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USA: ENCINITAS: Solar panel permit fee amnesty proposed

People who want to put in rooftop solar panels or build electric vehicle charging stations may get amnesty from Encinitas city permit fees under a one-year pilot project tentatively scheduled to start this summer.

The City Council gave its initial backing to the proposal Wednesday night and is expected to grant final approval within the coming weeks.

If all goes as planned, the city could stop charging fees for its energy-efficiency permits early in the new fiscal year, which begins July 1, Patrick Murphy, the city’s planning and building director, said after the council vote.

Encinitas resident Russell Levan, who owns a recycling company on Coast Highway 101, strongly encouraged the council to eliminate the permit fees, saying the environmental benefits of getting people to go solar are huge. Plus, he told the council members, the expense to the city to waive these fees is “pretty minor.”

City officials agreed with his assessment.

Murphy said the city would lose out on about $15,000 in fees in the coming year, plus about $25,000 in costs to the city’s general fund.
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