Hardy Plumbing
February 23, 2011

Building Permits On The Increase

There was reason for economic optimism in Southampton Town Hall last Friday, as Chief Building Inspector Michael Benincasa reported a modest up tick in building permits for 2010.

Permit count and income data for the department for 2010 is "not bad for bad times," Benincasa opined. "It shows we're on our way back, it shows the economy is coming back." At almost $2.7 million, total revenue for the building division exceeded total divisional expenses by $868,633.

Overall last year new permits were up 17.9 percent over 2009. The town issued 34 more permits for new houses, with a total increase of over 35 percent. Permits for other work at homes, like decks, garages and renovations showed modest increases on the order of about nine percent, 17 percent and almost 15 percent respectively.

Change of use permits showed the greatest surge, up 133.33 percent over 2009. Permits for commercial buildings were up 112 percent, with permits for additions to commercial structures up 33 percent, and permits for renovation to existing commercial buildings up 25 percent. Some 106 percent more permits for condos were issued in 2010 than the prior year.

While increases in the number of commercial permits outpaced those for private residences, increases in amenities like in ground swimming pools and tennis courts could be interpreted as evidence that high-end homeowners felt secure moving forward with pricey improvements.

Building permits alone accounted for over $1 million in revenue for the division, with renewals bringing in over $735,000.

Percentage wise, the division saw the greatest income surge in the area of search requests. Officials got almost 160 percent more revenue for undertaking property history searches in 2010 than in 2009.

Concluding his report, Benincasa said he hadn't completed a report for the first quarter of this year yet, but "things are looking good." Referencing increases in mortgage tax and Community Preservation Fund revenue, Councilman Jim Malone agreed it appears as if the economy is steadily improving.


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