Space, economy stalling area building permits

Following a surge in 2000, building permits in Atlas, Brandon and Groveland townships have been steady then dropped to a five year low in 2005 according to data from Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and township records.
SEMCOG plans and gathers data in areas that cross jurisdictional boundaries in the Southeast Michigan region that encompasses Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties.
Jim Rogers, data center manager of SMCOG, says with the exception of 2005 where interest rates may have caused a decrease in building permits, a lack of available buildable land in the townships is spelling fewer permits.
‘There’s still available land, but it’s shrinking,? said Rogers. ‘The arial views we have indicate lots of housing along the roads and on developed areas. Some vacant land is out there in farmland and wooded areas, but much of that is state land.?
Paul Amman, Atlas Township supervisor disagrees.
‘There’s lots of area yet to build in the township,? said Amman. ‘Close to half of the township or more is available. Economics rather than space is a greater issue that regulates building permits. Our three acre minimum plays a big role–it’s costly to buy a lot, plus a well and septic it’s easily $150,000. That’s more of a hindrance than space.?
Brandon Township supervisor Ron Lapp agrees with Rogers regarding shrinking buildable land.
‘To some extent the more desirable sites are gone in the township,? said Lapp. ‘People are building in place we never thought they would.?
Potiential for building is limited, Lapp said considering that only four active farms Cook’s, Vantine, Scott and Crossman farms a total of about 400 acres are in the township.
‘We’d like to keep these lands agricultural. There’s a lot acreage out there but people won’t split their parcels or just won’t sell.?