Home building permits rebound after shelter-in-place order eases in Tulare County, pace is only slightly behind 2019
TULARE COUNTY – Despite the once in a century pandemic that has scourged the local economy homebuilding remains relatively healthy.
Visalia home building permits bounced back from the COVID-19 related slowdown over the last several months. In July the city showed Visalia builders permitted 72 new homes compared to 46 in July 2019. Builders in April and May permitted just 25 and 34 homes. Year to date permits are 316 compared to 376 for the same period in 2019. Not too bad for a pandemic.
Looking at a different database for all of Tulare County, builders permitted 130 new homes between July 1 and August 7 compared to 156 for the same period in 2019, only slightly behind last year’s good pace.
Meanwhile a home remodel boom plus new home construction uptick has pushed nationwide lumber prices sky high.
The Wall Street Journal reported that lumber futures are at a record high, propelled by a do-it-yourself remodeling boom and resurgent home builders. Lumber for September delivery settled at $641.60 per thousand board feet this week. That tops $639, the former high mark.
67-unit vacation project near Badger on former Synanon land
Tulare County Planning Commission will hear a plan this Wednesday, Aug. 12, to build a 67-unit short-term vacation rental complex on Route 245, north of Badger. The applicant is Badger Creek Development, LLC. The project is called “Sequoia Resort” located on an 89,811-square foot portion of proposed 71-acre parcel. The project utilizes existing infrastructure and building pads from the 1970s–1990s Synanon mixed-use development. The applicant plans to add 63 vacation rental units to an existing four units and replace 13 approved recreational vehicle (RV) spaces with rental units, for a total 67 vacation rental units.
The applicant will also construct a new office; community building; swimming pool; showers/changing rooms building; a sixth septic system; a second 20,000 gallon water storage tank for fire suppression; one new septic tank/leach line system; 16 new propane tanks; and a modified driveway. The new vacation rentals will be constructed on building pads that are already graded and established.
Development will be in phases, with 25 new units to be constructed as soon as permitting is complete and 42 additional units built as demand dictates. Office operating hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. with 24-hour onsite management. The number of full-time employees will increase from 2-3 to 5-6 at full build-out. The applicant anticipates daily trips to increase from 35 to 184.
This is not the first time the old Synanon property has been slated for vacation use. In 2013 the Tulare County Board of Supervisors approved the conversion of the long-abandoned compound into a vacation-home development.
Synanon, the former drug rehab group turned cult, disbanded in the early 1990s leaving the foothill property that included an air strip, vacant.
Farewell Gap to get weather station
The state water agency will rebuild Farewell Gap’s weather tower at 10,500 feet overlooking the Mineral King Valley in Sequoia National Park. During the 2017 winter an avalanche or large wind gusts created a failure point in the tower. The tower was destroyed and has been non-functional since. To combat avalanche impacts, the state’s Department of Water Resources proposes to install a stronger triangulated tower.