City staff issue development, code enforcement stats

In a year-end report to the city council, city staff made one thing clear – 2017 was a busy year.

“It’s all good news, for the most part,” said community development director Michael Jones.

The report, released February 26, states that 46 building permits were approved by city staff in 2017; in 2016, 72 permits were approved and in 2015, 30 permits were approved. Jones said 46 approved permits is typical for Blaine adding, “we would like to see the number get bigger.”

A total of 60 land use applications were processed by city staff in 2017. That year, the Blaine Planning Commission vested or approved 20 applications; in 2016, they vested or approved eight applications and in 2015, they vested or approved eight applications, according to the report.

Building permit fees generated $314,816 for city revenue this year, exceeding its budget of $197,200. Land use permit fees generated $33,421 in 2017, exceeding the budget of $25,600.

As far as construction goes, Jones said, “It’s residential that’s really taking up most of our construction value.” According to the report, total construction value for 2017 was $20,981,238; residential value totaled $17,490,234, while non-residential totaled $3,491,004.

In 2016, construction values were much higher due to the Blaine High School expansion, which the city issued permits for in July 2016 at an estimated construction cost of $29.76 million.

Code enforcement

Community planner and code enforcement officer Maddie Ottley took over the second half of the presentation to report that 124 properties were cited with code enforcement violations in 2017. Ottley said 28 percent of the violations were due to overgrown vegetation.

Last year, six properties were demolished and another six were repaired following the city’s code enforcement. In addition, 116 violations were resolved voluntarily by property owners, while eight violations required the city to issue a notice of civil violation, a stop work order or a dangerous building determination.

To date, seven buildings are still considered substandard by the city; six of them are unoccupied; three of them are owned by Country Enterprises.

In 2017, the city collected $4,762.50 in fines, while $17,708 was liened. Another $13,000 is scheduled to be paid to the city in 2018, according to the report.

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