by Andrew Getty
Every year during January and February things quiet down here in the Town of Webb Code Office.
The phones don’t ring as much, not too many people coming in to ask questions, few applications coming in and few permits going out.
These weeks give us the chance to catch up on that stuff, you know, that piles up, all that stuff we will get to some time.
During October, November and December, a lot of permits were issued for all kinds of construction, including new homes and major additions. A lot of concrete went in the ground in those months.
Now this office has been busy with all the follow-up inspections that follow the concrete for footings and foundation work. Framing, rough plumbing, electrical, insulation are the common stages.
So even though the phone and office activity has slowed, the field and site visit routine has stayed pretty steady.
The Webb Code Office just completed a “re-filing” project.
Tina, our office clerk, otherwise known as our boss (because she answers the phone, schedules all our inspections and office meetings and pretty much knows where everything is) transferred 18 stuffed, four-drawer file cabinets to three rotary-style, end tab cabinet units.
That’s nearly 7,000 files. What a difference in floor space!
Before the springtime workload starts to kick in, there is always that one last in-office job… house cleaning.
Shampoo the carpet, wipe the walls down, clean the desks and shelves, and get the dust out.
After a full year of contractors and homeowners—even us returning from muddy site inspections, dragging in dirt and mud—the floors are in dire need of cleaning.
Sure the place is vacuumed often; it still gets really, really dirty and dusty throughout. The last few years when we did this, the water in the carpet cleaner was black…twice!
Once the office has been cleaned, attention will be redirected to all these files on the desk. Files with various issues like waiting for a revised set of plans, an updated or new survey, and an engineer’s stamp to name a few. In most of these cases the applicant is in no hurry all because of the weather.
That will change when we get our first major blast of spring… then the phone starts ringing. A phone call from this office as a reminder is often helpful to the applicant.
Do you have a project you hope to do after the winter? Have you talked to your Code Office? Whether in Webb or elsewhere?
They are probably not too much different than here, slow season that turns quickly to a “emergency—gotta get it now” season.
What about the Adirondack Park Agency (APA)? Did you file your Jurisdictional Inquiry Form (JIF)? Is New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) or the Corp of Engineers involved?
Do you need to go to the local Planning Board? Or is what you want to do prohibited by local or regional regulations and your only alternative is to seek variances from the Town Zoning Board of Appeals and/or the APA?
Now is a great time to ask these questions and get all of the regulatory requirements done.
The APA, DEC, local Town… all of these agencies have a “slow” time and a “slammed” time. It’s human nature to wait to the bitter end.
Although all the agencies will try to accommodate all applications, inevitably, there will be some that get held up. Either by regulatory requirements like variances, board meetings and schedules, public hearing requirements or by simple re-designs to avoid a variance.
Don’t let that be you.
Because there is no doubt, once April starts sprouting flowers, it gets a little overwhelming in here.
And when that happens, someone always ends up spending more time than anticipated to get permits, and that creates problems to enjoy the summer or find contractors who have taken other work.
This little sketch has always been a favorite… it says a lot.