EDWARDSVILLE — For the fourth straight year, Madison County is reporting an increase in permits for new home construction in unincorporated areas of the county.
The Madison County Planning and Development Department announced it issued 133 new home permits in 2014, 24 more than the 109 permits issued in 2013. In 2011, only 67 permits were issued; 77 permits were issued in 2012. Prior to the recession, Madison County typically issued about 150 new home permits per year.
Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan said the number of homes being built are returning to pre-recession levels.
“The increases in new home construction permits in 2014 marks the fourth straight year of increases and indicates the housing recovery in Madison County is continuing,” Dunstan said.
Dunstan said he believes a number of factors are contributing to the increase in single-home construction in the county.
“The county has seen a steady gain in jobs and our unemployment is now at just over 5 percent,” Dunstan said. “Mortgage interest rates remain low, there is a need for single-family homes, and Madison County is a great place to live and raise a family.”
While new home construction permits are increasing, the Planning and Development Department reports zoning applications are much lower than five years ago. Only 32 total applications were processed in 2014. Madison County has historically held 150 zoning hearings per year.
The decline in zoning applications can, in part, be contributed to a 2010 adjustment and deregulation of zoning requirements. The changes were made after research conducted by the department’s staff found small changes to the zoning codes would eliminate the need for a large number of variances and other petitions.
Planners made changes to building height, road frontage and lot width requirements. They also changed the review process for mobile homes’ renewals. The changes save property owners an estimated $36,000 a year in application fees and allows staff to focus on other enforcement issues instead of reviewing applications and writing reports.