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Germantown building permits surge in 2013

Oct. 2, 2013

Germantown — The number of permits issued in Germantown for dwelling units in 2013 has increased by 58 percent, a sign that the village is starting to see some growth.

All permit types — building, plumbing, electrical, erosion and appraisal fees — have increased in 2013.

So far this year, the village has issued 48 dwelling unit permits. In 2012, there were 28 permits issued; 25 were issued in 2011 and 20 in 2010. The increase reflects an estimated total revenue of nearly $294,000, $72,000 more than what was projected in the 2013 budget.

This increase will boost the Community Development Department's budget for 2014. The department is proposing a 23 percent increase in revenues in their 2014 budget compared with last year as they anticipate the continued higher number of permit applications, Community Development Director Jeff Retzlaff said during a presentation to the Committee of the Whole on Monday. The COW met to discuss individual department budgets. The Community Development Department reflected the largest budgetary changes year over year. The other departments discussed Monday, which included the library, general government, clerk services, recreation, the senior center and administration, did not change much from last year.

The Village Board is continuing its discussions regarding the Fire Department's budget and staffing in coming weeks as the entire 2014 budget continues to be worked through. Capital improvement projects for 2014 have yet to be discussed as well.

Having sustainable growth

In terms of growth, Trustee Art Zabel asked whether the village is anticipating a sustainable level of growth related to the amount of lots available in the village.

In platted subdivisions, there are 177 single family duplex lots available, predominantly in Brookside Meadows and Blackstone Creek. There are 130 traditional single family subdivision lots available, which Retzlaff said "would sustain a couple years of growth at the current level."

The expectation in coming years is that more residential development will occur in the village. For the last two to three years, permits have been predominantly issued to commercial and industrial properties. That is starting to switch to residential development, Retzlaff said.

The second phase of the Prairie Glen subdivision is anticipated to occur in 2014. The subdivision was approved three years ago, but the second phase was put on hold because of the economic downturn. This project would add between 16 to 18 lots to the village. Neumann Companies, the developer of Blackstone Creek, has also discussed pursuing other projects in Germantown, Retzlaff said.

Industrial may decrease

As residential development is expected to increase, commercial and industrial development is expected to decrease. The Germantown Business Park and Industrial Park are nearly full, so there aren't as many commercial lots available in the village.

"My expectation is we are not going to be generating as much commercial industrial building permit revenues as we've seen in the past unless we create the opportunity for more industrial lots," Retzlaff said. "I think that's something we should move forward with if the opportunity presents itself."

As revenues for the Community Development Department are increasing in 2014, so are expenses. The department's budget reflects an 11 percent increase to its budget because they are looking to hire a full-time inspector to begin Jan. 1. A full-time building inspector would help with the additional workload created by an increase in permit applications.

"We are unfortunately running behind in terms of permits we are issuing on time," Retzalff said. "Hopefully going full-time next year we will have to deal with that and issue permits in a manner Germantown residents are most familiar with."

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