Building permits up this year

The economy in Laguna Beach could be on the upswing, if the number of building permits issued by the city is any indication.

A total of 1,369 building permits have been issued so far this year, 169 more than for the same period in 2010.

The estimated cost of construction in the first nine months of 2011 was $6,114,758, with a total valuation of $45,051,344. That's compared to estimates of $4,870,960 a year ago, with a total valuation of $39,489,360.

"The numbers are positive," said City Manager John Pietig. "The nice increase indicates the economy is improving, but it is still volatile. The question is whether the improvement is sustainable. Still, we'd rather have good news than bad news."

The city's Community Development Department reported issuing 160 building permits in September with estimated construction costs of $6,114,758, which were $1.2 million higher than costs in September 2010.

"A certain part of the increase is storm-related. Not all of it. People are electing to apply for permits to add on or renovate," said city Building Official Carl Hefner.

One permit was issued for a single-family residence, estimated to cost $1.1 million to build. No permits were issued in September for commercial or detached accessory buildings.

Twenty permits were issued for hardscape, including walls and fences and two for pools or spas.

Construction costs for 45 alterations, additions or repairs to dwellings were estimated at $2.2 million. Six permits were issued for commercial or non-residential alterations or repairs, estimated to cost $1.7 million.

Seven permits were issued to fix or add to decks.

Categorized under "miscellaneous," 33 permits were issued for re-roofing, 13 for fire protection, 11 for "other" and three for demolition.

Nineteen permits were reissued.

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