Help is on the way
The Building Division of the Planning Department will soon see relief if the full Mount Pleasant Town Council votes in favor of allowing them to bring on two more staff members.
During the Planning Committee meeting last week, panning department head Christianne Farrell explained that the back log in issuing permits is up to three to four weeks and salaried and part time employees are having to work Saturdays just to keep up with that. Inspections are taking up to three to four business days.
The department’s greatest need, she said, was to have more employees in the plan review process.
The staff has had to pull qualified plan reviewers and put them in the field to keep up with inspections to maintain a reasonable level of service.
To build a residential house, a contractor must go through at least 10 inspections from the foundation to occupancy.
By the end of April this year the building division performed 14,000 inspections which is significant when you look at 2009 and 2010 when they did 8,800.
In addition to not having enough man power in the field, the building department receives an inordinant amount of phone calls, and each caller gets undivided attention, taking employees away from other priorities. Building Division Manager Lee Cave said that working on Saturdays allows him to get more work done because the phone is not ringing.
He said the current back log is created solely by the volume of submittals that come in the door.
To date, there have been 459 residential and commercial permits issued through March.
In 2012, there were 1,087 residential permits issued. In 2011 793 residential permits were issued. (2010 - 226; 2009 -167; 2008 - 511; and 2007 - 359).
Cave said that three to four weeks to issue a permit was not acceptable for a development plan review. He said his staff should see plan reviews, with requried revisions, in no more than a week. He added that inspections should be done the next day.
Overtime is not being given to any employee. Houlry employees who work on Saturday must adjust their hours during the week.
Mount Pleasant Town Administrator Eric DeMoura said that the building division is expereincing unprecendented volumes, even more so than during the building boom. “The current level of service is not our standard and a wait-and-see approach is not enough,” he said.
He reccomended that council go ahead and hire an inspector before July but also add a second inspector.
He said there was money in the budget to do so.
The full council will vote on the additional hires.
Number of Permits Issued (Residential and Commercial) (Fiscal year)
12/13 through March - 459
11/12 - 418
10/11 - 317
09/10 - 198
The average number of permits issued for commercial and residential has increased by 46 percent just since the previous FY and by 209 percent since FY 2009/10.
Total residential units permitted in calendar year 2012 represents an increase of 37 percent over those permitted in calendar year 2011 and a 381 percent increase over those permitted in calendar year 2010.
Commercial Development has remained constant with 24 new commercial permits and 182 repairs and additions issued through March.
New and Under Development
Carolina Park - 1,750 homes allowed
Oyster Point - 592 homes allowed
Pepper Plantation - 294 homes allowed
Central Mount Pleasant multifamily
Mount Pleasant Square