Warren County zoning permits decline slightly in 2017

Zoning permits processed by Warren County saw a five percent decline in 2017.

Zoning Officer Michael Lyon presented the numbers as part of the department’s annual report to the Planning Commission on Tuesday night.

The county’s zoning ordinance covers just 12 of the county’s 27 municipalities.

Those included are Clarendon, Sugar Grove and Tidioute borough as well as Columbus, Conewango, Eldred, Elk, Glade, Mead, Pine Grove, Pleasant and Southwest townships.

The City of Warren and Youngsville maintain their own zoning ordinances while the rest of the county is unzoned.

The department issued 235 permits according to the annual report, down from 249 in 2016. With data going back to 2012, the lowest point was 210 permits in 2014 and a high of 295 in 2012.

Seven permits for new single family homes valued at a total of $1,525,000 were issued in 2017, down 61 percent from 2016 when 18 were issued. Two each were located in Pine Grove and Conewango Townships while one permit each was issued in Clarendon, Glade and Columbus.

On the commercial side, six permits were issued – down 77 percent from 2017 – but the value of those permits – $4,688,500 – is the highest total dating back to 2011.

“Most of the commercial is related to the new building Shults is building (next to Aldi in North Warren),” Lyon said. “(That) kinda has it skewed a little bit.”

Commission member Jeff Zariczny asked why permits were down.

Lyon cited the economy.

Zacizny asked then if part of it is people at obtaining permits when permits are needed.

County Planner Dan Glotz said he didn’t really think that was the case and said that there is often confusion between zoning permits and building permits.

“People think they are the same,” he said.

Glotz noted that the “number of subdivisions are down from what they used to be from when the recession hit,” indicating that the county is averaging roughly 50 per year.