The number of building and septic permits issued for new development in Trinity County has been on the rise since 2016 with much of the increase attributed to the county’s commercial cannabis cultivation licensing program initiated at that time to bring previously unregulated grows into compliance with county ordinances.

Presenting the numbers during an informal report to the county Board of Supervisors on Jan. 7, Director of Building and Planning Kim Hunter said in 2014, the county issued 32 septic permits. The number began to grow in 2016, and by 2019 had risen to 128 septic permits.

Building permits for new construction have also seen a dramatic increase, hitting a record of 791 in 2019, which was up from just 597 two years earlier in 2017.

“I’m bringing these numbers to illustrate several factors. The numbers started going up in 2016. Cannabis impacts many departments, resulting in positive changes, but also a lot of extra work on both septic and building permits. We have a very good staff working very hard to keep up with this volume,” she said.

Sup. John Fenley asked if her departments are able to pay staff “with what we collect from the cost of permits,” and her response was an emphatic “no.” He also questioned how many building permit applications remain incomplete and still in process or failed. She said she will work on those numbers for a future report, “but we have many building permits sitting on the shelf waiting to be picked up.”

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