CARBONDALE — As of late September, building permits issued by the town were on their way to surpassing the number of permits issued in all of 2012, according to the town’s building department, which officials see as a tangible sign that the construction industry is on the rebound.
“It’s not the boom days,” said Town Manager Jay Harrington, “but it’s certainly looking up from where we were a couple of years ago.”
According to data from building and planning department assistant Teka Israel, the departments had issued a total of 174 permits for all types of projects as of this week, compared to a total of 186 permits issued in all of 2012.
And, Israel reported, the number of permits recorded by Nov. 12 had grown by 29 since a report as of Sept. 24, an indication that builders and developers have continued to be active in town through the last couple of months.
According to the town’s data, in 2008, at the end of which the economy took a dive, Carbondale processed a total of 265 permits. That year, Israel reported, local developers put up 75 single family homes, “some of which might be four-plexes.”
The next year, 2009, followed the financial implosion of the housing market and a resulting economic crash worldwide. That year, Carbondale processed only 160 permits, and local builders put up only one single family home.
The statistics have improved ever since.
Last year, according to Israel’s figures, the town handed out seven solar building permits, 37 plumbing permits, 36 mechanical permits and 106 building permits to come up with the total of 186.
This year, the numbers show 12 solar permits, 26 plumbing permits, 30 mechanical permits, and 106 building permits.
In the types of projects undertaken last year and this, it appears the numbers may still be lagging, meaning the majority of permits issued have been for remodeling projects rather than large-scale construction.
According to Israel’s data, builders last year put up nine single family homes and two commercial buildings.
This year’s total so far includes only three single-family homes, and two commercial buildings, including the planned new clinic for the Roaring Fork Family Physicians on Highway 133. But in a note Israel said another commercial building is expected to apply for permits soon.
Financially, however, the town’s collection of fees from builders has slumped since 2010, according to documents on the town’s website (carbondalegov.org).
Budget documents from past years show that the town collected more than $38,000 in building fees in 2010, just about exactly $31,000 in 2011, and has been projected to collect about the same amount or slightly more in the past two years — $32,500 in 2012 and $31,000 this year.
“It just depends on what projects we get in, the size of them,” noted town building official John Plano, explaining that the number of permits may not reflect the value of the project. Smaller projects, remodels or rehabilitation of existing structures bring in lower fees, he said.
In general, though, he feels the town’s construction business is on the rise.
“It’s been picking up continuously,” said Plano, who has been at his job for five years, adding that he is aware of additional large projects, including a new home and “a really large remodel at River Valley Ranch” that are due to be submitted to his department soon.