Archive for April, 2009
NEWS l SAN DIEGO
City Unveils Two-Year Spending Plan
North County Times
ENCINITAS —- It’s got “a few haircuts” in places, but the city’s newly proposed spending plan for the next two years doesn’t include employee layoffs or eliminate any key city services, council members said Wednesday as they took their first look at the document. While council members mostly praised the spending plan, it didn’t win favor with the local Building Industry Association, which argued that the city was balancing its books in part by raising permit fees. That’s inappropriate given the troubled status of the construction industry, industry representatives told the council.
NEWS | SAN DIEGO
Residential Building Permits Rise in March After Record-low in February
By JEN LEBRON KUHNEY, The Daily Transcript
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The number of building permits for residential units issued in March throughout San Diego County was up significantly from both the prior month and the prior year. The Construction Industry Research Board (CIRB) reported 524 total single- and multi-family units issued last month, almost three times the number issued in March 2008. The 384 multi-family permits issued were more than 20 times the number of similar permits issued for January and February combined, while the 140 single-family unit permits were practically double those from February. The increase is likely due to new home and resale activity picking up, as well as a change in policy in Chula Vista that allowed builders to defer their fees until they have a certificate of occupancy. Typically, builders must pay their fees to the city before a permit is issued.
But in Chula Vista, the builder can pay the fees after a new home is sold, rather than having to pony up the money ahead of time. In Chula Vista, there were only two residential building permits issued in January and February combined. In March alone, the number of permits pulled increased to 26. “The numbers are very small, but it is meaningful,” said Building Industry Association of San Diego CEO Borre Winckel. “For the first time we see policy behavior, something [the BIA] encouraged and supported, result in actual permit activity and that’s what we’ve been talking to many, many cities about.”
While Chula Vista is the only city in the region to adopt the fee deferral program, Winckel said the BIA is working with other city governments to adopt a similar policy. The increase in activity seen last month does not mean building will continue increasing as dramatically as it did from February to March “The drama in the figures is not so much in the percentage increase, because the percentage increase does not tell the story .” Winckel said. “What we’re seeing for the first time is what we call the ‘spring bounce,’ which we hoped would happen and is happening.
While the percentage changes in the number of permits is significant, they are still historically low. The 173 residential permits issued in February 2009 was a record low. The spike in permits in March still leaves the total number of permits issued in the first quarter of 2009 lagging behind 2008 by 25 percent. Winckel and other industry experts have predicted the number of permits issued in 2009 will be less than 2008 and continue to be soft through 2010. The CIRB expects the number of residential building permits issued this year to be about 50,000; 22 percent less than the 55-year low 64,752 issued last year.
NEWS l SAN DIEGO
City Contemplates Building Fee Increase
By BARBARA HENRY, Staff Writer – The North County Times
Monday, April 27, 2009
ENCINITAS —- A proposal to raise city building fees has drawn the ire of the region’s Building Industry Association, which is arguing the increase “will worsen and prolong the economic disaster” that builders are facing in the midst of a recession that has devastated the construction industry.
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