LEWISBORO, N.Y. – The sluggish economy and lack of building space has contributed to a decline in new home construction in the Town of Lewisboro, according to Building Inspector Peter Barrett.
The town issued just five permits for new-home construction in 2011 and only two so far in 2012, he said.
“Most of it is due to the economy,” Barrett said, “but [Lewisboro] is all built out. Unless you are talking about a tear-down and rebuild, there’s not much space left to build, so there are no spec houses being built. With the real estate market the way it is and with building costs, people just won’t take the gamble.”
Barrett points to the proposed development on Route 138 known as Falcon Ridge. The plans to build 11 units on the property has long-since been approved but developers have yet to break ground.
“I think they’re just waiting for the right time,” he said.
However, that doesn’t mean Barrett hasn’t been busy. His office is still issuing plenty of permits, but the majority of them are for renovation projects.
“We are getting [permit requests], but it’s smaller stuff, like additions and alterations," he said.
In fact, the town is on pace to exceed the number of permit requests from last year. It issued 412 in 2011, but has already handed out 393 this year. In 2011, 348 of the 413 permits were for some type of home renovation project. This year, 319 of 393 permits issued were for home renovations.
Barrett said in the wake of last year’s storms that caused extensive power outages throughout the town, there was a run on permits for the installation of generators, which, he said, continue to “trickle in.”
Barrett said the number of permit requests has been enough for him to maintain his budget.
“We are getting ready to prepare our budget now,” he said. “Over the last 11 years we’ve average around $275,000 in expenditures and $300,000 in revenue. Actually, last year we had about $400,000 in revenue, but that was due to all the generators being installed.”
Barrett said there is virtually no commercial construction in Lewisboro, other than businesses taking over existing storefronts and performing renovations.
“We have no commercial building going on, which is a shame because that’s your tax base,” he said.