Archive for January 7th, 2008

by jhwygirl

Bob Jaffee’s listserv made mention the other day of the city council’s desire to possibly have a presentation put together that would help them better understand the economics of subdivision and development in Missoula.

How much money are these guys really making? When they tell us a particular variance is needed to make the project pencil we really don’t know when they are BSing us. It would be nice to organize a meeting with some builders and developers and planners to help give us some perspective.

Now, aside from wondering why or how much the profit of a developer should factor into any particular decision made by the city council or the planning board or the Board of Adjustment, etc., I got stuck on the “meeting with some builders and developers and planners” part.

Aren’t these the guys whining? (I’m assuming that the “planners” he speaks of are from the private sector.)

If council wants to get a full picture of the economics of development here in Missoula, perhaps looking at all those involved and contributing to the development process from the beginning might get them a better more complete picture. First there’s the realtor who sold the land to the buyer. Then there’s those planners, developers, surveyors and buildings. Then there’s the realtor that sells the finished product, and then there’s the mortgage lender.

In fact, the mortgage lender I spoke with a few weeks ago had quite an insight into the development and subdivision activity in Missoula – after all, they not only finance the purchase of the land, they finance the purchase of the houses that were built on the land that they financed.

OR, another option might be to sit down with HomeWORD or someone from the Housing Authority. They buy land at market rates, they hire planners, surveyors, builders, and then they sell the finished product. Obviously, they utilize some subsidized funding for the sale – but talking to those agencies that buy the land, pay the bill, and then sell might get City Council a bigger, better picture of development and subdivision in Missoula.

I’m a cynic, I know, but wouldn’t talking to all of those people also get a more honest picture then just getting the picture from developers, planners and builders who are, rightfully, trying to make as much money as possible?

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