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Project permit hikes keeping Poulsbo busy

POULSBO — “We’re really busy,” City Planner Glenn Gross reported last week. It wasn’t the new dilemma created by stricter annexation guidelines or the near completion of the Poulsbo Urban Growth Area that had caught his attention though.

Instead, it was the enormous increase in development project permits the city had issued last month. April’s permits, which include site plan review, conditional use and residential subdivision, were up 300 percent over April 2001. Overall planning permits also saw a huge jump over last April, leaping some 153 percent higher.

While the numbers indicate big things happening in Little Norway, Gross pointed out that despite the boosts in permits and pre-application conferences with potential developers, the hikes may or may not translate into a busy summer for the city.

“It depends on how many decide to build this year. It definitely gives the indication of a busy summer,” he remarked, noting that the permits “seemed to be a fairly good mix.”

There were 20 total planning permits issued last month, compared to just five in April 2001. The hike also brought in an additional $4,436 in permit fees. Pre-application conferences saw the biggest rise, increasing from just two last year to eight and accounting for the majority of the 14 meetings that have occurred since the beginning of the year.

So far, 2002 is turning out to be a banner year as far as planning goes with 38 permits issued in the first four months compared to 15 issued during the same period in 2001. The hike resulted in $15,066 in additional fees.

However, while planning permits were up, April building permits have declined significantly.

In 2001, the city issued 39 building permits for the month as opposed to just 29 this year. The largest drop came in the single-family housing section, which fell from 21 permits last year to just four. Building fees collected for April declined by $39,824 as well — plummeting from $124,481 to $84,657. As a result, valuations of property also fell from some $3.22 million to about $2.76 million.

Even so, commercial building permits, a sign of new business ventures and a relatively healthy economy, saw 300 percent increase over last April — going from zero permits to three. The commercial permits made up the majority of the month’s fees and valuations at $52,669 and $2.15 million respectively.

While overall building permit fees have declined by some $77,000 during the four-month span, dropping from $255,000 to $178,000 valuations across the board have increased by $1.45 million from just over $6 million in 2001 to $7.46 million this year.

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