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Fort Lupton Planning Director Todd Hodges is seeing more business coming through his doors.
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“Residential growth is exploding,” he told Fort Lupton’s city council during a workshop meeting Aug. 30. “In May of 2022, we had issued 93 permits. Now, it’s 199. Revenue is up.”
In 2020, the city issued 107 building permits.
Hodges said present staffing levels won’t be able to keep up with anticipated growth.
“We’ve seen a major increase in intake of applications, yet we’ve seen a decrease in the number of employees. We don’t want to miss out on opportunities,” he told council. “We’ve seen some that will steal employees. We’ve seen that in the private sector as well as the public sector. We have a new crop of planners coming in after graduation.”
That drives a lot of the need to hire an extra, full-time planner, he said, and he’d like to fill that position by the end of the year. The cost is about $70,000 per year.
“Can you fill the position from the outside?” asked Fort Lupton Mayor Zo Stieber Hubbard.
“When we can find people, they want more money,” Hodges said. “Funding someone for that planning position? It’s tough?”
“If the economy tanks, the people we just brought on would be wary,” Stieber Hubbard cautioned.
Councilwoman Valerie Blackston was cautious, too.
“It feels like we should look at something temporary,” she said. “What if the economy does tank?”
“If we give them a temporary job, they are going to look somewhere else,” Councilman David Crespin said. “We don’t want to give them the training and then have them leave. A full-time job is better.”
“If things fizzle, then there would be serious reconsiderations,” Stieber Hubbard said.
In 2010, Fort Lupton’s planning department had just two members. From 2010 to 2020, Hodges said the department focused on growth, an effort that is paying off. Hodges said he’s seen an increase in referrals to Fort Lupton from other cities and from Weld County.
"Oil and gas are a major part of our growth, and those are on the move,” Hodges said. “We see the impact of that throughout the city. What we do impacts the police department, public works. It does impact everything. We are seeing more technological growth. We need more people, and they need places to live, which our housing is providing.”
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