Nov 6, 2013 6:59 PM by April Hansen, KSBY News
Santa Maria city leaders say they've had a boost in construction activity in the community this year, but it is still not nearly as busy as it was years ago.
The number of issued permits is down.
If you take a drive around the city you can hear the sound of construction.
One of the biggest projects is the new movie theatre at the Town Center Mall.
There are several other townhome projects and apartment buildings going up, but the number of building permits has dropped.
The city issued more than 1,600 permits in 2011. That's 500 more than they've seen this year.
Despite the numbers, city leaders say a positive sign is that the value of permits has gone up.
They estimate building projects to total about $56.8 million by the end of the year.
The most high-profile project is the movie theater, which is worth about $8.6 million.
Two apartment complexes are also being built.
A 262-unit apartment complex will be built in the downtown area and a housing development on Blosser Road.
City spokesman Mark van de Kamp says it's an encouraging sign for the local economy, but it's a far cry from where the numbers should be.
"We receive building permit revenues based on the type of construction, so we are seeing our building permit revenues increase which is a good sign but then again we are coming off a recession when they were very, very low," said van de Kamp.
Another major commercial development this year is the new Walmart Neighborhood Market that opened a few months ago on South Blosser.
Van de Kamp says the hardest hit permits have been residential.
In 2004, the city issued 642 permits and so far this year only 44 have been issued.
Van de Kamp says the numbers dropped when the recession hit.
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