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Poor Economy Cuts Into Construction in Easton

EASTON, Conn. – It might not look like it, but residents are still building in Easton. They are just doing it in small, less expensive ways, according to Building Official Bill Martin.

Of the hundreds of permits that come into his office throughout the year, Martin says he has seen a slow decline of large construction projects such as new homes. Instead, he is seeing more and more residents applying for additions, remodeling and basement refinishing permits.

The only major construction project that Easton has seen in the past few years, Martin said, is the new animal shelter on Morehouse Road. When asked the cause of the new building trend, Martin blamed the poor economy but said he couldn’t say for sure.

For 20 years, Robert Maquat has served on the Easton Planning and Zoning Commission and said he, too, believes the lack of major construction in town is caused by the poor economy. “What is evident is that the poor economic conditions, as it pertains to Easton, has shown a reduction in the conventional applications that we would normally see, such as plans to subdivide, and now it is more additions,” said Maquat, who is the P&Z chairman.

Major projects loom on the horizon in Easton, Maquat said, citing the new animal shelter, the proposal for a new prayer center on South Park Avenue and a recent approval to build an addition at the Village Store on Sport Hill Road. But the town approved those projects more than a year ago, if not longer.

The problem, as in almost every town, Maquat said, is that Eastonites just don’t have the financial means to build right now. On the flip side, he said, because of the lack of jobs available in the area, no one is moving into Easton, either.

“Job creation and population growth in Connecticut certainly has not been strong, and because of that there is not a real draw for people to come to Easton,” Maquat said.

“We’re not immune, we certainly have been affected just like the many other surround towns,” he said. Once the economy picks up, Maquat expects to see more building applications come his way.

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