- The Denver City Council has approved $1.4 million in funding for the city building department so that it can hire extra staff and outside services to help deal with a construction boom-driven permit backlog, according to The Denver Post.
- Denver Department of Community Planning (CPD) officials said the department, which issued 9% more building permits in 2015 than it did in 2014 and 75% more than it did in 2009, expects an 8% bump in building permits this summer.
- The extra personnel will help with plan reviews and roof inspections, which are in high demand because of new roofs being installed as a result of last year's hailstorms, according to the CPD.
The extra money will help the department catch up on its permit backlog but will also prevent another serious delay situation from occurring again, CPD Executive Director Brad Buchanan told the city council. The CPD said it hired 15 new staff members, but those employees need a training period before they can do reviews and issue permits on their own. In the meantime, current staff is maxing out overtime and Saturday hours at an "unsustainable" pace.
In March, the CPD reported that it had its biggest backlog ever in the summer of 2015 and that projects were taking up to three times the normal review cycle. At the time, Denver building officials said they had made changes in an effort to increase turnaround time, including additional staffing and new software, but, given the current backlog, those changes weren't enough.
The major factor influencing the increase in permit requests is the building boom underway in Denver. In May, the Downtown Denver Partnership reported that the city was experiencing nearly $2.5 billion worth of construction in progress or in the planning stages. Some attribute part of the uptick in construction to the legalization of cannabis, which has spurred development in parts of the city to accommodate marijuana grow space, accompanying businesses and employees.