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Jefferson County planners call drop in permits 'a wash'

September 28, 2000

Jefferson County planners call drop in permits 'a wash'



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The number of permits for single family homes in Jefferson County decreased slightly last year, according to the annual report of the Jefferson County Planning Commission.

The number of improvement location permits for single family homes totalled 363 in 1999 compared to the 372 permits that were issued the previous year, according to the report.

Despite the drop, a planning commission official called the permit growth rate "a wash" because the permits for apartment buildings and mobile homes rose.

Jefferson County has often been criticized for not having enough affordable housing, and perhaps the market responded to that in 1999, said Becky Burns, executive secretary of the planning commission.

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There were no permits issued for apartment buildings in 1998, but 57 permits were issued for apartment buildings in 1999, according to the report.

In 1998, there were 58 permits for mobile homes. That number rose to 74 in 1999, the report said.

Permits for commercial buildings fell from 56 to 32 during that time period, the report said.

In 1997, 309 permits were issued for single-family homes, eight permits were issued for apartment buildings and 58 permits were issued for mobile homes, according to planning commission records.

The period between 1996 and 1997 was the last time there was a significant increase in permits for single-family homes. In 1996 229 permits were issued for houses, according to records.

A local home appraiser said the county's growth rate is reflecting the nation's rate of new home starts. The fact that Jefferson County is located beside Loudoun County, one of the fastest growing counties in the country, means the Jefferson County will grow in the future, said Rick Pekar, owner of Pekar Properties Inc.

Local officials, especially those in the public school district, have been watching the county's growth rate closely.

Planning for a $39 million school construction bond, which was overwhelmingly defeated by voters in a special election last Saturday, was started when some members of the Jefferson County Board of Education became concerned about the 22,000 new students who are expected to move into neighboring Loudoun County in coming years.

School board members fear the growth will spill into Jefferson County.

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