August 26, 2014

City sees building permits top $97 million in eight months

By Stephanie Allums
Farmer Staff Writer

The 2014 value of building permits in Watford City has skyrocketed compared to the last three years.
More than $97 million worth of building permits have been issued this year, which is more than $30 million more than building permit values in 2013. And there are still four months left in the year to add more.
“We are on track to have way more permits this year than in the past,” said Seth Sampson, Watford City assistant city planner. “The total value of permits is already at $97,944,605 for 2014.”
The highest-issued building permit so far is valued at $15,200,000, taken out by LCG Pence, LLC for a 29,992-square foot corporate office building with a parking garage at The Crossings.
“You’re going to start seeing a lot more numbers that high - $15 million is very high,” Sampson said. “Those values will typically be office spaces and buildings. Bigger businesses are coming to town and building.”
LCG Pence, LLC also received an $8,500,000 permit for a mixed use building. The lower level will be for commercial use and the upper level will be residential.
It’s interesting that there was a drop in the number of building permits issued from 281 in 2012 to 275 in 2013. The value also dropped from $91 million to $66 million that year.
In 2011, there were only 212 building permits issued, valued at $34 million.
“People really started looking at Watford City in 2012 to begin building,” Sampson said. “In 2013, people were weighing out their options and putting business plans together.”
Sampson said that could be one of the many explanations as to why there was a drop in building permits issued and the total value.
“Our building permit fees also went up at the end of 2013,” he said, which could explain the total value increase.
There were 59 building permits issued in June 2014, making it the most active month. Only seven were issued in May 2014.
Building permits are required for moving, building or remodeling a structure within the Watford City city limits.
“It helps us keep track of what’s going on,” Sampson said. “With the permits, we (the city) get a say in what the building looks like.”
The city can approve or deny building designs for anyone or any company that seeks a building permit.
“Any type of building, altering of a structure or putting up a multi-story building inside of the city limits must have a building permit,” he said. “Anything you pick up and move on a road, you have to have a permit for it too.”
That includes moving mobile home trailers, he said.
This year, there have been at least nine permits issued to move a mobile home within the city limits. Sampson said sometimes they are simply moving locations, bringing it into town or even taking it out of town.
With the recent ETA changes and new requirements implemented, it may have effected people moving their mobile homes, he said.
It’s roughly a 50-50 split between residential and commercial building permits, Sampson said.