Windsor, a town that once worried about rampant growth, has seen residential construction slow dramatically, to the point that no new homes have been built this year.
But when the economy improves, that could change quickly with the backlog of 1,200 dwelling units with tentative and final approvals.
“The (lack of) financing is still stalling this,” Mayor Debora Fudge said last week as the council took its annual snapshot of growth and weighed more projects.
“We're cautiously doling out allocations because there are 1,200 in the wings,” she said of the council's approach to new applications.
The zero residential permits pulled or finalized in 2012 is a first for Windsor since it incorporated in 1992.
“Windsor was hysterical about rampant growth 20 years ago,” Fudge said. “Back in the years when we had 1,000 homes a year being built that was one of the reasons we wanted to incorporate.”
“We've come a long ways. It's an interesting time,” she said.
New residential construction is in the doldrums in the North Bay and many other parts of the country as well.
In the first six months of this year, Sonoma County builders obtained permits to build 210 houses, apartment and condominium units, their worst year in decades, according to data from the California Homebuilding Foundation.
That compares to a rough average of 2,200 new homes per year in the county over the last quarter century.
Windsor has seen a precipitous decline since 2005, when 229 new permits were issued. Last year, only 66 permits were finalized and that was for Windsor Redwoods, a heavily subsidized apartment project off Old Redwood Highway.
Town Council members have expressed qualms about the trend toward apartment projects as developers have retooled to build rental units instead of owner-occupied homes.
“I'm very concerned with the number of projects we have in the pipeline wanting to go forward,” Councilman Sam Salmon said this week.