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Crow Wing County reports encouraging news on increase in home building permits

An increase in permit activity, particularly for home construction, is encouraging in terms of an economic indicator, Crow Wing County reported.

The Crow Wing County Land Services Department recently reported a dramatic increase in permits in 2012. The increase comes after an even more dramatic decline in permits during the Great Recession.

There have been 22 new homes permitted so far in 2012 compared to 11 at this same time in 2011, a 100 percent increase. A total of 99 permits have been issued in 2012 compared to 47 at this point last year. A total of 2,775 phone calls have been received by staff in 2012 compared to 1,522 last year.

“It’s exciting to see that,” said Chris Pence, Land Services supervisor for environmental services, at a recent Crow Wing County Board meeting. “Things are picking up.”

From Jan. 1 through March 30, there were 99 permits issued by the county, compared to 40 for the same time period in 2011.

Counted in the 2012 permits were:

• 22 new homes.

• 15 new septic systems.

• Seven septic upgrades.

• 36 sheds.

• 30 additions.

• 28 decks.

• 12 shoreland alterations.

• 31 E911 addresses.

“It is encouraging to see the number of new homes being permitted this year,” stated Chris Pence in a news release. “This sure seems to be good sign about the economy.”

Commissioner Paul Thiede said: “It’s a major change of what was happening here five years ago.”

Overall the total number of construction permits issued in Crow Wing County declined in 2011. There were 2,027 permits issued in 2010 compared to 1,535 permits in 2011, a 24 percent decline. The construction permits for 2010 also represented a decline from 2,350 permits issues in 2009.

The data comes from the Crow Wing County Land Services Department which is required under state law to annually assess the value of all new construction in the county for property tax valuation purposes. Properties are physically viewed by a county property assessor to determine the effect on the market value of the property for the following year assessment.

“Most of the permits are for projects such as remodels, additions or decks,” said Gary Griffin, Land Services supervisor for property valuation and classification, in a news release, adding 204 permits were for new houses.”

In addition to following up on construction permits each year, the county is required by state statute to perform its “quintile” work, which means physically viewing 20 percent of the parcels in the county every year, or approximately 8,200 parcels out of more than 41,000 existing improved parcels county-wide. “Physically viewing property is very important to fulfilling our responsibility to value property fairly,” Griffin said.

Both the permit follow up and the quintile work are reflected in the county’s 2012 assessment, which establishes assessed market value of all properties as of Jan. 2, 2012. Property valuations are determined primarily by analyzing the sales of similar properties in the county, which for the 2012 assessment includes sales that occurred from October 2010 through September 2011. Property value assessments were mailed to property owners in late March.

Griffin said taxpayers are encouraged to contact the Land Services Department with any questions they may have about construction permits or their property valuation and classification.

The office is located in Brainerd on the main floor of the Land Services Building, 322 Laurel Street. The main phone number is 824-1010 and the email address is or visit the website at

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