Town Council hosts workshop with builders, developers
The Truckee Town Council will be meeting for a public workshop to discuss approval issues in the building department Sept. 15 at 4 p.m.
In response to a written and oral statement given by CATT Executive Director Joe Burns at the town council on Aug. 7, the town council agreed to hold a workshop, rather than a hearing, to work out some approval issues.
“[CATT] is extremely concerned about the continued direction of the town building department and its plans examination and inspection process,” the statement reads. “Each building season, the department is unable to efficiently process the load of incoming plans in a timely and acceptable manner.”
Burns told the town council the building department was not able to handle the rush of projects that flowed in every spring. According to the statement, remodel projects could cost owners nearly $300,000 per year in mortgage interest and forgone rent, and over $1 million in loss of opportunity costs.
Since the workshop was originally proposed, the Town of Truckee has added a position to its planning staff, for which it is currently hiring.
Burns said the biggest hit is to small business or homeowners. He said because of the delays, the small owners do not build, or drop out during the process.
It goes beyond the owner, as well, according to Burns. “The effect this (delay) has in the community is getting bigger and bigger,” he said after the council meeting. The effect is, “The loss of revenue, caused by extended plan check times and certain inspection procedures, to our economy.”
CATT identified the pressing problems: plans examiners overriding engineers, policy changes, staff direction, use of a plan-return policy, contracting with an outside source, and turnaround time.
CATT said the problem with policy changes is when changes are made to code or department policies, CATT is not notified in an appropriate amount of time. Owens echoed this sentiment, saying the codes change, but sometimes the field inspectors aren’t aware of them in an ample amount of time.
In regard to contracting outside sources, CATT said Truckee’s LP2A ordinance, which requires a contractor to hire an outside source for a building inspector. CATT said the money spent on an outside inspector – currently over $60,000 and approaching $100,000 by the end of the year, they say – could be used to hire a full-time inspector/examiner.
In addition to keeping the funds in the community, CATT said the full-time inspector, “could provide additional services in the off-season and refrain from mandatory overtime of other examiners in the peak season.”
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