In a letter to the City of Hoquiam, the company behind the proposed potash facility at the Port of Grays Harbor is asking the City for leniency on their permit fees.
The letter from BHP discusses the Shoreline Substantial Development Permit review fee for the facility.
City Administrator Brian Shay says that while the company has submitted their paperwork, they have not made a payment.
According to BHP, they are valuing the proposed project at around $440 million in investment. Based on those calculations, the fee would sit at $445,000.
“BHP understands the fee is calculated starting with a base, $7,000 for the first $2 million, with an incremental $1,000 increase for each $1 million of project value over $2 million with no upper limit.”
The Hoquiam Municipal code states that “reasonable fees” may be charged as part of the fee.
(1) Reasonable fees sufficient to cover the costs of administration, inspection, and publication of notice may be charged to applicants for building permits, conditional use permits, zoning variances, subdivision permits, short plats, shoreline permits, SEPA determinations, administrative appeals, and amendment requests to the city of Hoquiam land development code.
(2) Fees established in accordance with subsection (1) of this section shall be as determined by the city council by resolution. Said fee schedule shall be on file at the office of the finance director.
(3) Fees shall be paid upon submission of a signed application or notice of appeal. (Ord. 07-11 § 6, 2007; Ord. 00-09 § 2, 2000).
BHP states that while they recognize the need to cover costs, they feel that the fee is more than what could be considered “reasonable” and are asking that the City lower the cost.
They ask in the letter that the City cap the Project value at $100 million for the shoreline fee calculation and include costs associated with the permit applications into that fee. This means that any 3rd party review also be included in what would be a $105,000 permit fee.
Shay told the City Council that at the requested arrangement of fee and review costs together; the City has the possibility to lose money.
BHP reminded the City that the project is expected to be a 50+ year investment in the community, and include “substantial on-site wetland and shoreline habitat mitigation projects” as well, estimated in excess of $4 million to implement.
Following discussion, the request was sent to the Regulatory Committee for review before a decision was made.