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Dickinson's multi-million dollar growth, major increase in permits

Permits for multi-family housing in Dickinson, like Dickinson's Dakota West apartments pictured Tuesday above, have increased significantly in September and the last year, officials said Tuesday.

Dickinson's recent growth may already be challenging the city's resources, but officials said Tuesday that building permit numbers have increased significantly and the city could see more growth before the end of the year.

"It really puts a lot of pressure on city staff to keep up with growth," Dickinson Mayor Dennis Johnson said. "While we welcome the growth it is a challenge to manage it."

Through September, the city has issued more than $97 million worth of building permits. During the same period last year, that value stood at nearly $44 million. Last month alone saw the issuance of more than $39.32 million in permits.

With an oil boom in western North Dakota fueling Dickinson's growth, City Planner Ed Courton said it was a busy month. Categories experiencing the most significant increases in permit issuances include commercial and multi-family housing.

With 33 commercial permits granted through September, the city issued nearly double the number of last year's 18. Multi-family housing permits are at 66 -- nearly triple last year's number.

And those aren't the only growing numbers. Courton said the assessed value for new commercial structures in September was $32.92 million.

"Just in one month we have had three times the assessed value," Courton said. "That just shows you the complexity and large developments we are having compared to last year."

The main contributors to the increase in permit values are hotels, commercial projects and industrial projects, Courton said. The larger buildings have higher values.

"Compared to a couple years ago, we were building smaller buildings," Courton said. "Over the last year or so we have been building bigger complexes."

The next few months could be even busier.

"There is the big push before the winter," Courton said. "More and more people are coming in trying to get their projects moving forward before the winter happens."

Construction companies have also noticed the increase. Kolling and Kolling Inc. President Kim Kolling said his company is "extremely busy."

"We are turning work down," he said. "We can't go fast enough. It seems like it is only going to get worse."

Courton said the city could see a growth of 20 percent to 30 percent next year.

Johnson said how much growth the city will see will depend on oil production.

"It's really hard to predict how much growth is heading our way," Johnson said. "As long as prices remain stable, we are going to grow."