Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rules of Order

If you remember my “Dropping The Ball” post, it seems that the DCAP, The Revenue Department & The Department of Buildings didn’t quite know their head from their ass.

My questions and concerns prompted a flurry of e-mails. I also learned a few things in the process.

In fact those departments, do know their heads from their ass. Moreover, now that the oversight(s) has been uncovered, steps are being taken to correct the issue.

The e-mail below is the initial one sent by the Lord High Executioner (LHE):

It has come to my attention that developer's who fail to get licenses are still being allowed to get permits. As I understand the code requirements, developers must get licenses in order to receive permits.

I have a couple of questions.

First, is there any process that prevents permits from being issued to developer's who fail to get licenses? (DCAP?)

Second, if the City becomes aware that a developer lacks a license, is there a mechanism to revoke/suspend the permit that has been issued? (DCAP/DBAL?)

If we have a requirement that developer's must get licenses and they fail to do so, there should be some way to keep them from getting permits or, at least, punish them once we find that the permit has been issued.

I have a specific example where the developer has received a permit (after three previous stop work orders for not having the proper permit) has sold units and is selling more, and never received the required developer's license.

Should he have been prevented from getting this permit? Now that he's received it, can we take measures to revoke it?

(I) Would appreciate your thoughts on this.

And the response…

Currently, we have a process in place that prevents a non-licensed General Contractor from obtaining a permit. We cannot do the same with a Developer because the definition of a Developer is someone who will buy, fix & SELL the property. I can ask someone if they plan on "selling" when they apply for a permit, but if they say no, there is nothing I can ask for to prove otherwise.

I can though revoke a permit or void a pending application if DBAL tells me that the property owner was required to obtain a Developer's license. DBAL would only be able to prove that a property owner should have been a developer when the property owner, in fact, attempts to SELL. We spoke of this briefly yesterday during our meeting.

Just last month, DBAL sent me a list of property owners who had obtained permits, not obtained their developers license, and are now in the process of "selling". I've since voided all of their permits and sent them, & XXXX correspondence indicating such. DBAL has also issued "cease & desist" orders against them.

So, in summary . . . is there a process to prevent a Developer from obtaining a Permit if he/she has not obtained their license? No. Is there a process that allows us to revoke a permit once the "intent" to sell is proven? I believe we've just created one as of last month. Can we fine them for allegedly lying? We could probably pursue a "false statement" action, but I would ask if reference to such is made on the developer's license application.

Methinks a major announcement from the city about residential development may be on the horizon.

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