Officials: Residential activity has slowed down in Garfield County |

Officials: Residential activity has slowed down in Garfield County

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colorado ” The credit freeze may fuel a building freeze in Carbondale and elsewhere.

“In 2009 it will be a big drop in construction just because of the economy,” said Carbondale building official Lynn Young. “I think we anticipate a 40 percent drop in building permits for 2009.”

Carbondale issued 154 building permits in 2008, a number similar to the 142 building permits issued in 2007. Most of 2008 seemed similar to previous building activity, but Young said the building department has seen a slowdown recently.

The total number of building permits issued includes everything from single-family homes to multi-use buildings, fences, remodels, accessory dwelling units, demolitions and other categories.

Glenwood Springs issued 316 building permits in 2008, and 305 were issued in 2007. There were 365 issued in 2006, 350 in 2005 and 338 in 2004. Permits for new single family homes dropped from 33 in 2005 to five in 2008. There were also five permits issued for new single family homes in 2007.

“I think (2008) was similar to 2007,” said Glenwood Springs building official Pat Seydel.

He said 2009 will probably be fairly similar in building activity to 2008, in part because Glenwood Springs doesn’t have the space for much new construction. The lack of space had already limited new construction so there’s not as much room for a significant drop.

But the building department is expecting construction to begin on a few large commercial projects like two hotels at Glenwood Meadows, the Roaring Fork Lodge near the Sunlight Bridge, and a 64-unit apartment building in West Glenwood Springs.

In Rifle, 223 building permits were issued in 2008, not counting December. That compares to 280 in 2007, 223 in 2006 and 151 in 2005. Permits specifically for single family homes dropped from 109 in 2005 to 11 in 2008.

Rifle building official Jerry Long said, “We have seen residential slow down quite a bit,” but commercial development has increased.

“That’s typical because residential competes with commercial for labor, materials and land, so once residential backs off, commercial has the ability to snag those resources.”

Nationally, the sentiment among homebuilders sank to a new low this month, with the National Association of Home Builders saying its preliminary Housing Market Index was eight, down from nine last month, according to Reuters news.

Ratings below 50 mean more builders view market conditions as poor rather than favorable. The rating of eight is the lowest on record since the measurement began in 1985.

Support Local Journalism