Their latest proposal, to be heard this Tuesday, January 7th, at Town Hall, is to require applicants to pay the fees of any outside experts the P&Z deems necessary to evaluate the project. Already, P&Z’s strictures on floor area ratios, grade planes, flood elevations, open space, etc. etc. require homeowners interested in even the smallest of projects to incur huge professional fees for architects, surveyors and lawyers. Now, the commission wants you to pay for their side too. I say “side” deliberately: the planning and zoning process was once a collaborative effort between the town and its citizens. Now it’s adversarial, pitting those same citizens against a hostile, entrenched bureaucracy. And the citizens pay their salaries. Funny,huh?
NEW Section: 6-14 (a) (23) HIRING OF OUTSIDE CONSULTANTS
The Planning and Zoning Director and/or the Planning and Zoning Commission may require additional technical assistance in evaluating either a preliminary or final site plan applications submitted, or a modification to an application, if it finds that the nature and intensity of development may have a significant impact on the site and its surrounding areas. After such determination is made, the applicant may be required to pay for hiring one or more outside consultants to assist the Planning and Zoning staff and Commission in analyzing, reviewing and reporting on areas requiring technical review. Such consultant(s) may include, but shall not be limited to engineers, traffic engineers, surveyors, architects etc.
The expense of the additional technical assistance shall be estimated by the Director or Commission based on a preliminary estimate from the consultant chosen by the Planning and Zoning Commission or Director of Planning and Zoning. The estimated cost of reviewing the application times one hundred-fifty percent (150%) shall be paid by the applicantand deposited with the Planning and Zoning Dept. This amount shall be held in escrow until the technical review (s) are completed and the Commission finds the reports and reviews satisfactory. Upon completion of the technical review and final action by the Commission on the application, the Town shall determine the costs incurred for the review and refund the excess monies to the applicant. This payment shall be considered as an integral component of the application and failure by the applicant to make this payment shall render this application incomplete as determined by the Planning and Zoning Commission. Applicants shall not be responsible for the costs incurred for technical assistance which exceed one-hundred fifty-percent (150%)of the Commission’s estimate. Donald Heller, Chairman Richard Maitland, Secretary Dated: December 30, 2013 at Greenwich, CT