TWIN FALLS — Idaho has seen tremendous growth over recent years and the City of Twin Falls has been no exception.
Projects continue to be planned and the development of subdivisions, houses, and commercial buildings continue to draw more people to the area.
“We are retailer service, medical services, a college, we’re a hub for all of those services, and we have a lot of people coming in,” said Joshua Palmer, the spokesperson for the City of Twin Falls.
In 2019, the city signed 377 single-family unit building permits. In 2020, they signed 611. The number of permits for commercial buildings increased from 71 in 2019 to 81 in 2020. Although development has had positive effects, it has also been met with challenges along the way.
“We realized in 2020 about a 30% increase, possibly higher in some areas in terms of home prices," said Palmer. "That’s for people who are on a fixed income or who are struggling already. That can be challenging and can price them out of a home. So we’re trying to do our part to keep that tax rate low.”
To try and help solve some of the issues, the city approved the lowest tax rate for this coming year. Still, production has not slowed down. The city is attempting to utilize the remaining space it has left.
“We’re seeing more condensed housing and more condensed commercial space as well, and sometimes that means building up,” said Palmer.
Despite the effort to build up rather than out, due to the limited spacing some projects have already had to be located in the Twin Falls County area.
“We have pressure for development, for residential, those kinds of things creeping out into the county as the cities grow, cities start looking at annexing more space," said Twin Falls County Commissioner, Don Hall. "At the same time, we have our rural residents and even city residents that say 'Hey, we like our open spaces, we like our rural aspects so protect ag.' So, it’s really kind of a pressure cooker sometimes.”
This year, the county has approved 315 building permits, as opposed to 291 in 2020 and 243 in 2019. The majority of those permits are for residential living, yet there is potential for other types of projects to be constructed within county limits.
“You’re going to see more residential especially," said Hall. "I think you’ll probably see some corridors for commercial and maybe even industry creeping out to those areas of impact.”
As people continue to move to Twin Falls and the development of all sorts of projects carries on, county officials are encouraging feedback from all residents. Especially since many people value the agricultural and rural landscape that is part of the identity of Twin Falls County.
“We want to listen. We want to hear from our citizens," said Hall. "We need guidance, that’s very very important to all elected officials because you put us in places but we need your guidance.”