Master Fee Schedule

Atherton Master Fee Schedule

The Master Fee schedule includes all the fees charged by all Town Departments. Most fees are set at full cost recovery; however, some fees, such as those for planning applications, are set below full cost recovery to encourage compliance and to account for customer service hours provided to applicants as part of the process.

Master Fee Schedule (PDF)


In 2012 the Town conducted a full-cost allocation plan. The Plan calculated productive hourly rates for each staff and contract position and using that data, developed a cost for each fee.

In addition to base fees, the City Council identified two surcharges for long-term operations: 1) Technology; and 2) General Plan Update. The technology surcharge addresses upgrades to permitting systems and hardware. This surcharge will be prorated to building, planning, and engineering fees. The second surcharge is for General Plan updates and is assigned to building fees. The General Plan is a comprehensive document articulating policies and guidelines for developing and preserving the quality of life in Atherton. Elements of the General Plan must be updated every 8 years under State law and the entire Plan should be evaluated every 10-15 years.

For more information on the Full Cost Allocation Plan, please review the Plan prepared by Capital Accounting Partners (PDF)

One significant area of discussion by the Council warrants discussion here – building permits. The methodology for calculation of a building permit fee is often confusing. In general, the actual cost to construct a home is irrelevant. The only costs the Town can recover are the costs incurred in processing the application (plan review, inspection, overhead, etc.).

For building permits there are a number of “flat fees” for items such as pools, patios, gazebos, and re-roof permits. The “flat fee” assumes that the time for plan review and inspection is relatively constant for each type of project. The remainder of building permit fees use a service requirement factor (the time and resources it takes to service the project) times a multiplier to calculate a fee for plan review and inspection. In general, this applies to new home construction, major remodels of habitable construction, and major remodels of non-habitable construction.

The price to construct or remodel a home will vary with market conditions and commodity prices, but the Town costs to conduct plan review, permit, and inspect are constant. The cost of a building permit must be designed to allow the Town to recover the full cost of the service. To address this, for building permit fees, the Town’s Cost Allocation Plan developed a service requirement factor for each square foot of permitted space. This factor is used in the calculation of a building permit fee. For Atherton, the Town’s “service requirement” per square foot is $350.

As an example, an 8,000 square foot new home has a service requirement value of $2,800,000. This amount is multiplied by a multiplier of $3.65 per $1,000 of service requirement value – ($2,800 x $3.65) to get the permit price = $10,220. Plan review is 45% of that amount or $4,599. The total cost of a permit is $14,819. The multiplier ($3.65 per $1,000 of service requirement value) is an adjustable number designed to align the permit cost with actual Town costs to service the permit.


Per $1,000 SRV x $3.65 = Permit Fee
$2,800 x $3.65 = $10,220

Permit Fee x 0.45 = Plan Review Fee
$10,220 x 0.45= $4,599

Permit Fee + Plan Review Fee

$10,220 + $4,599 = $14,819

In this manner, the building permit fee for a new home of 8,000 square feet made of the higher than normal quality materials is identical to a new home of 8,000 square feet with an identical floor plan made of less than the same quality materials. The ultimate value of the home itself and the cost of construction is not a factor in the cost of the building permit as the service requirement is solely based on the size of the home not its cost to construct.