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Zoning Occupancy Permits?

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,209
Points
36
We have had a great deal of difficulty ensuring compliance with BZA/PC stipulations prior to and sometimes post-occupancy. The staff and members are frustrated with various miscreants that never fully comply with imposed conditions. We are the only two planners in a city of 40,000/22 sq. mi., with no Zoning Enforcement officer.

We have been considering using zoning occupancy permits to ensure that stipulations of approval are met prior to occupancy.

I searched this forum and didn't really find anything along these lines. The Building Commissioner will not withhold his CofO if the building has met local/state building codes (he says it is a liability issue for him).

Is anybody out there using them (or something akin)? If, yes, has your expereince been positive, negative, or in-between? Anybody know of any good links I could try?
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
After struggling with the Building Inspector issuing occupancy whenever building codes are met without regard to lighting, landscaping, etc. we finally have a system in place that addresses this stuff.

All building permits for commercial properties, no matter how small, are also routed through the Planning Dept. to ensure that the tenant that is doing the work has approvals to even be there.

When a project is approved, I make a memo to the Building Inspector with all of the conditions of approval, this is also sent to the applicant/building owner. When the tenant calls for the final occupancy inspection, I also go to the site to ensure that all of the landscaping is installed, the right building materials have been used, parking lot is laid out as approved, and make sure that all any other conditions of approval are met. If the building inspection concerns are ok, but the Plan Commission conditions are not met, we will issue a conditional occupancy, subject to all items being addressed within 60 days. If it is Nov-March, the landscaping can be delayed with a final install date of May 1.

Our building inspectors are contracted out, so they do what we tell them. I cannot imagine what the liability concerns are if he delays occupancy (or even issues a conditional occupancy permit).
 

Gedunker

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Messages
11,209
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ZOPs

Repo Man said:
I cannot imagine what the liability concerns are if he delays occupancy (or even issues a conditional occupancy permit).
Thanks,Repo Man you've given me a start. We handle every permit application in the city, including tenant finishes (just to verify that the finish doesn't include a small addition). Volume is somewhere over 600 by-right permits per year. All zoning-related cases tops out about 125 to 150 annually.

The BC says that if he withholds the CofO for non-building issues (e.g., anything outside the footprint of the building) he could be liable for costs associated with those delays. It's a non-starter for me, anyway, as we have never been able to synchronize building and planning.

We have gotten burned for a number of conditional occupancies because we tend not to have the teeth to withdraw the original CofO.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
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Moderator
Messages
9,902
Points
38
We simply have a checklist system, where the building inspector will not issue a CO until Fire, DPW, and Planning have signed off.

We do not issue temporary CO's, as we do not have the teeth to pull them. We will allow for a building to be occupied in certain circumstances, like landscaping not being completed, in accordance with this section of our site plan regs:

In circumstances that prevent landscaping to be completed (due to weather conditions or other unique circumstance), the Building Department may issue a certificate of occupancy prior to the completion of landscaping improvements, if agreed upon by the Planning & Public Works Departments, when a bond (see forms available from the Public Works Department) and agreement to complete improvements are placed with the Town. The landscaping shall be completed within 6 months from the issuance of the certificate of occupancy, or the Town shall utilize the bond to contract out the work to complete the improvements as stipulated in the agreement to complete landscaping improvements. No other improvements shall be permitted to bond for their completion for purposes of receiving a certificate of occupancy.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
We pretty much do exactly what Repo and NHP have stated. Plus, we have a change of use inspection requirements, so all new businesses are required to register with the City, and we catch them even if they are not pulling permits.



click here for the form
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
I don't deal wth inspections, so I can't be of much help there. With regard to conditional uses, though, we will sometimes grant a conditional use for a specific period, requiring a review in six months, a year, or whatever. These are typically associated with uses such as places serving alchohol (concerns over security, noise, vandalism, etc.), or automotive repair shops (often exceed the number of permitted vehicles in the lot, site maintenance issues, etc.).
 

Gedunker

Moderating
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Moderator
Messages
11,209
Points
36
ZOPs

Thanks, everybody.

Chet: the form looks good, I may modify it for use here. I appreciate it.

NHPlanner: wish we could bond 'em, but that is not permitted here by state statute -- only public improvements can be bonded in Indiana.
 
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