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RESIDENTS DOING SLOW BOIL OVER DOUBLE FEES FOR CANNING KITCHENS IN THEIR BASEMENTS

SHARE RESIDENTS DOING SLOW BOIL OVER DOUBLE FEES FOR CANNING KITCHENS IN THEIR BASEMENTS

Some residents are wondering why they have to pay two utility bills and double fees just because they have a canning kitchen in the basement.

Some members of the City Council are wondering about that, too.A city ordinance treats any home with a second kitchen as an apartment. It also requires that the second kitchen meet building codes, including 5/8-inch wallboard in the ceiling, meaning the owner may have to remodel to satisfy city requirements. In addition to the building permit fees and zoning and planning fees remodeling involves, owners also have to pay a $400 second unit sewer fee and an extra $750 park impact fee.

For new homes under construction, the $400 second unit sewer fee is on top of the standard $600 sewer fee. The owner also has to pay two $750 park impact fees, one for the second unit, city officials say.

Strangely, while the code includes fire safety regulations, it fails to require an outside entrance.

But for many residents the extra requirements, fees and double utility bills are unfair because the aren't looking for renters. Some use the second kitchens for canning while others are making accommodations for relatives.

Still others want the second kitchen for entertaining. The problem is the stove.

A policy approved several weeks ago allows only one utility bill if owners sign an affidavit stating they won't rent the apartment. But that apparently doesn't go far enough.

"We'll always have people who want to get around (the ordinance)," said Councilman Jim Dain recently. "But I feel we should allow canning kitchens. I don't feel we'll create a landslide" in bootleg apartments.

Mayor Scott Cullimore wants to allow entertainment kitchens as well, but other council members are concerned about safety issues if the home changes hands and new owners convert the space to a rental without the fire codes being enforced.

Meanwhile, City Manager Ott Dameron said the council is leaning toward another affidavit - one that will forgive the double fees and apartment safety standards if the owner agrees never to rent the second unit. The affidavit would be recorded with the deed, which would also restrict future owners.