Homebuilders challenge city councilman over deferred permit fees on Aldrich”s

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County Home Builders Association members challenged two City Council members on the city’s deferral of permit fees for the Aldrich’s Grocery rebuilding project during a dinner on Thursday.

Councilmen Geoff Masci and Frank Benskin attended the dinner to inform county builders on City Hall development services reorganization.

Sandy Hershelman, association’s executive officer, asked Masci and Benskin to explain why permit fees for the Aldrich’s rebuilding project were deferred for two years.

Several of the homebuilders also inquired about the city paying for part of sidewalk installation around that privately owned market that burned down in August 2003.

Masci explained that the council last fall granted City Manager David Timmons authority to defer permit fees after a group of citizens asked the city to help with rebuilding the Uptown landmark.

$29,541 deferred

The city deferred the total of $29,541 in permit fees for Aldrich’s market and condominium project, according to numbers provided by the city administration.

“To date the city has paid $9,966.63 — that is half of the cost of the installation of the sidewalk to date,” according to city documents.

“The sidewalk is not yet complete. The city’s agreement limits its payment on the sidewalk expense to $15,000.”

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