11/22/05 — Building permits rise in city in 2005

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Building permits rise in city in 2005

By Turner Walston
Published in News on November 22, 2005 1:48 PM

Low interest rates and the assurance of the presence of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base have contributed to an increase in residential building permits in Goldsboro this year, the city's chief building inspector said.

Since January, 113 residential building permits have been issued for new construction projects within city limits, Ed Cianfarra said. In 2004, 72 permits were issued for the entire year.

Permits have been issued for nearly $15 million worth of new construction projects since the year began, whereas last year's totals approached $11.5 million.

Cianfarra said potential home builders might have waited for the findings of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commission to outline Seymour Johnson's future.

"During the whole time that was up in the air, local and non-local developers were holding off on construction," he said.

Those developers began to grow more confident as official BRAC announcements drew near, Cianfarra said.

"Overall, the developer community here was very comfortable. I, as a city employee, was not. Being an ex-military person, I wait and see."

Cianfarra said the recent upward trend can be attributed to many factors.

"There are so many elements that come together that cause a boom," Cianfarra said. "There are different-sized booms. How big a boom this is, I don't know. It's been spurred, and it seems to keep going. I think people are looking at the interest rate jumps with residential and commercial projects. For at least the next six months to a year, I don't see much slowing down."

Cianfarra said Goldsboro is taking steps to add to quality of life for its citizens, making the city more attractive to builders. He mentioned the additions of sidewalks on several city streets.

"It's important that cities try to keep growing. People want to walk and exercise. To build a city that people want to live in, you have to maintain the quality of life."

Cianfarra also pointed to the city's Stoney Creek Park project. "When you create natural woodlands and parks in the city, it adds to the quality of life," he said. The Stoney Creek project is an attempt to build back part of a city in which nearly 300 homes flooded as a result of Hurricane Floyd.

Cianfarra said commercial growth in Goldsboro is evident as well.

"When you tear down a perfectly good building for something more lucrative, that's when you know you have a boom," he said. Cianfarra pointed to new shopping center Berkeley Commons, which replaced apartment buildings.

He also said the story of Goldsboro's Lowe's Home Improvement store is a metaphor for the city's growth on a larger scale. The original Lowe's is now Ormond's Appliance & Furniture. It moved across the street to 1312 Parkway Drive. When Lowe's moved again to its present location at 1202 N. Berkeley Blvd., the Parkway Drive location became Berkeley Plaza, which is now home to Goody's, Books-A-Million and Staples.

"That in itself shows how Goldsboro has grown," Cianfarra said. "Goldsboro deserves and wants a more open and larger store."

Cianfarra said commercial development attracts residential development, and they both lead to more federal and state dollars that can be invested back into the city. "That's that many more millions of dollars of tax base goes back into the city."