Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Building permits up in 2 valley cities

Blaine County still lagging in recovery from recession

Express Staff Writer

Express file photo The number of building permits being issued in Bellevue is up so far this year.

The Wood River Valley building community is seeing glimmers of hope that demand for new construction is rebounding. The number of building-permit applications processed during the first two months of 2013 indicates such a trend in Sun Valley and Bellevue.

The local trend appears to reflect a recent U.S. Labor Department report that shows construction industry jobs are on the rise. Construction firms hired 48,000 people in January, bringing the national total increase to 140,000, a rise of 2.5 percent, from a year ago.

Skilled workers in the Wood River Valley could also expect to see more work opportunities this summer. 

“People are hiring, but there are far fewer contractors and workers than there were a few years ago,” said Ketchum contractor David Lloyd. “Workers have left and they’re slower to come back. Some have become nurses or gone into education. Many have gone to Williston, N.D., to work in the oil shale boom, mostly driving trucks.”

Lloyd said he has steadily increased his payroll over the past two years.

“It’s been a steady ramping up. We are almost back to where we were before the crash,” he said.

The city of Bellevue has seen a steady increase for three years in its building-permit applications. From March 1, 2010, to March 1, 2011, the city issued only 19 building permits. The following year, that number increased to 21. In 2012, there were 27 permits issued. 

“The first quarter of 2013 is about 30 percent up from the last two year’s first quarters,” Bellevue Planning Director Craig Eckles said.

At the higher end of the housing market, the city of Sun Valley issued 119 building permits in 2011, with a total valuation of $16.3 million. The number dropped in 2012 to 115, but due to an increase in new commercial and residential projects, the total valuation nearly doubled that year to $29.2 million.

By March 1, 2013, Sun Valley had issued seven new building permits totaling about $1.13 million in project valuations. In the city newsletter, Building Official Eric Adams referred to the overall trend as “emergently promising.”

Blaine County issued 137 permits in 2011, with a total of $29 million in valuation. That number dropped to 122 permits in 2012, with a total valuation of $15.8 million. During the first two months of 2013, the county issued seven building permits totaling $237,000 in valuation.

Ketchum also saw a drop in building permit applications, from 109 in 2011 to 99 in 2012. As of March 12 of the new year, the city had issued 12 new permits, compared to eight in the first quarter of 2011 and 15 in the first quarter of 2012.

The city of Hailey also saw a drop in permits, from 134 in 2011, totaling $9.1 million in value, to 117 permits in 2012, totaling $4.7 million. So far in 2013, the city has issued eight permits. That’s a lot less than the 21 issued during the first quarter of 2012, though all 21 were for remodels.

Hailey City Planner Bart Bingham said things are “looking brighter” this year because some of this year’s permits are for new construction.

The vast majority of building permits issued in the past two years in the Wood River Valley have been for additions and remodels.

“Over the recession, remodels have been a mainstay for those in the building industry,” said Jan Roeser, regional economist for the Idaho Department of Labor, which measures job growth in southern Idaho.

Roeser said that of 43 online job postings Tuesday, most were related to health care, nonprofits or financial and professional business services.

“Blaine County is still the county that was hit hardest of all eight counties in southern Idaho, and it is still lagging behind the most economically in construction,” she said.

Tony Evans:

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.