Steamboat Springs The dollar value of permitted construction projects that came through the Routt County Regional Building Department in the first six months of 2009 is just 20 percent of what it was on the same date in 2008. However, the figures for the month of June offered a glimmer of hope.
Valuation thus far in 2009 is $43.53 million, compared to $208 million through June 2008.
"You have to remember that last year was our busiest year ever," Building Department Official Carl Dunham said. "So you're taking the worst year in a long time and comparing it to a record."
The valuation that was permitted by his department in May 2008 totaled $139 million, Dunham said. That number was influenced heavily by the permit for vertical construction at the One Steamboat Place condominium project comprising nearly 500,000 square feet at the base of the ski area.
This year's numbers are disappointing, Dunham said, but not too far out of line with historical trends.
"We're in an average year - maybe a little below average," Dunham said.
June saw activity that was closer to June 2008 than the preceding five months of 2009. Countywide, there were 29 permits issued in June compared with 31 for the same month last year.
In Steamboat, those permits included two single-family homes with a combined value of $1.08 million, two duplexes totaling $825,000, and two commercial buildings with a combined value of $913,000. Valuations for building permit purposes do no reflect the full retail value of the building.
Dunham took more encouragement from the number of requests for plan reviews in June. Year-to-date numbers look bleak compared to June 2008, he said.
"In an average year, we would have done 319 plan reviews," he said. "This year, we've done 161. I think that's a telltale. They could be a deck or a high rise, but that's the number of jobs."
After April produced just 29 requests for plan reviews compared with the average of 62 - and May followed up with 31 requests versus the typical 82 - June bounced back with 67 plan reviews. The average number of plan reviews for June is 80.
"At least we're getting some business," Dunham said.
His office recently laid off a plan examiner because of a lack of work.
Dunham said the first-half valuation of $25.3 million in the city of Steamboat Springs was the lowest since 2002 or 2003, and Routt County's figure of $18.2 million is lower than any year since 2000. The Routt County numbers are skewed modestly by the fact Hayden has established its own building department this year and its figures are not included in those compiled by Dunham's staff.
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