Housing permits, revenues passing projections for 2012

Monticello city planning staff reported to the Planning Commission Aug. 7 that applications for single-family home building permits, and valuations and fee revenues related to those permits, were all greater through the first six months of 2012 than they were at that time in 2011.
After only five permits for new single-family homes were issued through 2009 and 2010, with zero passing through the office in 2011, staff projected a relative boom in applications for 2012 with an estimate that the city might receive 10 requests for single home permits.
In fact, the city beat that goal through June, issuing permits for 11 new single-family homes, and staff reported Tuesday night that July was a heavy month to raise the total to 15 housing permits with five months to go.
The 11 permits issued through June for the year will lead to an additional estimated property valuation of $1.67 million in the city.
Considering requests for all building permits and property improvements through the first six months, the city issued 402 permits January through June for an estimated valuation of $6.06 million. In those six months for 2011, Monticello issued 274 permits for a valuation of $4.47 million.
Permit fee revenues to help cover the city’s budget totaled $128,840 for six months through June 2012, nearly double the amount that the city collected in those fees in 2010.

Other business

•Community Development Director Angela Schumann reported that though staff had planned to share data with the commission this month on how an interim temporary sign ordinance has been working for the city’s permit holders, not enough of the businesses in question had returned surveys after one request to give staff a good gauge.
About 30 owners have city permits for 2012 that allow them to place temporary signs outside their businesses for advertising specials and other news to patrons. For 2011 (and city officials extended the interim ordinance for 2012), permit holders may utilize those signs year-round with no daily limit. Under a policy that the city enforced through 2010, permit holders could advertise on temporary signs for up to 40 days annually.
The city surveyed the permit holders to find how many days they had placed temporary signs through the first six months of 2012. Schumann said staff would send out a second request for feedback. “Usually it takes a notice or two, because they’re busy running their businesses,” she later told the Times, adding that the city wants to return to enforcing a permanent ordinance but with an appropriate number of maximum days for temporary signs. “We know that 40 is probably not the right number, but we want to get to that right number,” Schumann said.
Though the annual permit, under the interim ordinance, allows a business owner to place a temporary sign every day through December, staff continues to track any violations for its study. Those could include instances where some businesses may place temporary signs though they did not renew their permits with the city for 2012. Signs are also misplaced if they’re in city or county right-of-way, Schumann said, and there are also size limitations spelled out in the permit.
• Planning commissioners will tour the city with staff 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, as part of a process to review Monticello’s subdivision ordinance, which Schumann estimates was created in the mid-1970s.
This follows a similar review that commissioners conducted for the city’s zoning ordinance. Schumann said some amendments have been added to the ordinances through the years but that, to her knowledge, officials have not taken such comprehensive reviews since the original texts were drafted. “There is some duplication (common language) in the ordinances that we want to analyze,” she said.

By Paul Rignell