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Building permits up from last year

Published 11:01am Thursday, September 19, 2013

The number of city building permits issued is up, though many are still for remodeling, additions or garages rather than new buildings.

Permits, and the amount of money they brought in, were up in August compared to a year ago. Thirty-four permits were issued compared to 24 permits in August 2012.

The value in permits for that month jumped from $707,000 last year to $1.3 million this year, which is nearly $600,000 more.

So far this year, a total of 200 permits were issued valued at $10.8 million.

The total for all of 2012 was 240 and $16 million.

Permits for larger commercial projects like the 105-unit apartment complex proposed on land behind the Fergus Falls Target and a proposed Hampton Inn on the west side of town could still come in during this final quarter and push the numbers well beyond last year’s marks.

“I think we’ll at least be at or way ahead of last year depending on these two big projects,” said Guy Taylor, Fergus Falls building manager.

Overall, residential construction is pretty flat, according to Taylor. Remodeling and maintenance permits are issued more than new building permits. People still might be uncertain if it’s the best time to build, Taylor said.

“I think it’s still… their uncertainty in the market,” he said.

Still, the new housing market isn’t nonexistent. Permits came through in August for a $560,000 single-family home in the 1500 block of Opperman Bay Court and for a $100,000 single-family home in the 1200 block of Oakwood View.

“They’re not the norm right now,” Taylor said, of new home building. “People are more willing to spend the money right now on remodeling.”

On the commercial side, a $3.7 million permit came through at the end of July for another phase of the interior remodeling at the Otter Tail County Courthouse. College Way Auto Sales received a permit for a new building in July. It sold its current location and is moving the whole operation under one roof, according to Taylor.

A permit went through for demolition of the building located at 601 Frontier Drive, which was most recently operated as Lakes Country Buffet. The new business will construct a building to house a women’s clothing store, according to Taylor. Preliminary plans showed a 5,200 square-feet building, he said.

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