Warren County was not immune from the sluggish economy of 2011, as the number of commercial developments dropped significantly last year while zoning permits and revenues increased slightly, according to the county's 2011 Planning and Zoning annual report.
Jim Decker, executive director of the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry, said the economy throughout 2011 was the driving factor for the drop in housing and commercial developments, but there are a number of projects that will provide residential housing and industrial space to support the growth of local business.
"I think 2011 was a horrible year across the board, but we're certainly seeing an uptick," he said. "Our biggest issue is to grow with the population and support business growth across the county."
Decker said he expects construction of 10 single-family and duplexes on the former Home Street Elementary School site to begin within eight weeks. The City of Warren Redevelopment Authority approved the sale of the site to Ruzhdi Bakalli for $10,000 in July.
The real estate tax income based on the average square footage was estimated at $9,000 to the county, $25,000 to the school district and $8,000 to the city, with an increase each year in the school taxes, City Manager Jim Nelles said in July.
"It's a good impact and the kind of thing we definitely need in town," he said.
Bids for construction on the six-acre Pine Street property on the west side of Warren are also out and Decker said Bakalli, the owner of the property, is moving forward to develop it.
Commercial development in 2011 was focused solely in Conewango and Mead townships, for a total construction value of $549,400. The largest development in Conewango Township, which had 11 of the 12 permits issued, was a radio communications tower with a construction value of $250,000.
The only development in Mead Township were self-storage units with a value of $130,000.
The number of municipalities with commercial development dropped from nine in 2010 with a $800,2000 total construction value.
Activity in new home construction permits issued decreased from 23 to 16 in 2011, but the average price jumped from $134,444 in 2010 to $208,135 in 2011.
There were 249 total zoning permits issued in 2011 with a fee collection total of $6,146, an increase from 239 permits and $5,956 in fees in 2010.
According to the report, there were 16 single-family or new home starts; 11 mobile homes on permanent foundations; 12 permits issued for commercial development; two government and public service development permits; four special exception or variances; no conditional use permits approved by the Warren County Commissioners; and 204 miscellaneous permits.
Government and public service development in 2011 was valued at $594,000, almost half of the $1,101,388 that it was valued at in 2010. However, a school addition valued at $945,000 in Columbus Township was the bulk of the government and public service development in 2010.