Canal Winchester city officials are proposing to cut commercial development inspection fees in half.

Canal Winchester city officials are proposing to cut commercial development inspection fees in half.

The city bases its fees on the state building code, which Development Director Lucas Haire said was recently updated to include an amended fee structure.

"Last year, when the state revised its Ohio Building Code, they cut some of their fees in half; but even though we adopted the code, we left our fee structure alone," Haire told Canal Winchester City Council at its Nov. 5 meeting.

"This proposed ordinance is because we took a look at our fees and how they compare and feel ours are a little out of line compared to others," he said.

Proposed changes include a reduction in the commercial inspection fees for mechanical, electrical, fire alarm systems, automatic sprinkler and other fire-suppression systems.

"Our current fees are $0.095 per square foot for these services. I'm proposing a reduction to $0.0575 per square foot," Haire said. "This reduction will still allow us to adequately cover our cost for inspection contractors and will allow our fees to remain competitive for building projects in our community."

The new fees will again mirror those adopted by the state of Ohio, he said.

Council members Joe Abbott and Rick Deeds said they were concerned about keeping Canal Winchester competitive.

"I think we all agree we need to be competitive," Abbott said.

He said the electrical permit fee for one project he knows of would have cost $8,000 in Canal Winchester compared to $2,000 in Columbus.

Haire provided council members with another example of how the proposed change would affect a local business.

Under the current rate structure, building inspection fees for a new TS Tech building addition would total $41,675; under the new structure, the total is $28,940.

"We've always kept this in line with the state in the past and I think that this change is justified," Haire said.

Council members heard a first reading of the ordinance at their Nov. 5 meeting. Two more readings are scheduled before a final vote, tentatively scheduled for the Dec. 3 meeting.