Building activity down in Garfield County towns |

Building activity down in Garfield County towns

John Colson
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Just as they have for Garfield County, the number of building permits issued so far this year by the towns around the county generally have been relatively low when compared to permits issued in 2008.

County building official Andy Schwaller said this week the current tally of building permits issued for 2009, for both residential and commercial projects, stands at 133 as of the end of June, as compared to 200 permits issued by the same time in 2008 and 254 in 2007, which Schwaller described as “kind of the peak” in terms of recent building activity in the county.

“It’s quite the decrease,” Schwaller said of the 2009 numbers. “More people are doing remodels, finishing up their basements, that kind of thing” than building new homes.

Also lower this year is the valuation of the permits issued.

Schwaller said the values assigned to permits as of June 2009 was $15.7 million, compared to a valuation of $34.8 million a year ago.

In neighboring Eagle County, according to the building department, by the middle of 2008 the county had issued 309 permits, valued at $87 million, compared to 200 permits so far this year, valued at $52.5 million.

For all of 2008, Eagle County processed 742 permits valued at $162 million, a level that officials say is not likely to be matched this year.

The same diminishing trend can be seen in most of the towns in Garfield County.

For example, in Carbondale, according to building permit technician Lynn Young, 2008 saw 98 permits issued by this time of the year, valued at $19.5 million, where so far in 2009 the number stands at 43 permits valued at $1.5 million.

For all of 2008, Young reported, the town issued 144 permits valued at nearly $25 million.

In Glenwood Springs, the numbers showed a less precipitous drop-off this year.

The city has issued 170 permits for 2009 so far, valued at $27.3 million, versus 180 permits valued at $19.3 million at roughly the same time in 2008. The 2009 numbers, however, reflect permits for construction of two hotels near the Glenwood Meadows shopping center, valued at $17 million.

For all of 2008, according to city records, the building department issued 316 permits, valued at $25 million.

The towns farther west from Glenwood, however, have seen the greatest declines in building activity.

At New Castle, building permit technician Donna Stewart reported that there have been 29 permits issued, valued at $178,000, so far this year. She pointed out that seven of those permits were for town projects, which were not assigned a dollar value.

In 2008, she reported, the town issued 77 permits by mid-year, valued at $8.7 million, and a total of 102 permits for the entire year, valued at $10.6 million.

Silt’s building activity did not decline numerically as much as some, proportionately, as the town has issued 85 permits so far in 2009 compared to 93 permits in 2008 for the same period, according to town administrator Betsy Suerth. But the value of those permits has fallen from $3.1 million in the first half of 2008, including permits for eight residences, to $510,000 so far in 2009.

The total number of permits issued by Silt in 2008 was 165, including 12 single-family homes, all of which was valued at $3.7 million.

Of Rifle’s total 229 permits issued in 2008, 11 were for single-family homes, and five were for multifamily structures, yielding a total value of $46.7 million.

In 2009, the city has issued 95 permits so far, close to equaling the 102 permits issued by mid-year in 2008, but the value dropped from $28.5 million in 2008 to $3.1 million this year, according to information on the city’s website.

Parachute, which issued 11 permits in 2008 valued at $6.8 million, has handed out eight permits so far in 2009, but the values have dropped to $370,800.

According to building officer Laura Diaz, the 2008 numbers included a new hotel, a couple of new gas stations and a Town Hall remodel, where the 2009 permits went for a couple of single-family homes, a couple of reroofing projects, a house remodel and a new gazebo for one of the hotels.

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