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Island County permits show encouraging signs

The Island County Planning Department recently reported some positive numbers for the construction industry and the county budget.

In a report to county commissioners, Planning Director Bob Pederson detailed permit activity in January of this year compared to the same month last year. The preliminary numbers show a significant growth in revenues from building, and especially, land-use permits.

County revenues from building permits went from $53,400 in January of 2009 to $62,434 in January of 2010. That’s a 17-percent increase.

Revenues from land-use permits went from $6,520 in January of 2009 to $14,068 in January of 2010. That’s a whopping 116-percent increase. Land-use permits include such things as short and long plats, clearing and grading, and site plan review.

Pederson wrote that there were 12 new housing starts in January. Seven of those are on Whidbey and five are on Camano.

Some of the revenue increase is because of the commissioners’ decision to jack up permit fees last year, but the number Pederson cited doesn’t include the new 3-percent technology fee.

Pederson said the numbers are reason for optimism.

“In today’s economic time, that’s positive activity,” he said.

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