City marks what it calls ‘historic year’ for issuance of building permits

The City of Sarasota Building Division staff comprises (back row, from left) Brieana Duckett Graves, administrative specialist II – Permitting; Mary Beth Gripshover, administrative specialist II – permitting; Joyce Williams, permitting coordinator; Shelley Moore, Inspections Specialist; Paula Mello, Permits & Licenses Manager; (front row, from left) Robin Opalinsky, Administrative Specialist I - Permitting; Debbie Lapenkas, Administrative Specialist II -  Permitting; Kathleen Kelley, Administrative Specialist II - Permitting
The City of Sarasota Building Division staff comprises (back row, from left) Brieana Duckett Graves, Mary Beth Gripshover, Joyce Williams, Shelley Moore and Paula Mello; (front row, from left) Robin Opalinsky, Debbie Lapenkas and Kathleen Kelley. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

City of Sarasota surpasses the 8,000 level for the first time

For the first time ever, the City of Sarasota Building Division has processed more than 8,000 building permits in one year, “shattering last year’s record,” the city has announced.

At the conclusion of the 2014-15 fiscal year, Sept. 30, the tally for building permit applications processed was 8,402, with a construction valuation of more than $299 million, “signaling a stronger local economy and continued interest in Sarasota,” a city news release points out.

“There definitely is a lot more construction going on, and it’s across the board,” says Gretchen Schneider, general manager of Neighborhood and Development Services, in the release. “We’ve seen significant increases in permits for new homes, home improvements as well as larger developments, including hotels and mixed use developments.”

Building permits are issued for all kinds of construction — from residential improvements (including the installation of new fences, roofs, air conditioning systems and plumbing) to new large-scale commercial projects, such as hotels and multi-family complexes, the release adds.

Each of the past two years has seen records broken for the processing of building permits in the City of Sarasota, the release continues. The number issued this fiscal year is nearly a 50-percent jump from 2002, when the local economy was considered to be doing well, the release says. The figures for total permits processed the previous three years follows:

• 2014: 7,200.

• 2013: 6,300.

• 2002:  5,800.

“Experiencing another banner year for our Building Division is a testament that our natural beauty, combined with our world class cultural and performing arts attractions, makes for a great quality of life,” City Manager Tom Barwin said in the release. “The Sarasota ‘magic’ attracts people of all ages, as reflected in our building permit numbers, including 3,000 condo, apartment and hotel rooms under development.”

“Even as [city] Building Division employees processed an historic number of applications, customer service remained exceptional,” the release notes, with voluntary comment cards from contractors “consistently complimenting staff for being friendly, professional and knowledgeable.” Ninety-six percent of those who completed a comment card rated the service as “excellent,” the release adds.