The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

February 19, 2013

Permits for new work hit low

Milliken: There’s no market for housing

DANVILLE — With a stagnant population and an overabundance of housing stock, the city has hit a new low in recent years for building permits for new residential construction.

In the city’s annual Permit Activity Report for building, electrical and mechanical permits issued by the city in 2012, only two building permits were issued for new residential construction.

The permits were for Habitat for Humanity homes.

The number of new residential construction permits issued reached 26 in 2002 and 27 in 2003. Since then, however, the number of permits has been on a downward spiral, going from 24 in 2004, to 16 in 2006, to five in 2009 and to four each in 2010 and 2011.

Construction values for those building permits also have declined from $8.8 million in 2004 to $2.4 million in 2006, to $560,000 in 2009 and to $115,000 in 2012.

Chris Milliken, planning and zoning manager with the city, said the downward slide has been the general trend with new construction housing and the market.

There have been efforts to fill current housing.

“There’s not a market for new housing construction,” Milliken said.

He said there haven’t been inquiries for new subdivisions.

Subdivisions like Stonegate and Devonshire are basically full, he said.

Bayview, off Boiling Springs Road, has a few lots available.

“There are lots here and there and across the lake,” Milliken said.

He said financing is part of the problem with getting families into homes. Properties may be cheap, but all the costs of construction add up.

The city has had some incentive programs in the past to encourage home-ownership, but again city officials cited financing with banks caused issues.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer agrees that the city, as a lot of other communities around the country, isn’t in a position to build a lot of new houses.

Danville continues to demolish dilapidated and useless structures for possible infill, and city officials also continue to plan for future housing.

Future plans include mixed-income housing to replace current row-house public housing in the city.

“It’s the perfect time to look at the housing stock and our future needs…,” Eisenhauer said.

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