Building Permits Down, Construction Valuation Up

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In May 2006, the town issued 19 building permits: 17 single-family homes, one manufactured home and one commercial.

An ongoing lack of financial resources and land availability to build affordable housing has created a high-density project drought. The town has not issued a permit for a multifamily housing unit in May for the past five years.

"We're not seeing a lot of multifamily residential projects," Chief Inspector Ray LaHaye said. "Every three years we'll see that spike." This most often occurs when government grants are made available to fund higher-density projects such as the Green Valley Apartments.

Construction valuations have increased nearly 50 percent since 2001.

From the beginning of the 2006 calendar year, construction valuation topped off at $31.5 million and $63.1 million for the fiscal year, compared respectively to $27.2 million and $52.7 million in 2005, and $14.8 million and $40 million in 2001

Although the residential permits have remained relatively stable over the years -- 10 approved in 2001, 17 in 2006 --LaHaye attributed the spikes in valuation to the proliferation of expensive homes, especially those in Chaparral Pines and the Rim Club.

Site-built and manufactured homes fall under two separate valuation systems. The planning department calculates the cost of site-built homes per square foot based on a national standard. Owners provide the value of manufactured homes.

Payson's building permit process moves in a deliberate series of phases to ensure safety.

Securing a building permit takes time, and it starts with a new or remodel construction project.

To begin the permit process, builders complete a litany of paperwork and provide two sets of plans.

Once submitted, the planning staff takes 10 working days to review residential applications and 20 to consider commercial projects. During the review, staff checks for adherence to the town's building code.

After the department approves an application and before construction begins, an inspector performs a site inspection.

To make sure it's done right and to code, LaHaye encourages contractors and owners to visit the planning and zoning department before embarking on any project.

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