Pickerington and Violet Township weren't immune to downturns in home building and the economy in 2008.

Pickerington and Violet Township weren't immune to downturns in home building and the economy in 2008.

The number of permits issued to residential developers last year dropped by 50 percent in Violet Township and Pickerington saw an even greater decrease.

According to Pickerington building officials, the city issued 50 building permits for single-family homes in 2008. That was down from 119 single-family permits issued in 2007.

In Violet Township, single-family building permits dropped from 46 in 2007 to 23 last year.

The decreases are reflective of the cooling of the home sales nationwide, including central Ohio.

Last week, the Columbus Board of Realtors announced the number of homes sold in central Ohio fell from 24,445 in 2007 to 21,153 last year, a 13.5 percent drop.

"It sounds like it's all market conditions," said Paul Lane, Pickerington's building inspections administrator. "I don't know of any other factors."

In Pickerington, home builders pay permit fees, as well as water, sewer, storm water and impact fees when issued a building permit. Last year, $476,706 was generated from those activities and deposited in the city's general fund.

Violet Township, however, doesn't provide water, sewer and storm water services. Fees from its building permits are designed to cover building plan examinations and home inspections, but township officials said they're falling short.

"I only collected about $30,000 from the fees last year and that doesn't cover our full-time home inspector," said Bill Yaple, Violet Township director of operations.

He said the township received $64,536 from residential permit fees in 2007. In 2008, that figure was down to $36,170.

One area of optimism locally came from commercial development in Pickerington. In 2007, the city issued 102 commercial building permits, including six for new builds. Violet Township issued a total of 10 commercial permits in 2008.

Last year, 113 commercial permits were issued in the city, including eight for new builds.

"The surprising thing that stands out to me is the eight new commercial properties," Lane said. "In previous years, we were between four and six. I have absolutely no explanation."