By Alyssa Schnugg
A new fee structure for developers seeking a temporary certificate of occupancy was approved by the Oxford Board of Aldermen recently.
The Oxford Building Department has issued a temporary certificate of occupancy, or TCOs, in the past when a commercial business is not 100 percent complete but can be occupied safely.
“The TCO requests frequently come from businesses that want to bring in employees for training while the contractor is wrapping up, delayed shipping on a fixture or two, or landscaping requirements that have not yet been satisfied for one reason or another,” said Building Official Chris Carter.
Carter said his office has seen an increase in requests for TCOs. Setting up a fee helps to cover the additional costs associated with the TCO. Fire officials, building inspectors and ADA workers have to make additional trips to the site to make sure that everything is in place before issuing the permanent certificate of occupancy.
“The Planning Department has to make additional trips to confirm the required landscaping is in place and the approved site plan has been followed,” Carter said. “The Engineering Department has to go back and confirm storm-water calculations among myriad other things.”
Then there are extra administrative costs associated with paperwork and tracking.
“We felt that these extra costs should be borne by the developer/contractor instead of the general taxpaying public,” Carter said. “This new fee schedule doesn’t particularly help my department, or any other for that matter, it simply assesses the incurred additional costs to the ones that create the extra work.”
Generally, TCOs are issued for 30-day periods at a time.
The cost to apply for a TCO is now 15 percent of the permit cost with a $300 minimum for the first 30-day period; 25 percent of the permit cost with a $600 minimum for the second 30-day period; and 35 percent of the permit cost with a $1,000 minimum for the each third or more 30-day period.
If landscaping requirements are the only prohibitions to the issuance of the permanent Certificate of Occupancy, a one-time fee of 10 percent of the cost of the permit with a $300 minimum and a $1,000 maximum will be assessed. The TCO issued for only landscaping will be issued for a time period not to exceed 180 days.
If all landscaping requirements are not met within the allotted 180-day period, the city may utilize the certificate of deposit or letter of credit furnished to install or complete the installation of the required landscaping.
The ordinance creating the fee structure can be viewed online.