Home permits plummet in 2008

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

For the third year in a row, permits for single family home permits issued in New Prague took a drop.

Only six were issued in 2008, down from 23 in 2007 and 88 in 2006. The city hit a peak of 126 permits in 2005.

While the struggling economy is a factor in the downturn, New Prague Planning Director Ken Ondich said an added factor is the Parish Home situation.

Parish Marketing built a large number of houses in New Prague's southeast portion in 2006 and 2007 using straw buyers. As reported in last week's edition of The Times, 90 percent of the 126 homes involved in the fraud scheme have been sold in the past year.

While Ondich didn't say what expectations were for permits in 2009, he said It certainly won't hurt to have those (Parish homes) off the market.

Reports from area cities also indicated a sharp drop in housing starts last year.

The total value of the homes listed in the six building permits was approximately $837,400. The figure in 2007 was $4.4 million.

The city issued a total of 288 building permits for 2008 at a value of approximately $9.7 million. Ondich noted one of the positive and strongest areas for the city was the 32 commercial and industrial permits issued for 2008, close to the 38 issued in 2007.

The value of the 2008 permits is approximately $1.9 million, which is less than the $11 million for 2007. Ondich explained 2007 was so high because it included the new State Bank of New Prague, Coborn's and New Prague Commons strip mall.

For 2009, Ondich said the city hopes to be on par with last year for commercial and industrial. City staff is already working on permits for the proposed Walgreen's and a senior living apartment complex from Keystone Communities, LLC.

Another positive in 2008 was that the city issued 13 public permits, three more than 2007, at a value of $6.2 million. Among the structures for those permits were the new Emergency Services Center, Wastewater Treatment Plant and Queen of Peace Hospital, which did some work at its site.

Ondich said there were 237 miscellaneous permits issued during 2008, totalling $735,364. Those permits included fences, decks, roofs, additions and other work on existing homes.

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