Residential construction in Pott County rebounds to pre-recession levels

By The Mercury

WESTMORELAND — Residential construction in Pottawatomie County has rebounded to the pre-recession level of 2007, zoning administrator Gregg Webster told county commissioners Monday.

Pott County issued 121 residential building permits in 2013, surpassing the 118 issued in 2007, according to figures provided by Webster.

“As you can see, we’re in a slow climb back to where we were at the 2007 level,” he said.

In the four years following the housing collapse of 2008, building permits issued in the county declined steadily to a low of 65 in 2011.

The number increased dramatically in 2012 (91) and continued the trend in 2013.

In the 10-year span from 2004 to 2013, the county issued a total of 1,137 residential building permits, an average of about 113.7 per year, according to Webster. 

Leaving out the boom years of 2005 and 2006, a total of 748 were issued for an average of 93.5 per year,” he said.

In 2005, 169 residential building permits were issued, followed by 220 in 2006 — a 10-year high for the county.

The majority of the 121 permits issued last year (65) were in Blue Township east of Manhattan.

Thirty-three permits were issued for St. George Township, seven for Louisville Township, four for Pottawatomie Township and three for Union Township.

One permit was issued for each of the following townships: Lone Tree, Wamego, Center, St. Marys, Shannon, Green, Mill Creek, Rock Creek and Emmett.

The building permit figures provided by Webster do not include permits issued within the limits of cities in the county.

In other business Monday:

* Public works director Leu Lowrey reviewed the proposed asphalt work for county roads in 2014. The proposal includes 7.585 miles of asphalt overlay and 34.4 miles of road sealing.

The estimated cost for the work in $75,000 per mile for asphalt overlay and $17,000 per miles for sealing, Lowrey told commissioners.

* The commission participated in a conference call with their counterparts in Wabaunsee and Jackson Counties to discuss the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board for the Second Judicial District.

The district also includes Jefferson County, but that commission was not scheduled to meet until later in the day.

The Juvenile Justice Advisory Board is tasked with working with law enforcement officials in handling juveniles charged with a crime, according to county counselor John Watt.

Since its formation 18 years ago, the counties have been lax in their statutory requirement of appointing members to the board, Watt told commissioners. 

“That’s supposed to be the responsibility of all four counties, but nothing has happened for a number of years,” Watt said regarding board appointments.

“The thing apparently just ran on auto pilot and nobody reviewed the statutes.”

The program has been administered by Jackson County, which hired a director and received operational funds through the state.

With the retirement of the current director and subsequent search for a replacement, Watt said a review of the program was in order.

“If you ask me what that director does, I can’t tell you,” he said. 

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