicant\’s escrow account falls below 25 percent of the initial project review fee, as imposed above, the planning board shall consider whether to require a supplemental project review fee to cover the cost of the remaining project review.

5. Inspection phase. After the granting of a final plan approval, or authorizing construction upon the acceptance of a performance guarantee, the planning board may require a supplemental project review fee for the purpose of ensuring the availability of funds to cover the inspection phase of the review process.

6. Handling of project review fees. The project review fee is to be deposited into a special account as established by the town.
A. Project review fees shall be turned over to the town by the planning board for deposit into an escrow account.
B. Outside consultants retained by the planning board to assist in the review of an application shall be paid from this account.
C. A copy of the latest statement from the banking institution handling the escrow account shall be forwarded to the planning board office as soon as it is received for timely and accurate accounting.
D. A report on activity in the escrow account on an annual basis shall be submitted to the planning board and town council for review.
E. An accounting of an applicant\’s funds held in the escrow account may be requested by the applicant at any time.
1. The planning board shall respond to the request in a timely fashion.
2. This accounting may include the following information:
a. The latest statement from the banking institution handling the account, which should include an accurate accumulated interest portion to the closing date of the statement if such statements are subdivided into individual applicant\’s accounts.
b. A report of all checks authorized for issuance since that last banking statement.
F. An applicant may request an estimate of bills pending from consultants for work completed, or in progress, but not yet invoiced.
G. Excess fees in the escrow account shall be returned to the applicant or the applicant\’s successor in interest, at the conclusion of the review process, as defined below. For the purpose of this section, any person or entity claiming to be an applicant\’s successor in interest shall provide the board with documentation establishing such succession in interest. All accumulated interest shall accrue to the town to cover costs associated with the management and processing of those procedures.
1. With the approval or disapproval of a preliminary subdivision plan.
2. With the disapproval of a final subdivision plan.
3. With the release of the performance bond at the end of construction of an approved final subdivision plan.
4. With the final inspection or the approval or disapproval on all other types of applications under the zoning ordinance or subdivision and land development regulations, whichever comes later.

7. Appeal. The choice of a consultant, selected by the planning board for project review, may be appealed in writing to the board of appeal by the applicant, providing such appeal is initiated in accordance with section 10.0 of these regulations.
A. Two circumstances may disqualify the selected consultant. These conditions constitute the only grounds for an appeal.
1. Conflict of interest: A consultant shall not have a financial interest in the project under review, or be in a position to financially benefit in some way from the outcome of the pending review process. Consultants must be in compliance with the Rhode Island Ethics Law.
2. Lack of appropriate qualifications: A consultant shall possess the minimum required qualifications. The minimum qualifications shall consist of either an educational degree in, or related to, the field at issue or three or more years of practice in the field at issue or a related field.
B. The required time limits for action upon an application by the planning board shall be extended by duration of the appeal.
C. This appeal shall not preclude further judicial review, as an appeal of the board of appeal\’s decision.
D. Delinquent accounts. The following rules apply to fees owed to the planning board by applicants:
1. Monthly interest charge. All fees past due by one month from the date of invoice shall be subject to a monthly interest charge based upon an annual interest rate of 12 percent.
2. Costs of collection. All costs of collection associated with past due accounts shall be borne by the applicant.

Exeter Code of Ordinances,
Appendix B. Land development and sub division regulation,
Section 3. General Requirements,
Sec. 3.3. Fee structures and regulations
(C) Project review, hearing and inspection fees.
Last Accessed: 2007-12-18