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Number of new homes in Tarpon rises

The city's development services director says the strong economy has construction booming around the state.

By KATHERINE GAZELLA

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 21, 2000


TARPON SPRINGS -- Even though Tarpon Springs has little vacant land for new development, the city has seen a huge jump in the number of new homes this year.

In the first half of the year, the city has issued certificates of occupancy for 124 new single-family homes, up from 69 at the same time last year, said Joseph DiPasqua, development services director for the city.

"I'm very surprised. I'm obviously very pleased," DiPasqua said.

The city also has collected 91 percent more permit fees than at this time last year, and the total value of construction has risen by 43 percent, he said.

Permit fees are paid for new homes, remodeling projects and even demolitions, he said. In the first six months of the year, 2,282 permits were issued and brought more than $242,000 into the city.

DiPasqua said the same thing is happening in other cities throughout Florida, in large part because the economy has been so strong for such a long time.

"It's not just Tarpon," he said.

DiPasqua said that 1999 was a record year for permit fees and other building-related numbers and thatthis year should far surpass last year's numbers.

Mayor Frank DiDonato said he thinks the increase can be attributed, in part, to a building department that has focused on becoming more user-friendly.

Some of the new homes are being built in subdivisions such as Harbor Oaks, near Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital, which eventually will have 160 homes, DiPasqua said. In all, the city has about a dozen subdivisions that are growing, he said.

"Most people think Tarpon is this old community, and you always hear that we're built out," he said. "But this volume is amazing."

Katherine Gazella can be reached at (727) 445-4182 or gazella@sptimes.com.

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