Saturday, February 25, 2012

Building-permit complaints in Phoenix increased in 2011

Building-permit complaints in Phoenix increased by several hundred between 2010 and 2011, but far more cases were resolved before the city took them to court.

According to the Phoenix Planning and Development Department, the number of complaints rose to 1,446 from 1,135 between 2010 and 2011. The number of court cases dropped from 54 to six.

About half the increase in complaints can be attributed to a home appraiser who noted differences between homes he inspected and public records, said Mo Glancy, the department's deputy director.

Many of the rest are the result of "house flippers," investors who buy and remodel foreclosed homes without the necessary permits, he said.

About two-thirds of the violations were resolved in both years, simply by notifying the project owner who followed through with the required permits, Glancy said. Most of the others could not be verified, did not involve an active project or were the result of neighbor or family disputes, he said.

Glancy said responsibility for permit enforcement switched from the Neighborhood Services Department to the Planning and Development Department in August 2010, accounting for the drop in court cases.

"It is hard to get a resolution through the court," Glancy said. "We have tried to make resolution easy" by working with homeowners and contractors.

Phoenix issued about 20,000 building permits last year, about two-thirds of them for residential projects.

Most violations are the result of confusion about the requirements, which are in place to protect public health and safety, Glancy said. The city does not have enough personnel to check all projects but will follow up on complaints.

The cases that go to court are the most serious violations, Glancy said. In one case, a wedding facility went into operation without the needed permits, even though the owner had been alerted. That case is still in the works.

by Michael Clancy - Feb. 23, 2012 10:00 PM The Republic | azcentral.com




Building-permit complaints in Phoenix increased in 2011

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