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Tulsa's permit fee for storm shelters much higher than elsewhere
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Tulsa's permit fee for storm shelters much higher than elsewhere

Tulsa's permit fee for storm shelters much higher than elsewhere
Photo Credit: Staff

Tulsa's permit fee for storm shelters much higher than elsewhere

The Tulsa City Council has asked for an explanation of the permit fee charged homeowners who want to build a storm shelter after learning Tulsans pay perhaps the highest fees in the state.

It costs between $200 and $260 to obtain a permit for a storm shelter in Tulsa.

Most cities charge between $25 and $70, and some don't charge at all.

Last week, councilors asked about the fees, and heard that they're based on the cost of review and inspection, as well as the cost of the structures themselves.

So far, though, no explanation as to why only Tulsa charges nearly four times as much as any other city in the area.

Few Oklahoma homes currently have shelters, or below-ground basements in which people can shelter from a tornado.

According to the National Storm Shelter Association, only 3.5 percent of homes in the Oklahoma City area have basements, and that in an area which has had numerous deadly storms in recent years.

Mike Simmons, who lost his home in the 1999 tornado which struck the OKC area, told KRMG he was president of his neighborhood association at the time.

"We had 185 homes, 155 of them were totally destroyed, and all of them had damage, but probably not 8 or 10 cellars or safe rooms or anything," he said.

Some say cities should mandate safe rooms in new construction, but many argue against another unfunded government mandate.

Meanwhile, Tulsa city councilors plan to continue looking into the fee structure.

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