A new fee? Greenwich fire marshals want developers to pay for 'very time-consuming' safety reviews

GREENWICH — The town's Fire Marshal is set roll out a new fee system for safety reviews. 

The new system, expected to be in place next month, would charge developers and builders a fee for the work carried out by the marshals, who look at various fire-safety measure in new construction. The fees would not be charged on smaller residential projects, noted Fire Chief Joseph McHugh, who gave an update on the planned fees at the Board of Selectmen meeting Monday.

McHugh said the department and its legal counsel were still "crossing the T's and dotting the I's," on the fee structure. He anticipated the fee schedule would be ready for approvals or modifications by the Board of Selectmen in a month or so.

Assistant Town Attorney Aamina Ahmad told the Selectmen that issues with "the best method of implementation of the fees" and other procedural questions were still being "ironed out."

First Selectman Fred Camillo said there was informal acceptance on the measure from the board.

"We think it's fair," he said.

McHugh said Greenwich was one of the few towns in the region that did not charge builders and developers for a safety review by the fire marshal. The issue has become more of a concern because of the surge of new construction and development proposals submitted to the office of the fire marshal in recent years.

"The other towns have been doing it for a while," McHugh said, "So Greenwich is behind."

The work, he said, is "very time-consuming" for Fire Marshal Chris Pratico and the deputy marshals in the office.

The fire chief said fees would not be charged for residents adding additions to their homes, nor work on single-family or two-family homes. Review on larger residential projects and commercial construction would be subject to fees, he said.

A timetable has not yet been established for the implementation if the measure is approved.