October 10, 2012

Building boom underway

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

These are unprecedented times in Watford City and the level of infrastructure expansion and development only supports that notion.
According to Peni Peterson with the city of Watford City, from January to September of 2011, Watford City issued 54 building permits for projects that totalled over $26.5 million.
“From January to September of 2012, the city issued 247 permits for projects valuing over $86.8 million,” Peterson states.
What’s more is that the permit fees collected in 2011 totalled $34,084.46 while the amount collected from January to September of 2012 was $287, 207.62, just over $250,000 more than what was collected last year.
“Since July, there has been $26 million worth of development in the city of Watford City. And in the last two months, another $20 to $30 million worth of permit work has begun,” states Steve Williams, Watford City building inspector.
According to Peterson, one reason for the recent increase is that people who have been planning a development for some time are finally getting to the building stage of their plan.
“A lot goes into a development before ground is broken,” states Peterson. “People have to go through zoning and planning. And if they are planning a commercial development, there is an additional step of submitting a site plan for approval.”
Additionally, Williams states that the inspections for a commercial development far outweigh those for residential buildings.
“Residential homes are usually pretty straightforward. I might have to go out four or five times throughout the building stages to make sure everything is up to the city’s code standards. But with a commercial development, I might have to go out four or five times to inspect the foundation, then four or five times to inspect the next stage, and so on.”
Right now, according to Williams, there is a huge amount of commercial building occurring within the Watford City city limits, which includes the Roosevelt Inn remodeling project, the Kum & Go remodeling project, the Tesoro plant development, the Cenex station development on the bypass, and the building of two hotels slated for development on the bypass.
So much commercial development is occurring right now on the Highway 23 bypass that Peterson states it will become somewhat of a commercial district in Watford City.
Williams also views the apartment developments as more of a commercial property due to the fact that he is required to make more inspections than with a single family residence. Also, a lot of the apartment buildings are backed by local businesses for the purpose of housing employees.
According to Williams and Peterson, the current apartment developments include the LSS Prairie Heights development, the Power Fuels complexes located on the west side of town and the Pheasant Ridge development located north of the hospital.
Other major developments in Watford City include new residential construction, which does not outnumber commercial development, according to Williams, but does offer fair competition.
“Pheasant Ridge already has eight family homes started, with many more planned. Additionally, there are five houses being built on 7th Avenue near the Baptist church, as well as the homes by the Watford City golf course, the Jordahl development of duplexes and patio homes, and many more,” states Williams.
All in all, the issuing of 247 permits has required Williams to make roughly 370 inspections this year. And again, if what Peterson states is true, this just reflects those who have completed the planning phase and are on to building.
According to both Peterson and Williams, more plans are on the horizon, meaning more permits for the city of Watford City and more inspections for Williams in the coming days.