Permits portend new-home gain

Barring another economic hiccup, White Hall is on track to build more homes this year than in 2019.

According to White Hall statistics, there have been 29 new permits issued to date for single and multifamily home construction, along with another three commercial construction permits.

In 2019, the city issued 32 new-home construction permits and two commercial permits, said Mayor Noel Foster.

The city already has exceeded its 2019 commercial building stats, and Foster said, “Yes, I think we will meet or exceed 2019 numbers.”

These numbers don’t include other permitted construction projects, including four home swimming pools, three home additions, 16 storage units like stand-alone shop not little portable ready-to-purchase units, said Larry Reynolds, Southeast Arkansas Regional Planning Commission director. Adding these brings the total number to about 40 as of Sept. 30, Reynolds said.

“I don’t think construction has slowed down. In fact, I think covid-19 has helped the construction business,” Reynolds said.

This includes do-it-yourself projects as well as professional builders. Reynolds’ comments are backed up by national news about traffic and profits rising at big-box home improvement retailers that, when the pandemic struck, were prepared for a huge downturn. Lumber prices are also high because demand has outstripped supply.

Reynolds said he’s not surprised with all the folks who were asked to work from home during the statewide shutdown, and for many the paychecks didn’t stop. Both Foster and Reynolds are confident in White Hall’s building future, in large part because the city just approved plans for three subdivisions. One of those may not happen at this point.

“Preliminary plans have been approved,” Foster said.

The two projects’ plats were designed by the civil engineering firm, Lemons Engineering Consultants Inc.of Cabot for developers.

One subdivision, Cannon Addition, has room for 30 homes, and it’s located near

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