Editor’s note: Fourth in a series reviewing 2012 through various departmental statistics and numbers.
Only one building permit was issued last year for the construction of a new single-family residence, but overall permit numbers were up last year when compared to 2011.
City Building Inspector Jeremy Crowe said permit numbers increased by 42 from two years ago to last year, or an increase of about 39 percent. A total of 150 building permits were issued in 2012.
A year ago, Crowe had stated that 2011 was not the best year in St. Clair as far as issuing building permits as 29 percent fewer were issued than in 2010.
In both 2010 and 2011, four permits were issued for new home construction, however.
The one new permit for a single-family dwelling last year was at 704 Gracie Way and was issued in April.
However, Crowe said despite only one new residence built, there was some good news last year on the permit front.
“The lack of residential construction was offset during 2012 by commercial remodels,” he said in specifically talking about projects done at Burger King, Casey’s General Store and McDonald’s.
One industrial remodel permit was issued in 2012 as Plaze Inc. revamped one of its local facilities to accommodate for a liquid storage warehouse and add a propellant tank farm.
Three commercial remodels also were performed in 2011 — the old post office at 515 E. Springfield Road which is now the St. Clair Scenic Regional Library, the old bus depot on North Commercial Avenue that now houses a coffee shop and art studio, and a remodel and addition to the old Belmont Homes facility which now is occupied by Certified Collision and Repair on the North Service Road.
In all, there were 10 permits issued last year for remodeling projects. There also were three permits issued for installation of mobile homes.
Crowe told The Missourian that there were slight increases last year in the number of permits issued for electric service upgrades, meter base replacements, excavation permits for sewer and water service line replacements, fence permits, decks, pools, siding, windows and water heaters.
Fifteen permits were issued last year for new roofs or roof repairs while 12 were handed out for new fences to be built. There were three permits for new garages.
Besides the usual permit process, Crowe will be busy this year implementing the city’s new rental occupancy permit program.
Late last year, the St. Clair Board of Aldermen passed a rental occupancy permit program ordinance establishing new rules and regulations regarding the inspection of rental properties within the city limits.
Crowe had been busy with the permit process for more than a year as the issue first was brought to the city’s planning and zoning board in the fall of 2011. After the planners spent about nine months getting the recommended language of the program in place, it then was volleyed back and forth between the planners and aldermen before finally being approved.
The ordinance focuses on minimum housing and life-safety standards for rental units within the city limits. It targets those units in an effort to upgrade the standards and follows several already established city ordinances.
Crowe and planning board members said the main idea behind revising the program is making sure residences are safe for each occupant while providing a way for the city to enforce that safety.
“In 2013, the building department will be moving toward providing safer housing for tenants who are planning on residing within city limits,” Crowe said. “By the end of 2013, the building department will be requiring occupancy permits for all rental properties prior to them being occupied. The building department should see an increase in occupancy permits being issued.”
The city’s building inspector expects to be busier in other areas this year, too.
“I am very optimistic about 2013 and would expect to see more growth in the areas of residential and commercial new construction.”