City Planning Department Records Busiest Time in its History
The real estate market in Missoula is in a historic period, and with it, the Community Planning, Development & Innovation Department of the City of Missoula is also busier than ever.
Director Erin Pehan spoke to KGVO News this week and confirmed that fact.
“This is the height of our busy season at Community Planning and Development as we see hundreds of building permits rolling in our doors each month,” said Pehan. “Much of that building activity started six months or so ago in the winter through rezones or annexations, or subdivision requests, and those developers are now ready to build.”
Pehan said the level of activity in her office is being matched by developers, builders and work crews throughout Missoula.
“We are working at a rapid pace to try to process those building permits,” she said. “In the meantime, we are still working to support new development activity through those rezoning applications. So subdivision applications, in addition to the day to day work that we do just to support growth in the community, and so it's busier than it's ever been. It's our busiest time of the year and we are just doing everything we can to keep up.”
Pehan noted that the pandemic and Missoula’s rapid recovery is wreaking havoc on the building industry and the associated trades.
“Lately, I don't think there's ever been a more difficult time to develop in the city of Missoula,” she said. “When you look at just the sheer pace and the volume of development that's happening, which slows down the process of getting your projects approved and ready to go, to the cost of supplies right now due to a nationwide supply shortages, to labor and labor shortages nationwide with very low unemployment rates, and so I do think it's a very difficult time to redevelop.”
Pehan said her office is doing everything it can to keep up with demand and keep projects moving.
“We are trying to do everything we can at the city of Missoula to not be one of those barriers, and so we have brought on additional staffing,” she said. “We have hired three additional planners and a new deputy director to really help us look at how we streamline our process, how we remove or change unnecessary regulation, and how we generally work more efficiently to support especially residential development in our community.”
Community Planning, Development & Innovation merged the former Office of Housing and Community Development and Development Services.
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