The East Windsor Board of Selectmen Tuesday approved reducing Inland-Wetland Watercourse application fees.
The change was prompted by research the wetlands commission began a year ago when officials noticed the fee schedule cause one application to come in with a fee of about $20,000.
Assistant Town Planner Robin Newton told selectmen at their October 2 meeting that one development came in with $9,000 in fees but had no wetlands impact and a couple of other businesses did not submit applications because fees were too high.
Town staff and the wetlands commission recommended that the fees be cut in half. Newton said that the work town staff has done on proposed developments has not equaled the high amounts of some of the applications.
The board approved the proposal with a 3-1 vote Tuesday. Selectman Alan Baker cast the dissenting vote.
Baker objected to having the fees being cut in half. He said he would be willing to compromise some. He objected to such reductions when he was a member of the wetlands commission.
Baker said none of the bigger developers are complaining about the fees and that the amounts were a small amount of their costs. He said there is a cost to what town staff members do before permits are approved.
“The question is do we want our taxpayer to pay or the developers,” Baker said.
Selectman James Richards said his concern was that East Windsor remain competitive with other communities for economic development opportunities. He said the current wetland fees could end up costing more than the building permit fees.
Selectman Richard Pippin Jr. said state statutes only allow towns to be charged for the amount of work that is being done. Pippin said he thought it would be a slap in the face of the wetlands commission if the board didn’t approve the reductions.
“If it doesn’t work, we can always change it,” Pippin said.