City sees large jump in 2012 housing permits

In 2012 area builders had good news as New Prague saw single family housing permits increase by more than four times. Last year the city issued 21 permits, up from the five in 2011.

The value of constructed new single family home permits also increased by about $3.3 million over the last year. In 2011 the total value for homes was $841,562, while in 2012 it jumped to $4,193,028.

For New Prague it was a nearly even split for the number of houses built on its north and south side in 2012. The city, which is divided between Scott and Le Sueur counties along Main Street, had 11 houses built in the south (Le Sueur) and 10 houses in the north (Scott).

It’s the biggest increase in the last five years for the number of single family home permits. The last large increases were in 2009 when 13 permits were issued and 2007 with 23 permits.

The 21 permits are the highest since 23 were issued in 2007. Those numbers pale in comparison to the city’s building boom the five years before that. For example, there were 141 permits issued in 2005 and 110 in 2006, before the national economy went into recession and the housing bubble burst.

City Planning Director Ken Ondich said feedback from the city on the increase has been positive. New homes help the city in various ways, including utility fees. It also helps the city commercially. He noted the increased value is not as big an impact as it may seem, although it certainly helps.

As to whether this may be a trend, Ondich said, "We hope so, although we can’t predict the future." He hoped that the city will see an equal number of permits in the coming year. He recently told the New Prague City Council that the city has already issued one housing permit in January, which is a rarity. Ondich said that housing permits equal to this year with a few more commercial permits each year would help the city.

In 2012 the city issued 48 commercial and industrial permits, valued at $10,712,166, 422 miscellaneous permits valued at $1,313,242 and eight public permits valued at $97,775. Miscellaneous permits are those for decks, garages, residing, additions, alterations and other projects. The city issued a total of 500 permits valued at more than $16 million.

Among the commercial and industrial permits issued were those for Chart Inc., which is in the middle of an expansion project, Main Street Dental and Mayo Clinic Health System. In 2012, both the dental office and clinic did renovations to buildings along Scott County Road 37 and relocated to those sites.

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