Six-story condo site proposed for Lakedstone
Time is money, and for developers waiting and waiting for permit approvals for projects in Lake Country, time costs them money.
Several developers have reached out in recent weeks to express their frustrations with the length of time they have to wait for “simple” building permits.
Sometimes months, if not longer. Some say they have been waiting over a year for approvals that should have taken a fraction of that time.
A developer told Castanet he was in the unenviable position of pre-selling homes in anticipation of permits, and the delay means the current climate is driving up the cost of materials and building costs. construction put them in an awkward position.
Several developers attended a meeting at the Lake Country Municipal Hall on Wednesday at the request of new Director of Planning and Development Jared Kassel.
Kassel, who has served since the start of 2022, said he wanted to speak to the community about the development of the licensing process, roles and responsibilities of building inspectors in the district.
“A lot of the conversation was about the challenges associated with creating demand in the district and the timelines we’re facing — the resource issues we’re facing,” Kassel told Castanet News.
The problems, Kassel said, are multi-faceted, including the growth boom that has seen the municipality grow 22% since 2016 according to figures in the latest census.
“We certainly also have resource issues, not just in the construction department. These development applications are clogged in the planning department and also in the engineering department.”
According to Kassel, some of the delays developers are experiencing are also related to the complexity of development applications, in part due to the fact that there is more construction on the slopes due to the scarcity of land in Lake Country.
“We’re also getting more multi-family developments in the form of townhouses and projects like that.
“They need more oversight. Things need to come to the board more often because they’re more complex cases.”
He says maintenance challenges have also increased where the capacity of sewer lines and water lines is maximized, which means infrastructure needs to be expanded.
Kassel is convinced that solutions to the challenges facing the district and the development community can be found.
One solution is to add resources to help eliminate the backlog of files. Conversations with the board to approve these resources are ongoing.
And, while those positions would not be in place until the 2023 budget, Kassel says a few positions within the planning and engineering departments are being filled.
The other solution, he says, is to look at internal processes, such as the official community plan, procedures and zoning regulations.
“Based on my previous experience, I think we can streamline some of our processes to make them more efficient and less bureaucratic.
“There’s no doubt that these things take time. A lot has to go through the board and those discussions have to happen before any changes can happen.”
Although frustrated by the delays, members of the development community told Castanet that Wednesday’s meeting was, for the most part, positive.
A builder says he wants to work with the municipality to find solutions that will suit everyone.