San Marcos City Council voted unanimously Feb. 24 to waive the city's permit fees for all residential and commercial plumbing repairs submitted through April 16.

The waiver applies only to repairs made necessary as a result of the snow storm during the week of Presidents Day, but it is retroactive and applies to permits issued or applied for before the council's vote.

"I really believe that that's going to be very beneficial for our residents that are faced with something very unprecedented and very challenging repairs," San Marcos City Manager Bert Lumbreras said.

The ordinance was originally set to expire April 1, but Council Member Melissa Derrick requested an additional 15 days be added.

"I've been hearing from a lot of constituents, friends of mine, etc., that it's more than 60 days out to even get a plumber to your house," Derrick told her fellow council members. "I just think that 45 days is a little too short with the amount of damage that has been done in San Marcos."

Permits can be applied for online by either the property owner or a registered plumber, and a permit application must be sent to the city within 24 hours of completion of repairs whenever new pipes or fittings are used. More information is available on the city's website.

However, Lumbreras said city staff has realistic expectations and do not expect every impacted resident to submit permit applications.

"It's safe to say that not everybody that does repairs on their own are going to come in and get a plumbing permit. I think staff readily understands that," he said. "For those individuals that do comply with our city and have an interest in reaching out to the city and and making the necessary repairs, we want to be able to provide this waiver."

Inspections are also required once repair work is complete, but it can be done either in person or through videoconferencing such as Skype, according to city documents.

City Council intends to revisit the waiver during its April 6 meeting to evaluate if the April 16 deadline will need to be adjusted.