Building permits up in 2000
The number of building permits issued in 2000 increased over past years, as predicted by city officials who were faced with several growth-related issues last year.
City inspector Jim Tarwater said 39 single family residence and 10 duplex permits were issued last year. Those numbers were up from 32 single family residence permits and no duplex permits in 1999, and 25 single family permits, 13 duplex permits and 8 multiple family permits in 1998.
"It has been a busy year," Tarwater said.
City officials expected to issue more single family permits last year, based on the number of permits issued the first part of the year. However, Tarwater said two months went by nearly permit free.
"Single family permits dropped off for a couple of months," Tarwater said. "It wasn't as many as we anticipated."
Thirty-nine permits is still the highest in years. Tarwater doesn't know if it's a record, but he knows the value of the construction is the most ever. The worth of the single family and duplex construction is $5.5 million, and Tarwater said that figure does not include the cost of property. When the value of commercial and light industrial construction and commercial and residential renovations is added, he said that number jumps to $9.2 million.
"The value of construction has surpassed anything else we have had," Tarwater said.
Tarwater said most of the single family permits in 2000 were issued in FireTree Estates and Brittany Ridge. FireTree Estates was the most active subdivision this year, with commercial and residential starts. He also said five homes are started in the Brittany Ridge subdivision. He estimates that more than half of the homes have been completed and most of those are occupied.
Tarwater said he doesn't have any building permit predictions for 2001. He expects the city's active subdivisions to continue to develop. FireTree is expected to open a new residential phase after the infrastructure is completed. Tarwater said the sewer and water is already done in the new phase and streets and electricity are waiting on the weather. A new phase of the Heritage addition will also be ready for permits after the infrastructure is in place.
"If the weather breaks, you will probably see more activity out there," Tarwater said of the Heritage addition.
City Administrator Larry Paine doesn't expect a moratorium placed on future subdivision developments to have much influence on building trends in Baldwin. The moratorium is in place until a new wastewater treatment plant with an increased capacity is in place. Plans for the treatment plant are underway, with completion anticipated by late 2002.
Until then, there are more than 200 approved lots in current subdivisions to meet housing demands, Tarwater said.
"We have enough lots that can be built on that were approved before the moratorium was placed on the sewer system," Tarwater said. "We can keep busy for the next two years."
Tarwater and Paine both said that what Baldwin has to offer is still attractive to home buyers.
"All three subdivisions are attractive," Tarwater said.
"A small town is an appealing environment," Paine said. "I think Baldwin fits that category better than most because of Baker University's influence on the overall quality of life. We have something better to offer."