Power Breakfast: Permitting homes improves, retail foreclosures, solar cells, Ponzi scheme

It’s yet another sign of the times. Atlanta’s permitting process, long ridiculed by homebuilders as one of the worst bureaucratic messes in the city, is functioning quite well now — just in time for very little business.

Obtaining a permit for a single-family home, the simplest type of construction, often took as long as four months, AJC reporter Bill Torpy writes. Some builders would avoid the city altogether rather than deal with the process.

It got so bad, the Home Builders Association sued the city. A settlement was reached that guaranteed that after December 2006, it would take no longer than 60 days to permit a single-family home and after June 30, 2007, just 30 days.

“They hit those marks,” Chris Burke, vice president for the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association, told Torpy. “Just in time for a recession.”

By the end of September of this year, the city had permitted 114 single family homes, including just three in February. By comparison, the city permitted 178 homes in October 2006 alone.

“I’d rather be complaining about how hard it was getting permits,” said Jim Brown, a builder in Atlanta for 30 years. “Right now it’s great down there because there’s no one there.”

From one extreme to another.

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