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Fines proposed for construction laggards

Original post made on Nov 13, 2013

Seeking to clamp down on mysterious, blight-inducing and seemingly never-ending construction projects, Palo Alto is preparing to adopt a new law that would fine residents with expired building permits.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 4:34 PM

Comments (8)

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Posted by JM
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 13, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Interesting. There are some odd job sites around here. The "twin dome" house on Maybell next to Briones Elementary is pretty weird and has been stalled for years. I don't know the details of projects like that, but if some incentive to get it done would work, then I'm for it. But if somebody is caught in a bad spot financially and not in a position to move the project forward, it would be sort of rude to pile on.

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Posted by Sue
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 13, 2013 at 10:39 pm

What about projects that continue to have the permit renewed but make little or no progress? A permit shouldn't be renewed without measurable progress being completed.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Like Mitchell Park library, for example.

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 13, 2013 at 11:32 pm

@Resident, did the Mitchell Park Library permits ever have an expiration date?

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Posted by david
a resident of University South
on Nov 14, 2013 at 11:56 am

Our building permit application says that the permit expires if work is not started within 180 days or if work is suspended or abandoned for 180 days. Whether or not the work is suspended will be a value judgement on the part of the city and probably should be. It should be easy with the projects that are clearly abandoned and leaves plenty of leeway to people that find real unforeseen problems. I do see the lack of an absolute limit or benchmarks scary. One can make any project stretch out to 5 years without trying too hard and still be making progress especially if the bar for what constitutes progress is low enough.

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Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 14, 2013 at 2:17 pm

When we lived in another state, if you weren't done with your project within a year (and they were pretty flexible with people that had real issues) you had to reapply for a new permit and pay ALL the fees again. Big incentive to get done.

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Posted by Oh My
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 14, 2013 at 4:39 pm

City Of Palo ordinances already regulates permitted structures under construction that have been abandoned or have not maintained building inspections or construction progress. Part of the problem is that the city employs a Chief Building Official who is unwilling to enforce current ordinances or has no knowledge of the current city ordinances. Hiring a manager who is inept or chooses not to enforce current regulations does not require creating a duplication of ordinances already on record. Maybe we should ask why the current City Manager, City Attorney, and Chief Building Official are unwilling to enforce current regulations.

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Posted by localmom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Our neighbor has been doing construction for what I understand is ~30 years, somewhere around 20 with no permits for the last 10 with permits. Ten years ago a neighbor got the city involved and he has permits. Every Saturday 9am sharp he starts, our only recourse has been calling the cops for Sundays/Holidays and after 6pm. It doesn't seem neighborly to call the cops, but then again permanent construction next door isn't very neighborly either.
I don't expect this to change our situation, but I would prefer an abandoned construction site over the constant one.

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