Alabaster records highest home building rate in years

Alabaster recorded its highest number of home building permits in years for 2012. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Alabaster issued as many new home building permits in 2012 as it did in 2010 and 2011 combined, Ward 7 City Councilman Tommy Ryals said after receiving the year-end numbers.

In 2012, Alabaster issued 59 new home building permits, which was up from 30 permits in 2011 and 29 permits in 2010. The 2012 number marked the highest since 2008, when the city issued 100 home building permits.

“Not exactly a comeback, but it does seem to be improving,” Ryals said.

Although the home building number was up in 2012 compared to the previous few years, the city is still a far cry from the number of home building permits it issued before the economic recession hit in 2007. From 2000-2007, the city issued at least 219 residential building permits per year, and saw its highest number of the decade in 2003 with 354 permits.

“Since 2000, in Alabaster we’ve practiced what we call controlled growth, in which we try to grow enough to continue to attract businesses but not grow so fast we outgrow our infrastructure,” Ryals said. “In the late 1990s, we did between 700 and 800 new homes annually, and had definitely outpaced our ability to provide proper city services to these homes.

“Now our goal is to grow at about 200 or so new homes a year, as well as improve the quality of what’s built, in order to keep up,” Ryals added.

The city saw a dip in the number of commercial building permits it issued in 2012 compared to the previous few years. Alabaster ended the year with 22 new commercial building permits, which was down from 53 in 2011 and 51 in 2010.

Alabaster’s commercial building peaked from 2005-2008, when it issued between 70-125 commercial building permits per year. The 2012 number was in line with 2000-2004, when the city issued between 14-29 commercial building permits per year.