SARASOTA, Florida — Sarasota city officials say they were averaging just over 5,000 permits a year during the building boom, but now they’re topping the 8,000 mark — and the number is steadily growing.
“We’re standing in our new kitchen, it was part of the permitting process we did,” said Sarasota resident Michael Meiser, describing the massive transformation currently underway with his house. “We ripped out the old kitchen which was 10/9, and then we open this up.”
Meiser is among the thousands of residents currently doing some sort of construction to their property.
“Prices were right, so we bought a house about a year ago and we’re just going to renovate,” he says.
Meiser isn’t alone. According to the City of Sarasota they’ve received a record number of request for renovation and construction project permits.
“This is the first time we’ve ever exceeded 8,000 permits applied for in one year, as of today were at 8130 permits applied for,” said Gretchen Schneinder with the city’s permitting division. She says the previous record of about 7,200 building permits was set last year. The requests typically run the gamut from something as small as fencing for a home to major construction like a new hotel.
Schneinder also says that the increase in permits has given the economy a well needed boost.
“For each construction job that’s going on, there are people who get jobs from it. Those construction workers need a place to live when they come from out of town, they eat, they drive,” says Schneinder, who also says benefits of the increase permit request can be felt in other areas.
“It also increases property values,” she says. “From having all this new and improve housing stock or new commercial development the tax base increases and we have a safer housing stock because it has been brought up to code.”
Homeowners like Meiser, agree.
“We just thought it was a great investment and we didn’t see how we could lose money by putting renovations into our house.”
City officials point out that the facial year doesn’t end until the end of the month, and say they expect the number of permits issued to increase in the next few weeks.
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