Building activity in county’s townships down in 2008Carlton County’s construction activity in 2008 reached its lowest point ever in terms of total permits issued to townships, according to an annual report compiled by Bruce Benson, Carlton County zoning administrator.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Carlton County’s construction activity in 2008 reached its lowest point ever in terms of total permits issued to townships, according to an annual report compiled by Bruce Benson, Carlton County zoning administrator. Benson explained that at least part of that is due to the steady decrease in zoning applications for mobile homes over the past three decades, as well as accessory buildings. However, he admitted new home starts in the county were down by 10 from the previous year, and commercial building starts were down from three in 2007 to one in 2008.
During 2008, the county zoning office received 55 applications for new home starts in the county’s townships, as well as 16 for cabins and one for a commercial structure, as well as miscellaneous others for an overall total of 311. Benson reported that the total estimated cost of construction and improvements for the year was $10,669,927.
By comparison, a total of 363 permits were issued in 2007 for an estimated building construction value of $13,617,964. Benson explained that 2008’s dip in county building activity is by no means out of the ordinary, however.
“Building activity in the county has historically followed something of a roller coaster ride,” Benson said. “Right now we just happen to be on the low end of the cycle.”
Leading the way in building activity for 2008 were Twin Lakes and Barnum townships, with 39 zoning permit applications issued to each, for a total estimated construction value of $1,565,668 in Twin Lakes and $1,298,700 in Barnum.
Other townships showing marked building activity during the year were Moose Lake (26), Blackhoof (22), Eagle (19), and Perch Lake (19).
Benson said Twin Lakes Township has led the way in building activity in the county for the past several years, as have Barnum and Moose Lake townships, though he said areas further to the west are picking up in activity as well.
Since county record keeping for zoning applications was first formalized in 1972, building activity in the county’s townships (excluding the cities of Cloquet, Barnum and Moose Lake) reached high points in the late 1970s, the early 1990s, and the early 2000s. During that 36-year time period, a record-setting 738 permit applications were received in 1977, though the estimated cost of construction and improvements that year amounted to only $4,490,991. In terms of dollars and cents, the overall high in construction activity was set in 2004 with a total of $24,214,590, which included 116 new home starts as well as six commercial buildings.
The record for new home starts in the county’s townships was set back in 1978 with 140, followed by 139 in 2003. The most commercial building permits were issued in 1972 with 25, followed by 12 in 1986.