Visalia Times-Delta: "Construction Permits Up In Visalia, CA

Construction permits for 2016 in the county’s two largest cities will likely be up compared to 2015 totals.

With December totals yet to be added, the number of permits on most key categories issued in 2016 has matched or increased those from 2015.

In Visalia, the number of permits for multi-family residential projects, additions or alterations, commercial building and miscellaneous is up.

The lone key statistic down is for new single-family homes. However, when the December numbers are added, the single-family permits are expected to rise past 2015’s total.

“It was good, strong development,” said Adam Peck, chairman of the Visalia Planning Commission. “We have had good, steady development that’s sustainable for a city our size. It’s definitely steady.”

In Tulare, permits for single-family homes and multi-family projects are up as well as commercial additions, repairs, and alterations.

Permits for new commercial and demolitions are lower in 2016, but missing the December request.

“We have seen a lot of people expanding their businesses and a few new starts,” said Jeff Killion, Tulare Planning Commission chairman. “It hasn’t been as much as we would have liked. But it’s moving in the right direction.

New and expanding businesses mean jobs, Killion said.

“That’s what we like to see,” he said.

In Visalia

The permits for single-family homes in Visalia thought November is 474, 35 less than the ones issued during 2015.

However, the 2016 total reported is higher than the annual total for a six-year stretch between 2009 and 2014. In addition, Visalia’s monthly average for single-family permits is 43.

The steady increase is a good indicator, Peck said.

“It’s nothing like in the mid-2000’s,” he said. “In some years, construction had stopped.”

For multi-family projects, Visalia issued the same number of permits already, 34, in 2016 than in 2015.

However, there is an increase in the number of residential units included in the project, 128 for 2016, an increase of 22 over the previous year’s total.

Since 2007, permits for 724 units in multi-family projects have been issued in Visalia.

Also up are the permits for new commercial developments, the square footage, and value – with the square-footage nearly quadrupling and the value more than doubling.

Without the December total, the number of permits for commercial additions and alterations is down by 22.

Lastly, while the total number of permits for 2016 is down by 400, the value of this year’s permit is higher by $3.7 million.

The city’s General Plan has played a role in bringing the steady growth, Peck said.

“The General Plan has given foresight to developers as to where residential and commercial development should go,” he said.

Teresa Lewis, executive director of the Building Industry Association of Tulare-Kings counties, said 2016 was a good year for construction.

“We were busy,” she said. “We were much busier than in 2015.”

The association, lobbies for the easing of local regulations, promote housing affordability and the free enterprise system, was involved in the early part of several projects.

For 2017, Lewis said she expects much of the same activity.

“I think it will be a good year. Very positive,” she said.

In Tulare

The 280 permits for single-family homes during 2016 was an increase of 88 from 2015. The 2016 total for single-family homes is the highest in the last five years.

Those totals are through November, the latest readily available.

There were two permits for multi-family developments in each 2015 and 2016.

The increase in permits may be reflected on activity along Mooney Boulevard. Homes are being built at Vista Terraza, just north of Prosperity and just south of Seminole Avenue.

Already, construction at a San Joaquin Valley Homes development north of Seminole has been completed.

On the commercial side, Tulare issued eight permits, two less than an all 2015.

However, the value for the 2016 projects is higher, $200,000, than last year’s, $85,000.

Also, higher are the permits for commercial additions and repairs, 66, but only by one.

The permitting for commercial development shows growth, Killion said. But that’s something that should be higher.

“We are moving in the right direction,” he said. “We need it to come back like it used to be.”

Of course, businesses expansion means local employment opportunities. Killion also said retail development is key to Tulare’s local economy.

“Seeing expansion in retail is important,” he said. “As people buy things in Tulare, the sales tax stays here and services are provided.”

Killion continued: “We need to keep working to bring retail expansion.”

Tulare is ripe for new development, Killion said.

Locations near the newly-completed Cartmill Avenue Highway 99 Interchange, south and west part of town can easily accommodate the development.

Ideally, the new development should be at all part of the city.

“It is up to investors and business owners to come before us,” he said. “We need City Hall to have a good handle on fees charged and make our community welcoming. We have our doors open.”

Lisa Walker