Total housing starts in the Town of Pelham for January-March 2009 have declined 92% from the level recorded during the same period last year. In the first quarter of 2008, 10 single-detached and 14 townhouse building permits were issued compared to a total of 2 building permits issued from January to March 2009.
These statistics create very disturbing implications for the revenue forecasts outlined in the Town of Pelham’s draft Development Charges Background Study currently under review. The study released in March 2009 (with research completed during 2008) projected that a total of 100 building permits would be issued during 2008 – the actual total was 56. The report further projects that this optimistic prediction will continue for 2009 and each and every year until 2013 when the total will again increase to an average of 125 units between 2013 through to 2028.
Based on this growth forecast the study proposes that approximately $27 million of the $43 million that is estimated to be required to be spent on the Town’s “Development-Related Capital Program” during the next 10 years will come from development charges to be paid by new home buyers. This begs the question-what happens if we can’t attract the required level of growth to our community? It just may be the time to formalize a sustainable economic growth plan and Town promotion strategy.
We are in the midst of a critical transitional era that will have significant long term impact on the future prosperity of the Town of Pelham. On May 11th the Town will be holding an Open House/Information Session to address any public concerns regarding the Development Charge By-law. This by-law is merely the tip of our economic development iceberg.