Thursday, September 27, 2007

Another thing that needs to change in Fort Wayne

One of the things that I am in favor of is streamlining the permit process and making it easier for businesses to operate in Fort Wayne.

My wife and I are purchasing 1/4 of an Office Condominium that is being built behind the Dupont Branch of the Allen County Library. We are currently the only tenant and we have designed our own space. We are very excited about it and we are moving in December 3rd of this year.

Our office area will be a little over 2100 square feet.

We plan on employing a total of eight people with fairly high paying white collar jobs. We expect to grow from two people to 8 people in less then four years. We are creating six new jobs in Fort Wayne that will pay an average of about $45,000 per year. You would think the City of Fort Wayne would be happy about our investment in Fort Wayne.

Such is NOT the case.

We do NOT qualify for a tax abatement due to the way Indiana law is written and so we will not get the tax abatements that many businesses in Fort Wayne rely upon. This is because we are buying an Office Condo and they are not individually eligible for a tax abatement. This is due to State Law not due to local laws.

As the Building is constructed a Fort Wayne inspector is required to inspect the project and ensure that everything is per code.

This has been a nightmare so far and it is something that needs to change in Fort Wayne. I want to give the readers of this blog some personal examples of things that have occurred on the building that my wife and I are purchasing 25% of. Please realize that an almost IDENTICAL building was constructed down on Scott Road less then four years ago...

1. The Inspector representing the City of Fort Wayne insisted that the builder add "Hurricane Ties" to the tresses. I do not know if this is needed; however, we do not have a lot of hurricanes in Fort Wayne and I know of other buildings that do not have them. So now the building has "Hurricane Ties."

At the very least we should either require them on all similar buildings or not require them. Fort Wayne should be consistent. The almost IDENTICAL building on Scott Road does NOT have "Hurricane Ties."

2. The Inspector representing the City of Fort Wayne insisted that the stairway be modified because 2 or 3 steps did not have the required width or clearance. We changed the stairway so that it is a straight stairway and that is not a big deal. Note that the office building that was built four years ago has stairways identical to those that could not be built today.

This is something that should be consistent.

3. This is the big one and nearly caused HUGE problems. Originally the Inspector representing Fort Wayne was not going to allow a second floor to be constructed because he did not feel our second floor would be compliant with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The office will have the following rooms on the 1st floor: Waiting area, Reception area, Conference Room, Break Room, Bath Room, and five offices.

The office will have the following rooms on the 2nd floor: A storage room and a sixth office.

The Inspector was not going to allow a second floor to be built at all since it would not be handicapped accessible unless a lift or elevator was installed.

Our Architect was able to get the Commercial Building Inspector who represents The City of Fort Wayne to change his mind and everything is ok. We can have our second floor and we do not need an elevator. (Thank Goodness)

I think this post helps illustrate some things I think need to be changed in Fort Wayne.

I know a couple of City Councilmen who read this blog and I know several candidates who read this blog. Please do something to fix this problem.

Fort Wayne needs more high paying jobs and The City of Fort Wayne needs to work with businesses rather then against them.

I want to talk about ADA compliance for a couple of paragraphs.

I have no problem with having reasonable standards for disabled Americans.

It is NOT reasonable that disabled Americans be able to get up onto the second floor of a Commercial Office Building that has almost everything on the first floor.

If we employ someone who is disabled we are smart enough to give them a main floor office and they do not have to be able to get into our storage room...

Our clients will not need to have access to our storage room or to our sixth office.

Come on...

Mike Sylvester

P.S. Does anyone think that our second floor should be ADA accessible and we should have to install an elevator?

6 comments:

J Q Taxpayer said...

Mike

The ties are referred to as TORNADO TIES. They are fairly new in requirements and not all contractors know about it. The idea with level one and many straight line winds the roof will not peel off. This is also requred in the county

The stairway again is a modification of the old code. It deals with access and BS. But it would apply in the county.

Thank federal law for the third. The second you built the formal office on the second floor it should be made so anyone under ADA rules can use it. The Commercial Inspector figured out the loop hole in the law. He could have forced you to do the elevator.

All of the regs you talked about come from the State and Feds. The City or County can not option them out of them.

Thank big brother for them.

John B. Kalb said...

I'm seeing more and more that Geoge Orwell was about 25 years to soon in his "1984" - IT'S ALL HAPPENING IN 2007!! Big Brother - News-Speak (read Pat Roller)- et al
Perhaps I should be happy that I am going to be 72 next month - I will soon be "otta here" John B. Kalb

J Q Taxpayer said...

John, you do make a valid point of getting out of here. Never thought of it that way before.

Gosh, with all this other crap going on you just wonder what things will be like in 4-8 years.

Heck, by then maybe we will use nine rubber stamps and one council president. He can run around the table and stamp all the papers.

Well, I need to going as I have to check for some dirt that may be under the rug. You just never know where you will find some.

Have a good one

AmericanWhiteGuy said...

Mike,

You've brought up some valid concerns. The only thing I would add is that all building permits and inspections are handled by the ALLEN COUNTY BUILDING DEPARTMENT. There maybe have been an inspector who works primarily with Fort Wayne Commercial projects, but these are COUNTY regulations. The same rules apply in Fort Wayne, New Haven, Monroeville, Grabill, Huntertown, Leo-Cedarville, and everywhere else in Allen County.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

JQ Taxpayer:

Thanks for pointing out they are "Tornado Ties."

Is sounds like you know something about these; are they something that SHOULD be required here?

One thing you say I disagree with; I think the local Government can choose to interpret them liberally and not enforce the more egregious sections.

Mike Sylvester

J Q Taxpayer said...

Mike,

The "Tornado Ties" I think was pushed by the insurance industry. I was told it costs like $90 a house for cost and labor. So if it saves 1 house in 100,000 it paid for itself from an insurance compay view point.

I think if I build again I would want them for $90 or so. Will I ever need them. Hope not!

It is like issues we debate from time to time on what a building rule says.

Keep in mind, if someone comes to your building and has a problem over access to the 2nd floor office with regards to ADA you are still on the hook.

It falls like this. You buy a new house. The electrical inspector signs it off. Before you move in it burns down because of bad wiring. You have NO claim against the building department. Opps.