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Building permits returned to more normal levels in 2018 after two unusually large years, both in number and dollar amount.

There were 32 building permits issued last year, with a total valuation of $3,293,866. Commercial development represented most of the value. Nine permits for commercial construction equaled $2,613,502 in new valuation. Building and Zoning Administrator Janet Johnson said most of that came from the construction of the new Seventh Day Adventist Church, which falls within the city’s two-mile zoning jurisdiction.

Other large commercial builds included the Runza building and the remodeling projects at Bomgaars and McDonald's.

Twelve residents constructed additions or made alterations to their homes, while five added garages. In all, 21 residential permits valued at $505,364 were issued. One permit for a multi-family unit was also issued with a value of $175,000.

The $3.2 million total is down by more than $10.7 million from 2017, when 49 permits were issued for more than $14 million in construction. Permits were also unusually high in 2016, when 47 were issued for a total valuation of more than $11.4 million. Those two years included large construction projects at Chadron State College, the Chadron Area Aquatics and Wellness Center, Holiday Inn Express and the Nebraska Department of Transportation’s new building.

In comparison, 30 permits were issued in 2015 and 38 in 2014. The valuation of construction projects in those two years were just over $1 million and $5.1 million, respectively.

“It really is in line with our normal numbers,” Johnson said of this year’s summary.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s new construction is ongoing this year, with the church planning to begin using its new building west of town sometime in April. The church was also granted a re-zoning request Monday, when it asked the Chadron City Council to consider re-zoning its current church. The church, located in the 600 block of Bordeaux Street, has historically been zoned as an R1 low density residential district. The church requested a designation of R2 urban family residential in order to make selling the property easier.

The church has between 7,000-8,000 square feet, said Chuck Kutchara, the church’s treasurer. That’s large for a single family dwelling, and the new designation will allow for the building to be remodeled as a duplex or office space, he explained.

Johnson said the use of the space as medical or general offices would still require a special use permit, even with the re-zoning, but would open up a few more possibilities for potential buyers. The entire block directly north of the church is already zoned R2.

No members of the public spoke for or against the zoning request, and the council voted to approve it 4-1. Council member Cheryl Welch cast the lone vote against the request, remarking that she would like to have a firmer idea of what the building will be used for under new ownership before approving the request.

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