Topsham selectmen approve lower code fees

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TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen on June 4 unanimously approved two amendments to the town’s code enforcement fee schedule, changes that Codes Enforcement Officer Tod Rosenberg said will make the costs more equitable for owners of mobile homes and warehouses.

“For the number of inspections that will be required on these two proposals, I felt that we were overcharging,” Rosenberg said.

Existing mobile home sites are now charged at the same rate as traditional “stick-built” homes for electrical, building and plumbing permits. The amendment, though, would create a category for existing, code-compliant sites that would reduce fees for those sites.

The permitting cost for a 66-foot by 14-foot mobile home moving into a park of an existing pad is $277, which includes a $231 building permit, a $36 plumbing permit and a $10 electrical permit. The amendment creates a $100 flat fee for all three, requiring a single permit as opposed to three.

A subcategory is also being added to Topsham’s electrical permit language for new warehouses. Warehouses have a significantly smaller electrical demand and fixture count than a building of the same size used for a different commercial purpose, Rosenberg said.

The new category reduces the permit fee from 9 cents per square foot to 3 cents. Rosenberg said the reduced fee better reflects the staff time needed to conduct electrical inspections and plan reviews at those warehouses.

Under the new fee structure, a warehouse of 45,000 square feet would incur a $1,350 electrical permit fee. A similarly sized retail building would be charged a fee of $4,050.

A public hearing held on the matter drew no public comment.

The Board of Selectmen also accepted forfeited assets totalling more than $2,000 from drug-related criminal cases. The money will go into a police forfeited asset account and help the department further its drug investigations.

The board also approved a special events permit for a music festival to be held Saturday, Sept. 5, at the Topsham Fairgrounds.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.