City Hopes to Jumpstart Development, Delays Fees for Developers

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

Building permits in the City of Grand Junction are down 45 percent from where they were this time last year. In an effort to boost those numbers and stimulate the local economy, city officials are making a few changes to how those permits are issued.

Bray Commercial Broker Sid Squirrell says it's a conundrum he and other developers face each time they want to start a new project -- figuring out if the costs to build are worth it.

"All those costs come into play and fees are definitely part of that equation," said Squirrell. "And that equation has to balance or it doesn't happen."

With developers feeling the effects of the recession, things not happening seems to be the norm these days. In May 2008, a total of 44 building permits were issued in the City of Grand Junction. In May of 2009, that number plummeted to just 21, prompting city officials to take action.

"As a community, we need to do what we can to preserve that piece," said Tim Moore, Director of Public Works for the City of Grand Junction.

Under a new plan approved by the City Council, the city will no longer require developers to pay application, water system, sewer system, transportation impact, and park land dedication fees when they apply for their building permits. Those fees will be delayed until construction is complete.

"We've heard from a number of developers that they would take advantage of it and thought it would help them," said Moore.

Squirrell says he appreciates the move and thinks that it will help some.

"It's definitely nice and encouraging that the city is willing to do what they can under these really difficult times," said Squirrell.

But he says only time will tell if the changes make a real difference.

"The fees are still there," said Squirrell. "if it's postponed, sure that helps, it helps you in the process and gets your further down the line. But it's still going to be in the costs."

City officials say they hope it does what they intended it to do.

"If it helps at all, that would be great and I hope that it does," said Moore.

City officials say the new changes will remain in effect for the rest of 2009. Once they see what happens to permit numbers, they'll decide whether to carry the changes into 2010 or come up with a completely different plan.

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