The city says it’s working hard to approve all building permits, and, cutting costs at the same time.
The interim Talent City Manager, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, says many people are hoping to re-build in Talent – but it’s going to take time and patience.
“We do the initial processing and then they go to other agencies, so like the building permits, we look at the planning issues and then the county will look at building issues and also do the inspections,” said McLeod-Skinner.
She says 60 building permits have been submitted to the city since the Almeda Fire.
Now, she says the city is backed up trying to process them.
“It’s even longer than a month right now [to get a permit processed], and that’s just because of under staffing. We’ve put together a kind of rapid rebuilding response team and we’re also working hard to hire new staff,” McLeod-Skinner said.
Despite the back up, she says around 15 permits have already been approved and construction is noticeably happening in the area.
She says the city is hoping to relieve its residents by cutting down permit costs.
Before the fire, she says permits for a new home cost around $25,000.
Now? The cost is about $7,000.
“It depends on the exact structure because some of the fees are based on the size and different issues. There’s some fees called ‘pass through fees’ where the state requires fees, the school district and the county also require fees.”
Brooks Jenkins has been in construction for the past 16 years or so.
“We’re getting close to turning in plans for one in Phoenix, and then I’ve got another one in Talent and then I’m in conversation with a few other people,” said Jenkins.
Despite the lag with building permits, Jenkins says people are caught up with other issues, as well.
“People are still trying to figure out what they want to do, do they want to rebuild where they were, do they want to make tweaks to their house, they’re still dealing with insurance stuff… it’s a slow process.”
He says he’s thinking of hiring employees to keep up with demand. “The question is how do I go about it? And whether I change my license to have employees. The other issue is finding people,” said Jenkins.
McLeod-Skinner says she hopes the community has the patience to keep holding out as they work to get people housing.
To learn more about the building permits, visit City of Talent’s website.
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology.
In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she’s not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.