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United States : PLANNING Dept. at City Hall has a hike in activity.

The planning department at Peoria City Hall is having a hike in activity. The City council will receive a presentation at its Sept. 4 meeting about the hiked activity along with a potential proposal to launch over-the-counter plan reviews and permitting.

According to Community Development and Planning Director Chris Jacques, there is a lot more rezone work, along with large mater plans.

Jacques said "With the uptick in activity and current staffing positions, we re seeing stress to meet the activity".

Last week in their report to council, Jacques and Economic Development Services Director Scott Whyte stated in their council communication that during the past several months the greater Phoenix regions have"experienced a new strength in the real estate market."

They said higher rates of absorption in the housing and commercial markets propose a more stable outlook to these industries, adding that "regional economic analysts are suggesting that the new home market will continue to grow over the next few years. The same is true for commercial activity, where vacancy rates in the retail and office markets are continuing to decline."

According to them, in Peoria single family residential licence activity has achieved a 58-percent growth over the last six months, as compared to the earlier six months. Commercial work of building is also crossing expectations, with almost 700,000 square feet of new growth expected during the next several months, compared to the 80,000 square feet of commercial development predicted during the fall season this year.

This is good news, however there is a price to pay through overload on workers. Cut in staff levels in the building division, due to a cut in budget, and the recently hiked activity in residential and commercial development means the staff are working over their capacity. This has led to some workers going through stress when it comes to achieving their service level targets.

Jacques and Whyte wrote in their council communication : "Key employees supporting plan review, permitting and inspection services are all experiencing a high volume of workload, and concerns persist about the impact on turnaround times".

They added : "For the building community, such delays can result in key subcontractor and material scheduling delays."

On the front end of the growth process, similar situations are being seen, with a 36-percent rise in the last fiscal development cases and notable growth recently in entitlement cases (General Plan Amendments, rezones) and residential subdivisions.

The recent hike, Jacques and Whyte said, includes "large, complex and time-intensive PCD/Development Agreement amendments such as Saddleback Heights and Lake Pleasant Heights."

They said they and their employees would be studying options to address critical service needs during the upcoming weeks.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Sep 3, 2012
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