Chaffee County saw increases across the board in building permits for 2019, with a total of $1,539,227.13 collected in fees, compared to $1,320,399.98 in 2018.
The Building Department issued a total of 3,786 permits, including 294 single-family dwelling (SFD) permits in 2019. In 2018 it issued 3,277, with 283 SFD permits.
“It is hard to predict, particularly in an election year, but we kept the revenue projection for 2020 the same as it was for 2019,” Dan Swallow, director of development services, said when asked if 2020 will see the same kind of growth.
“We really haven’t seen a slowdown in the total number of permits issued since I came here in 2013, but the year-to-year growth in the number of permits issued has slowed a bit.”
Poncha Springs saw growth in total permits of about 50 percent between 2018 and 2019 and about 43 percent growth in single-family dwelling permits, the largest in the county.
“Poncha Springs has quite a bit of land that is adjacent to public infrastructure like water and sewer, which makes developing this land much easier and less expensive,” Swallow said.
“They have several subdivisions coming online or are about to, so I think we will see continued growth in permit activity in Poncha Springs. Additionally, their form-based development code that they adopted seems to have helped contribute to attracting new development.”
The single-family dwelling permit is one way to judge what kind of housing is being built in the county, but it is not the only type of housing on the rise.
“We have seen growth in all types of residential structures, with the exception of apartment buildings, but we issue many more detached single-family dwellings permits than any other type of residential structure by far,” Swallow said.
The county collected 128.27 percent of its total budgeted revenue for the Building Department in 2019.
“The Development Services Department is funded out of the general fund and not an enterprise fund, so all revenue we collect goes into the general fund and all expenses we incur are paid from the general fund,” Swallow said, when asked what happens with the extra money collected.
“When formulating our budget, we try to project our expenditures as closely as possible to what we think we will actually incur, but we project our revenue very conservatively.
“We do this very intentionally to avoid budget shortfalls. In other words, we try to avoid earmarking more money for the department than we actually collect.
“In years with high activity as we have seen in the past several years, we try to reinvest into the department by replacing aging PP&E (property, plant and equipment) such as inspector vehicles, computer equipment and software updates.”