Danedri Thompson
[email protected]
Building isn’t booming in Spring Hill, but it’s outpacing neighboring communities, Spring Hill City Planner Jim Hendershot told city council members during a meeting Dec. 9.
Hendershot partially credited a development incentive program that Spring Hill City Council members agreed to extend for another year. Last June council members approved the program, which allows developers to delay sewer and water development fees to the city until new homes are ready for sale. Another incentive in the program offers a third building permit free.
The city of Spring Hill has issued 29 building permits in 2010. Developers have also collected four free building permits.
Council members needed to stimulate residential and/or commercial growth to offset  the potential need for another dramatic water and wastewater rate increase next year.
To date, the program has paid off.
Hendershot showed council members a slide of the growth changes in neighboring communities. On a percentage basis, Spring Hill’s growth nearly tops the list when compared to others.
According to Kansas City Home Builder’s Association Building News, Spring Hill’s residential building permit issuance increased 100 percent when compared to the first three quarters of last year. The city issued 12 permits between January 2009 and October 2009. During the same period in 2010, the city issued 24 permits.
Only Prairie Village showed higher growth based on
percentages. During the first three quarters of 2009, the city issued 2 building permits, compared with six in the first three quarters of 2010 – a 200 percent increase.
Lenexa also ranked near the top of the KCHBA Building Business News’ list.
Lenexa issued 168 new building permits compared with 99 permits in the first three quarters of 2009 for a 69 percent increase.
Three communities the KCHBA Building Business News surveyed showed negative growth. Miami County issued one less residential building permit in the first three quarters of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009 for a 5 percent decrease. Gardner issued 63 residential permits compared to 68 the year before for a 7 percent decrease, and Paola saw a 50 percent decrease issuing only four residential building permits in the first three quarters of 2010 compared with eight in 2009.
When the property values of all permits issued in a year are compared, Hendershot said there’s still room for improvement. In 2006, the city issued 176 permits – that includes new residential, new commercial and permits for improvements like signs, sheds and fences. The value of the new property added $17.2 million in value to the city of Spring Hill. From January 2010 to date the city issued 150 permits and added $5.5 million in value.
City council members extended the building incentive program, which was set to expire Dec. 31, 2009. The program will now expire Dec. 31, 2011.
In other business, the council:
• Hired former Sgt. Richard Mann as the interim-chief of Police. Mann replaces former Chief Mitch Hofmann, who now works for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office. Mann will receive a  $600 monthly stipend for his new responsibilities.
• Hired a new receptionist for the city – Natalie Lasenby. City clerk Anna Marie-Keena, said the city had 79 applicants for the position. Lasanby will earn $14.41 per hour.
• Hired Brad Smith as a new senior accountant for the city. Smith was selected from 100 applicants. He will earn $43,000 per year.
• Heard a presentation on Spring Hill routes in the Johnson County Transit System.