No new building permits issued

Published 6:00 am Monday, January 15, 2007

Contrary to popular perception, building permits can be exciting.

The permit from the city giving the go-ahead to construct or renovate a building can reflect a boost to the city’s economy.

In December, the city issued 23 permits, a number consistent with previous months.

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But unlike most months in 2006, no permits were issued to build brand-new buildings.

“On this particular go-around, no buildings are coming up out of the ground from scratch,” City Building Official Paul Dawes said.

“It’s a staggered thing.”

Earlier months, like May, September and October, yielded a few permits for buildings “from scratch.”

From those came businesses like Pizza Hut and Smoothie King, as well as residences.

But renovations can mean money, too, Dawes said.

“We do a ton of remodeling work around here,’ he said.

“And there’s very limited real estate left (in the city limits) where new construction can be done. That’s why there’s not that many permits issued (for new buildings).”

Renovation keeps hardware stores and related businesses up and running, he said. So remodeling permits, as well as new building permits, mean construction and a boost to the economy.

As far as the city government’s graduated cost for the permits, Dawes said, “The fees are the same either way.”

New construction often means economic growth, Jeff Rowell of the Economic Development Authority said.

“If we’re seeing new buildings, or if they’re expanding, we’re seeing new businesses and we’re seeing new jobs,” Rowell said.

Houses as well as businesses can boost the economy, he said.

“Anything that adds wealth to the community is economic development,” he said.

“It doesn’t have to be industry. New construction’s always good, and there’s so many off-takes. When you see a building go up, it’s always a good sign.”