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Hello, permit/inspection concerns in a looooong construction project. Thanks. Bill Glassmire

October 4, 2013
Hello Director Bilotta,

I trust that this finds you well.

I am writing on behalf of Ed Epley, a friend of mine and a resident of Ward 7. 
Mr Epley has asked me to pass on some problems he is having about the city’s 
permitting/inspection process.

In the late 1990’s Mr Epley obtained a permit, with no expiration date, to 
build a garage at his house, address 3053 NW Harrison Avenue. At that time the 
condition for keeping a permit valid was for the city to inspect the project 
every six months, at no cost to the permit holder, and verify that the 
construction was making progress. Mr Epley has been working on the garage 
alone, without help, and the city has verified progress every six months. The 
walls of the garage are done; what remains is to put on a roof.

At the most recent inspection, in September, the city inspector informed Mr 
Epley that the next inspection, in March 2018, would be the last and that he 
was required to complete the building by then. The city has not given notice to 
him before.

Mr Epley objects to the termination on short notice for two reasons: (1) the 
city is violating the conditions of the original permit; and (2) six months is 
not enough time for him to finish the garage.

The city stopped issuing indefinite-term permits sometime around 2001. At that 
time, and since, Mr Epley has asked three people who have been on the City 
Council what would happen with his permit. They all told him that the permit 
would be grandfathered.

Mr Epley is willing to discuss a schedule for completing the garage, but he 
disagrees strongly with the city’s order to finish by March 2018, both because 
the city made the decision without consulting him and because he cannot finish 
the garage in six months.

This is a second issue: At the September inspection the city also added a 
requirement that Mr Epley re-inspect some used lumber which he intends to use 
for the roof of the garage. The lumber was recovered intact from a building 
which burned about 2010 at the Partners Place site. Mr Epley has kept the used 
lumber in good condition, so he believes that re-inspection is unnecessary. 
Further, re-inspection would add considerably to his construction costs.

Could someone from the Department of Housing and Community Development review 
Mr Epley’s concerns and talk to him? He does not use email. His telephone 
number is 541-752-3152.

I hope that the city and Mr Epley can reach a mutually agreeable resolution. If 
I can help with that, please let me know. Thanks.

Best wishes,
Bill Glassmire