February 27, 2020

Building permits issued show consistent growth in county

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OGEMAW COUNTY — The amount of construction in the county over the past year has remained fairly consistent with that in 2018, which Ogemaw County Building Inspector Brian Stein said is a continuation of a trend of new growth in the county over the past several years. 

“This is a pretty nice county — I think the city (of West Branch) just pulls in the people,” Stein said, adding that areas such as Lake Ogemaw and Sage Lake have continued to draw new growth as well. 

A total of 1,386 building permits were issued in the county in 2019 versus 1,362 in 2018. While the majority of these are for smaller projects such as electrical, mechanical and plumbing work, construction of new commercial and residential properties, as well as projects involving existing commercial and residential properties, have remained consistent as well.  

In total, there were 23 building permits issued for construction of commercial buildings, including 13 for additions, alterations and repairs, seven for new construction and three for utility buildings, which Stein said refers to sheds or similar outbuildings. There were 28 similar permits issued in 2018, including 19 for additions, alterations and repairs and seven for new buildings.

There was a slight decline in commercial construction overall from 2018, as well as a significant difference in the total value of construction projects, from over $4 million in 2018 down to just under $2 million in 2019. However, Stein said 2019 saw a significant number of large construction projects, such as the new McLaren facility and the emergency department at MidMichigan Medical Center. 

“This was a big commercial year as far as building project size,” Stein said. 

97 permits were issued for residential buildings in the county, including 57 for additions, alterations and repairs and 35 for new dwellings. This is down slightly from 104 similar permits issued in 2018, which included 58 for additions, alterations and repairs and 34 for new dwellings.

Stein, who has served in his role since January of 2006, said the county was hit hard by the housing market crash which began in 2008, but began to rally in 2012-2013 and has continued to show healthy growth since then.

“In ‘08-’09, things died right down. This county stayed busier than other counties, but things did drop,” Stein said. “The past few years have had more new growth.” 

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