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Business advisory committee holds first meeting, discusses fee hikes

The newly created business advisory committee is asking the Town Board to hold off on adopting fee increases for Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals applications until its members have more time to review them.

The committee held its first meeting Tuesday afternoon and fees were one of the items discussed. The Town Board held several hearings on the fee hikes, several of which are substantial. 

Town building and planning administrator Jeff Murphree said the increases were suggested after comparing Riverhead’s charges to those in neighboring towns of Southold, Southampton and Brookhaven. 

Mr. Murphree said the fees are meant to reflect how much it costs the town to review an application. 

“The trend nationally is, if a municipality can recoup 50% of the cost for the total amount of time it takes to review the application, you are doing very well,” Mr. Murphree said. “The fees the town currently charges don’t even come close to that.” 

On ZBA applications, for instance, the town charges a flat fee of $150, which it’s is looking to increase to $500. 

By comparison, Brookhaven charges $500 and Southampton charges $750 for the same application, Mr. Murphree said. 

The Town Board agreed to hold the hearing open until May 22.

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