Pasco building permits down in 2012 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Pasco building permits down in 2012

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PASCO, Wash.-- Pasco has enjoyed a building boom in the past decade as the city saw a huge jump in population. But recently, the number of building permits issued in the city has turned south.

This year the number of permits for single family homes is down 35% compared to last year. Some say it's just a changing of the times, but others say it's because of the impact fees put in place earlier this year.

It's become commonplace to see housing developments popping up around Pasco, one after another, but the times are changing.

The number of single family home permits issued has dropped from 430 in 2011 to 283 so far this year.

"I think over the past decade in particular, Pasco has permitted so many single family houses that we've reached a point where we're back to a more normal kind of growth," said Rick White, City of Pasco.

In April, the city added a $4,700 impact fee on top of the $1,400 they already charge for construction permits.

The impact fee helps provide funding for the Pasco School District.

Before the new fees went into effect, the City of Pasco saw a spike in permit applications.

"When they were first adopted of course there was a large amount of anxiety over them. But whatever issues people were most fearful of don't seem to have materialized," White said.

But the Tri-Cities Home Builders Association doesn't buy it. They say the impact fees can't be overlooked as a cause for the drop.

"I don't see how you could discount them and say that it's not making an effect and anytime you take five thousand dollars and add it onto a house, somebody's going to get priced out of that house," said Jeffery Losey, Executive Director of Tri-Cities HBA.

Building permits are down 16% across the Tri-Cities.

"They are 35-50% of the entire permits pulled over that last ten years so when they take a dip, it affects our entire market," Losey said.

Losey said  it's a chain effect.

When permit numbers are down, it affects building, jobs and the whole housing market.

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