BUILDING PROJECT TIME LIMITS and PENALTIES in WOODSIDE?

October 26, 2017

At the request of both the Town COWncil and the Planning COWmission, Staff gathered information on construction time line regulations in other cities. We are not sure why this is a problem. It seems to us that the greater problem is how long it takes to get a project approved in Woodside.

Below is the information Staff has collected from other cities about their regulations. Staff is now supposed to look into whether these regulations have been successful in limiting the time of construction. Staff is also investigating other examples of ordinances that limit construction time lines. This will be on a future Council agenda. Before moving forward on this added regulation, COWncil needs to better understand what the problem really is and why there is a problem. From our perspective delays are frequently caused by Staff action or lack of action. Other factors like weather, seasonal limitations for environmental reasons like nesting birds and the like also come into play. We do not know of any property owner that has any incentive to slow completion of a project down.

Even if this turns out to be a real problem, the solution must be carefully drafted to have exceptions for extenuating circumstances. When would the time line start? Does it apply to permits for additional structures applied for after construction starts, such as adding a pool etc.? What if the house is sold and the new owner wants to make some changes? What if there is an emergency such as family illness or contractor abandoning project? What about a natural disaster such as fire or flood?

This issue is ripe for another survey be conducted of residents and building professionals. COWncil should identify what the problem actually is and what the causes actually are before moving forward. How often is this ever a problem? Any new regulations which burden COWs should be avoided unless they are addressing a significant problem and even then be no more burdensome that absolutely necessary to address the real problem.

City regulations provided to COWncil (link)

Atherton
SEE Chapter 15.40 CONSTRUCTION REGULATIONS 15.40.180 Time limits.
• Projects encompassing 2,000 square feet or less – 12 months for completion
• Projects from 2,001 to 4,000 square feet – 24 months for completion
• Projects more than 4,000 square feet – 36 months for completion
FINES
• First 30 days – • 31st through 60th day ? $200 per day ($6,000 maximum for the period)
• 61st through 120th day ? $400 per day ($24,000 maximum for the period)
• 121st day and thereafter ? $1,000 per day ($250,000 maximum)

Belmont
SEE ARTICLE XIV. – TIME LIMITS FOR COMPLETION OF CONSTRUCTION
• Projects up to $50,000 valuation – 9 months for completion
• Projects from $50,001 to $100,000 valuation – 12 months for completion
• Projects from $100,001 to $500,000 valuation – 18 months for completion
• Projects greater than $500,000 valuation – 24 months for completion
• For landscaping work required by the planning commission, an additional 90 days are allowed
• Up to three 60?day extensions are allowed, subject to an increasing fee and an inspection by the building division.

Hillsborough
• Projects up to $50,000 valuation – 9 months for completion
• Projects from $50,001 to $200,000 valuation – 12 months for completion
• Projects from $500,001 to $1,000,000 valuation – 18 months for completion
• Projects from $1,000,001 to $2,000,000 valuation – 20 months for completion
• Projects from $2,000,001 to $3,000,000 valuation – 27 months for completion
• Projects over $3,000,000 valuation – 30 months for completion
FINES
• First 30 days – 0 • 31st through 60th day ? $200 per day ($6,000 maximum for the period)
• 61st through 120th day ? $400 per day ($24,000 maximum for the period)
• 121st day and thereafter ? $1,000 per day (no maximum)
• Building official may extend by up to 90 days after considering the impact on neighboring residences and the good faith and diligence of the property owner in moving forward with the project

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