St. Petersburg considers raising fees

Published Dec. 6, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG — The price of zoning permits in the city may soon go up for things like tree removal or setting up outdoor seats at a restaurant. Officials say upping the fees is a necessary step to address increased demand for permitting and zoning services.

Under the new scheme, restaurants with outdoor seating would pay $15 per outdoor seat, up from $10. A permit to remove a tree from a residence would jump from $40 to $50. Variance fees would also go up.

The last time the fee schedule was overhauled was 2012, said Liz Abernethy, St. Petersburg's director of planning and development services, and since then demands on staff time have gone up. She said the fees are estimated to add at least $130,000 in revenue each year, which will be enough to hire additional staff.

"Most of what that team does has doubled since 2014, but the staff hasn't doubled," Abernethy said.

Some fees have been reduced as part of the adjustment, including a fee for temporary signage, down to $20 from $40.

Abernethy said she hopes the new fee schedule could be in place early next year. Council members on the city's budget, finance and taxation committee approved the change, but the full council still needs to weigh in.