Friday, August 25, 2006


Well the cat was out of the bag.

My developer was rehabbing a building a mere stone’s throw from our development.

As I was later to discover, it was not the only condo project he had done since he finished our conversion a few years ago.

But that’s neither here nor there.

There he was gutting and rehabbing literally in the shadow of my building---and without permits might I add.

I went and checked the city’s permit database for the address and found nothing.

If my memory serves me correctly my developer conceded in the informal hearing last year that this was his first development and therefore he wasn’t aware of all of the details and ordinances that went into the process.

I would suspect that his excuses would wear thin right about now.

Plus I got a copy of the tape-recorded proceedings just so I could make sure that my memory wouldn’t completely fail me.

How in the world could you either not know or “forget” to apply for construction permits on a building rehab?

Lord forbid that the roof above your head, the electricity within your walls and the plumbing that runs through the building would be safe, up to code and given the official stamp of approval by city inspectors.

Having an occupancy permit to ensure that the whole pile of bricks isn’t gonna cave in anytime soon is also helpful.

While I have my theories, I can’t comment on my developer’s state of mind or actions.

The only thing I could do is alert the Lord High Executioner to these latest developments and wait to hear back.

1 comment:

Paradise said...

Dear WW,

It baffles me that this guy could get away with starting on yet another development sans permits after botching your development and others.

Do we have to have a building totally collapse and kill everyone in it before the city cleans up the corruption? Or at least makes a good faith effort to ensure minimal compliance by lifting the business and contractor licenses of the most egregious repeat violators? What the hell does it take?

You will observe that every disaster involving a building you have ever heard of, like the Lincoln Park porch collapse, the E2 Club disaster, and the club fire in Rhode Island that killed 100 people, happened because of egregious code violations. These codes are written with human blood yet our city employees act as though they are frivolous.

If you are a big bucks developer, that is. Now, if some little homeowner so much as builds a backyard doghouse from a kit without a permit, he is looking at steep fines, so there is a flagrant double standard as usual: folks with big bucks are allowed to kill folks who have none or little.

It's not like people don't alert the city to these violations. Your blog is well known and frequently read. Neighbors constantly call. Suits are filed.

What needs to happen is for city employees who have been notified of such violations as you are writing of, to be looking at steep fines (five digits or more), certain job loss, and possible jail time for failure to enforce the codes when it can be documented that they were notified of violations and deficiencies yet failed to act upon them. I work in an occupation where I can be fined a year's salary or more for 'fail to supervise' because of something one of my brokers does that the regulators think I should have seen, and it's not like I make a great salary- I don't make much. Why are city employees exempt.

I don't know how to arrange for this to happen but I would like to hear from anybody who does.

In the meantime, I am terrified to buy into the schlocky, badly done, and outrageously overpriced quickie rehabs up here in RP, for fear of the expensive and possibly lethal surprizes that might await the unwary buyer and incompetent inspector.