It should be no surprise that building activity in the township was extraordinary last year. According to the Building Permit Activity Report filed by Chief Building Official Kyle Phillips at the January 14th Council meeting, permit count more than doubled, total dwellings created increased almost five-fold, the value of construction increased 320% and permit fees more than quadrupled in 2018. Total permit fee charges were $734,565, up from $178,526 in 2017, well above budget levels. This was due to a conservative estimate after earlier development had proceeded much more slowly than anticipated. This jump in fees does not represent a windfall to the township. The Building Department is funded by permit revenue and not by the municipal tax levy, and all permit revenue remains in that department. Surpluses are allocated to the Building Department Permit reserves to be drawn in years where building activity is lower. The current spike in activity has required the township to add a contracted Building Inspector and reallocated salary for the Chief Building Official to their budget to cover the additional work required to supervise and inspect new construction projects.
Last year there was a big jump in the value of commercial permit construction, with the nine permits issued this year reflecting almost $15mm in construction value, the bulk of which stems from the construction of the new community centre. There were some exceptions to the growth trend. New agricultural building permits issued dropped from five in 2017 to four this year, but the overall construction value of these projects fell by more than 80%, perhaps reflecting uncertainty in the local agricultural community.
Permits for single family units skyrocketed from 30 in 2017 to 188 this year, representing residential construction values topping $564 million. The main source of the increased residential building activity stems from the Towerhill development along Fallis Line, which generated all but 12 of the 188 single family permits issued in 2018. This trend will continue. On the horizon is Phase 2 of the development which is making its way through the County approval process before it reaches the municipality. The plan of subdivision for this phase of the development encompasses 796 residential units: 360 single detached homes; 244 townhomes and 192 apartment units. The homes and the adjacent parkland, open space and walkways outlined in the plan cover 119 acres located on the north side of Fallis Line and along County Rd. 10 north of the township office. The application will receive further scrutiny at the township level, where it will also be the subject of a public meeting to allow the community to weigh in on the specifics of this phase of the project. KG