What’s the difference between ignorance and apathy? I don’t know and I don’t care. *Ba-dum tssh*
So, in that context, would it be okay to talk about the difference between seasonality, cyclicality, and trends for a minute? Thanks. Lately it seems like a lot of people I’ve run into are asking, “Are you still busy?” The question is innocent enough but often the sub-text deeper. Now that snow has finally fallen, folks want to know how active the market will be this winter, a typically slow season for real estate sales. But, we’re in an up cycle now, so the usual slow-down probably won’t be as sharp as in recent years. In an up cycle you can sell your house in the winter while in a down cycle it can be hard to sell even in the summer.
Assuming that interest rates don’t make any big moves, the local real estate market looks good and is supported by the third leg of time series components – a trend. Who ever thought the North Fork would be trendy? Well, it is, at least in a demographic sense. As baby boomers age, front-range and resort town home prices continue to rise at the same time traffic slows and economic mobility intensifies, this area will experience growth. Providing for this growth while maintaining the quality of life we all enjoy will be the trick. With an eye towards the future, Delta County government has started the process of updating the now 20-year-old master plan to provide a framework for redrafting the county land use code. This is a big deal.
I spoke with county administrator Robbie LeValley to find out what we should expect. With funding help from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), the county has hired the consulting firm RPI out of Durango to direct the project and are relying heavily on the firm’s experience. The first step of gathering public input will be achieved through a combination of public meetings, electronic surveys and community out-reach where officials will meet with various groups around the county on something of a listening tour. Hopefully by the end of next summer they will have completed the information gathering and will begin work to formulate the new master plan. From there, the planning commission will go to work on redrafting the land use code which includes residential subdivision regulations and commercial development, currently guided by the admittedly cumbersome specific development regulations. It’s important to note that, according to LeValley, one of the overarching goals of the rewrite is to make Delta County more “business friendly.” Historically it has seemed that the county’s philosophy has been that less regulation equals a more friendly business environment. However, under the existing system it may take a year from the time of application before a business will know whether or not they can do what they’ve applied for. And then, even if approved by the county commissioners, the business may still face uncertainty if confronted with strong opposition from their neighbors – think chicken houses. Lead by commissioner Doug Atchley, the new regulations will aim to shorten the approval time and reduce uncertainty, thereby creating a framework under which entrepreneurs evaluating a move here will know up-front whether or not their plans are likely to fly. To accomplish this we can expect to hear the word ‘zoning’ pop up. (Gasp!) It’s been said that in Delta County a person is safer to use the F-word in a public hearing than the Z-word.
Well, as a Nobel Prize winning poet-laureate once said, “The times they are a changin.”