Architects review floor plans in advance of SAC determinations filing

The Met Council has announced changes to how they make Sewer Availability Charge (SAC) determinations. SAC fees are based on the idea that changes to commercial real estate properties can create new demands on the regional wastewater system. The SAC determination for a property establishes how much the property owner needs to pay to cover the new demands. Previously paid SAC credits help offset these costs.

The new changes took effect on July 1, 2018, and under the new SAC determination scheme, many charges will be based on gross square footage instead of usage. What does this change mean for commercial real estate in the Twin Cities? The upshot is that, for many uses, property owners and tenants won’t need to distinguish different uses within a property when filing SAC updates.

Note that if you’re working in a multi-tenant building, your commercial architecture firm will have to include a scalable drawing of the entire floor identifying suites and areas, rather than just the individual space you’re updating. The good news is that the changes seem to have sped up the process considerably on Met Council’s end. What used to take weeks is now only taking a matter of days.

The update also includes several other changes:

  • Outdoor seating for restaurants will receive twice the amount of “free” outdoor seating capacity — space that isn’t charged additional SAC fees.
  • SAC will not be owed for remodels that don’t change the use, unless the gross square footage increases.
  • When no prior SAC determination exists, properties will now only have to provide proof of usage back to 2009, rather than the previous 1973 date.

SAC determinations are often an unexpected — and unpleasant — additional expense for property owners and tenants. These Met Council changes should help to alleviate some of that surprise and grief. If you have additional questions about SAC charges or other parts of the entitlement process, PlanForce can help.

Shawn Wochnick, Architectural Associate Shawn Wochnick
Architectural Associate

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