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Date of Issue: April 13, 2006

Island building fees vary by size, cost

Islanders interested in building a new home or condominium project in any of the three Island cities might do well to look into the costs of permits and fees.

Depending on which city you build in and how much the construction will cost, the same type and size unit in one city could cost considerably less - or more - in permits and fees than in another Island city.

In Anna Maria, the city has a sliding scale for a building permit.

Contractors pay $50 for the first $1,000 of estimated construction cost, then $19 for every $1,000 in the estimate. The city charges a fee of $500 for new construction.

Holmes Beach operates a similar system for a building permit, charging $100 for the first $1,000, then $19 for every additional $1,000 of estimated construction costs. A plans review fee is $1,000.

Building officials in Holmes Beach and Anna Maria base construction estimates on a low end of about $160 per square foot compared with a high end near $300 per square foot, depending upon factors that include the type and quality of the materials used in the construction.

Bradenton Beach, however, operates under a different system.

The building permit fee in that city is a flat rate of $2.30 per square foot of construction, including parking. The plans review fee varies, with a charge of 25 percent of the permit fee for a single-family residence or duplex, and 50 percent of the permit fee for a multi-family development.

That means that while the cost of the permits and fees to build the same size and type of construction in Anna Maria or Holmes Beach might be about the same, those fees would probably vary considerably in Bradenton Beach.

As an example, a four-unit condominium in Holmes Beach with each unit being 1,500 square feet over parking with an estimated construction cost of $200 per square foot would cost the builder $23,900 in building permits and plans review fees.

In Anna Maria, the four-unit complex would cost $550 less at $23,350.

The same project in Bradenton Beach would compute to 12,000 square feet in the project (don't forget the parking spaces) and would cost $27,600 for a building permit. The plans review fee would be 50 percent of the permit cost, or $13,300, for a total cost of $40,900.

"That's a big difference for the same project," said one local builder who asked not to be identified.

While some contractors might think the Bradenton Beach fees a bit excessive, they were adopted by the city commission last October.

But don't forget, added the builder, that the permit and review fees are often added to the sale price of the unit.