Area building activity takes a tumble | PostIndependent.com
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Area building activity takes a tumble

Kara Williams
Special to the Post Independent

Building permit activity last year decreased 16 percent countywide compared with 2002.

Total building permit valuations in unincorporated Garfield County and the six county municipalities fell from $139 million in 2002 to $117 million in 2003.

Only Rifle saw a significant increase in total valuations, from $21.2 million in 2002 to $23.5 million in 2003.



Glenwood Springs’ total valuations held steady, increasing slightly from $30.6 million in 2002 to $30.8 million in 2003.

The number of building permits issued countywide fell from 1,043 in 2002 to 955 in 2003. Only Silt and Parachute saw increases in the total number of permits issued.



These are the numbers of permits issued in 2003 compared with 2002:

– Carbondale: 106 building permits in 2003, down from 118 in 2002.

– Glenwood Springs: 71 building permits in 2003, down from 126 in 2002.

– New Castle: 88 building permits in 2003, down from 130 in 2002.

– Silt: 192 building permits in 2003, up from 160 in 2002.

– Rifle: 104 building permits in 2003, down from 111 in 2002.

– Parachute: 29 building permits in 2003, up from 21 in 2002.

– Unincorporated Garfield County: 364 building permits issued in 2003, down from 377 in 2002.

Total building permit figures include new commercial construction and new single- and multi-family dwellings, manufactured homes and remodels. They also include demolition permits, as well as building permits for smaller projects, such as decks, fences, garages, sheds and sprinkler systems.

The most dramatic decrease in building activity occurred in New Castle, where total building permit valuations fell by 50 percent, from $12.8 million in 2002 to $6.4 million in 2003.

“It could be a couple of things,” said New Castle building official Michael Watts. “There were between 10 and 15 building permits that were pulled in 2002, but really built in 2003.”

He added, “In 2001 and 2002, houses didn’t last on the market more than 30 days. Now some stuff has been on the market for a year and a half.”

The faltering economy is likely the other factor, he said.

In particular, building permit activity for new single-family construction, both in numbers of permits issued and total valuations, also decreased countywide in 2003, compared to 2002. Only in Carbondale did single-family valuations increase.

These are the numbers for single-family home permits and their total valuation, which is based on the total cost of the construction project.

– Carbondale: 22 single-family permits for a total valuation of $9.2 million in 2003, compared to 26 permits totaling $8.8 million in 2002.

– Glenwood Springs: 26 single-family permits for a total valuation of $4.1 million in 2003, down from 29 permits totaling $6.7 million in 2002.

– New Castle: 46 single-family permits for a total valuation of $5.9 million in 2003, down from 89 permits totaling $9.8 million in 2002.

– Silt: 16 single-family permits for a total valuation of $2.5 million in 2003, down from 24 permits totaling $4.2 million in 2002.

– Rifle: 70 single-family permits for a total valuation of $9.7 million in 2003, down from 79 permits totaling $10.8 million in 2002.

– Parachute: 10 permits for a total valuation of $922,000, down from 13 permits totaling $1.5 million in 2002.

– Unincorporated Garfield County: 168 single-family permits for a total valuation of $27.7 million in 2003, down from 210 permits totaling $37.6 million in 2002.

In Silt, new single-family construction valuations dropped by 40 percent.

“2003 was just a hard year for us,” said Silt assistant planner Melody Harrison. “It slowed down quite a bit.”

Nationwide, building permit figures for single-family dwelling construction in 2003 increased by 2.8 percent over 2002, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau released Wednesday. All residential construction building permit activity increased 6.3 percent.

At least one municipality has high hopes for mirroring the nationwide trend this year.

Silt has issued five permits in the first three weeks of 2004, including permits for two new single-family homes. The town is also reviewing plans for a new grocery store, and anticipates receiving plans for another new commercial business soon.

Said planner Harrison, “We expect a booming business this year.”


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