GONZALES - The Gonzales Planning and Zoning Commission this week voted to recommend that the City Council approve an increase in fees charged for a variety of permitting and building review work done by the city.

Justin Dupuy, the city's building official who joined the staff last year after the retirement of Jerry Self, told commissioners at their meeting on Monday that fees charged by the city fall far below those charged by other governing bodies in the area.

As one example, he cited the city's current fee of $150 for reviewing a 10-lot subdivision plan, compared to the $4,200 fee the Ascension Parish government charges for reviewing plans for the same size subdivision.

A subdivision plan submitted to the city for approval goes through several layers of review and may have to be re-submitted several times, Dupuy said.

Dupuy said that an increase of fees could be phased in over several years. 

Commissioners voted to recommend to the City Council that fees be increased 80 percent of those charged by Ascension Parish for the first year of increased fees in the city, followed by 90 percent of the parish fees the second year, then 100 percent the third year -- with the caveat that the increases be reviewed at the end of the first year.

Commissioners also voted to recommend to the City Council that it adopt an additional one foot of elevation above base flood elevation for development in the city. 

The change in elevation would bring the city in line with parish standards, as well as significantly lower flood insurance rates, Scot Byrd, the city's chief administrative officer, told commissioners.  

Follow Ellyn Couvillion on Twitter, @EllynCouvillion.