St. Augustine sees increase in building permits in 2017

The number of building permits issued year over year in St. Augustine continued to increase in 2017, according to data from the city’s Planning and Building Department.


The numbers include both commercial and residential construction and renovation projects.

The department issued 2226 permits in 2017, 1,953 in 2016 and 1,731 in 2015.

“They’re not surprising, the 2017 numbers. … We’re very busy,” said David Birchim, city director of Planning and Building.

It’s unclear how much two hurricanes in less than a year impacted the numbers. Many people had to repair their homes or businesses or rebuild new ones in the storm’s wake, or applied to have them demolished.

“It’s difficult because the two hurricanes, Matthew and Irma, coming 11 months apart were an anomaly,” Birchim said.

The permits issued in 2017 total $73,751,660.08 worth of value for the jobs permitted, according to a city report.

For 2015 the combined value of the building permits was more than $45 million, and that total was more than $69 million in 2016.

Permits cover, among other things, home rebuilds, new construction of both commercial and residential buildings, decks, signs, swimming pools, fences and retaining walls, according to the city’s Planning and Building Department.

In recent years, more young entrepreneurs have been opening businesses in the city, including in West Augustine, said Isabelle (Rodriguez) Renault, president and CEO of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce.

The city is still drawing people to invest in business enterprises. Still, things need to be managed in the city to make it more appealing, such as panhandling issues, she said.

“St. Augustine still remains a pretty attractive location for tourism-related businesses,” she said.