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