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Belvedere may ditch construction fines for steep up-front fees

Belvedere is poised to jettison the way it penalizes property owners for dragging out construction projects, with officials seeking to drop the practice of issuing retroactive fines after work is complete and instead forcing owners to pay steep fees up front for extensions.

Under a proposal pitched to the City Council on April 10, by the time a third extension is required, a homeowner would have to make their case directly to the council and face a five-fold increase in fees to reactivate their permit.

Residents and city staff say the current violation-penalty system isn’t doing its job of motiving timely completion of construction projects that can be disruptive to neighbors with ongoing noise, dust, blight, parking issues, traffic and street closures. Last year, a citizen construction-impact committee recommended the rules be changed.

“Financial consequences for exceeding time limits need to be more objective and payable immediately in order to continue work on the project,” City Manager Robert Zadnik wrote in his summary report to the council.

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