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Fri, Jan. 24

Prescott City Council may hire firm to process housing permits
Willdan recommended at Prescott study session

Prescott City Hall (Courier file)

Prescott City Hall (Courier file)

With the growth in new housing starts ballooning in north Prescott, city council is considering whether to hire an outside engineering firm to help the city process permits.

During a Prescott City Council study session Jan. 14, Community Development Director Bryn Stotler recommended that the city hire the engineering firm Willdan because of its experience in building planning, review and inspection services.

Willdan has offices in Phoenix and Tucson, but Willdan’s Steven Bacs and Autumn Wollmann said during Tuesday’s study session that the company has agents spread out across Arizona who could assist Prescott at a moment’s notice.

Stotler said the city will be installing a computer software program from a company called Bluebeam to speed up the process for processing permit applications, as well as for intake and issuance of permits. City staffers and Willdan would have access to the software.

“We will be training for that,” Stotler added.

If Willdan receives approval from council, Willdan’s employees who are assigned to Prescott would use the new software for planning reviews, among other tasks.

City Manager Michael Lamar said that if Prescott had Willdan in the fold, city staffers could focus on handling more complicated permits, rather than those for model homebuilding in large subdivisions.

Willdan, established in the 1960s, conducts inspections and issues permits across Arizona and Colorado, and it has recently expanded its business into New Mexico and Nevada.

Council seemed to appreciate that Bacs said he wants to eventually open a Willdan satellite office in Prescott. Bacs, who plans to retire in Prescott, and Wollmann said they already have three staffers in the general area here.

Lamar said developers would ultimately pay for Willdan’s services.

“We have reached a point of critical mass with supply and demand [for housing permits],” Lamar added.

In other business, the council:

• Approved a Series 12 Restaurant Liquor License for Sal’s Pizza at 126 S. Montezuma St. on Whiskey Row, which will eventually replace the popular Devil’s Pantry. Applicant Sal Anzelmo had been a restauranteur at Rosa’s Pizzeria, 330 W. Gurley St., for several years before venturing out on his own.

• Delayed possible approval for the first amendment to a professional services agreement with Strength Training Incorporated Occupational Health to conduct comprehensive wellness/fitness testing for an additional 33 Prescott firefighters. Thirty firefighters had already received the training.

• Approved the City of Prescott’s 2020 Strategic Plan in a 6-1 vote, with Council member Cathey Rusing dissenting over some vague verbiage in the document.

• Approved a map of dedication for right-of-way and a public utility easement from Chamberlain Development Prescott LLC and Trinity Christian School Inc. for Warrior Way, a short new road planned off of Willow Creek Road, in a 6-1 vote. Since the road will serve schoolchildren at Trinity Christian, Council member Phil Goode dissented because of the road’s close proximity to the flight path at nearby Prescott Regional Airport.

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