I love getting your questions! Here is a recent exchange from a reader on Facebook:
I have a question when it comes to building permits in the county. I believe the permits are capped at 300 per year and they expire if not used during that year. Are the proposed subdivisions limited to building within that 300 per year cap or are they exempt and allowed to build additional units on top of the already allowed 300 units? I’ve looked around online but have failed to find any real clarification. Just looking for some information and help to understand the issue with the proposed developments.
Thanks for your time,
You are pretty close. There are just over 400 "Building Allocations" this year. You must acquire an allocation before you can get a permit. Then they ride with the permit, if your permit expires, the allocation expires and goes back into the pool. There is more to it between vested projects and non-vested, but that gets convoluted. No one is allowed to build beyond the number of allocations if they give out the last one and you are next in line, you lose. That has not happened yet, we are only building in the 170 per year range right now. The unused allocations do roll-over to the next year, so there is a backlog of allocations available at this point. This system that we've had in place is actually not working because we haven't needed it, but I expect some time in the future it will kick in and become effective. For instance, the proposed 2500 homes would take over thirty years to build out if they got every available allocation from now on, that is not likely or even possible, so the reality is that the growth ordinance will slow that development to more like 50 years to build out. There is way more detail than I can share, but a phone call would probably be better than me rambling on this keyboard. Let me know if this helps and if you'd like to discuss it further.
Follow up to the question:
That actually clears up my question fairly well. I was trying to figure out why some other candidates had issues with the so-called “backlog” if the permits were limited and only lasted a year. When you consider the amount of manpower it would take to build 300 units per year it seems unlikely. I’m waiting for a response from them to hear why they have issues with the backlog. Thanks for your time.
If you can, watch the planning commission meeting recording here (scroll down to past meetings) from the May 12 meeting. There will be a presentation on this exact topic with the actual numbers presented by the planning department. From what I hear, the backlog of available lots may be in the hundreds, not +4,000 like has been thrown around. Have to wait and see.