Fee increases among items Bonita Springs council will discuss Wednesday

— Bonita Springs City Council will discuss proposed zoning and planning fee increases at its meeting Wednesday.

Staff is looking for direction on a fee review that was completed by the city’s community development department that showed in 12 months, the city could have generated about $266,000 instead of the $289,500 it actually collected.

The department, under new management, took another look at the fee review and has not yet calculated possible savings, but estimates fewer fee increases and thus less revenue.

The city’s budget did not assume the fee increases so any newly adopted fees will come in as additional revenue.

Some representatives of the building industry said they were concerned that planning and zoning fees could not legally be charged for work on in the building side functions of community development.

But city staff seemed comfortable with the proposed fees.

“The city attorney is comfortable that Florida statute does allow for building inspection fees to be used to offset Planning and Zoning functions that are part of the building permit process,” a memo said.

City Council will also discuss a proposal to limit competition among farmers markets in the city.

There are now two markets operating on Wednesdays, one operated by the Bonita Springs Assistance Office at Riverside Park and the new market run by the Bonita Springs Lion’s Club at The Promenade at Bonita Bay.

The council will consider allowing the Lion’s club to take over operations at Riverside Park if Bonita Springs Assistance Office agrees to relinquish its agreement.

“The objective to entering into this agreement is to limit a farmer’s market from competing elsewhere in the City of Bonita Springs, which reduces the amount of people going to the Old 41 Downtown Redevelopment Area,” a city memo said.

The city will also consider giving the Lion’s Club a permit to operate an outdoor market at The Promenade on Saturdays.

City Council will hear from a representative from the Department of Environmental Protection about its plan to create new, less strict, waterway designations, which come with requirements for keeping water free of various of levels of pollutants.

The Florida Stormwater Association has pushed for the change because it is facing strict pollution standards for urban drainage ditches. The FSA has said cleanup could be less expensive in more rural, downstream areas.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida has been lobbying cities for support in opposition of the DEP saying that new rules will eventually lead to more pollution and will put the onus of cleaning it up on taxpayers.

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