Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Next Problem

Now that the floor has been removed we can’t really move ahead on anything else until the rest of our permits are issued.  It has been a few weeks since we got them the names of our contractors so I figured it was a good time to stop over and see where we stood.  We were told that the zoning officer had yet to sign off on the plans and he was leaving in a few days for vacation so we should speak to him if we wanted anything in the next two weeks.

We figured that getting his sign off wouldn’t be a problem.  Back before we signed the lease we spoke extensively with zoning to make sure there wasn’t going to be an issue or a repeat of Manasquan.  After the warm reception in Manasquan one of our top priorities when looking for a new place was that it did not require a zoning variance.  

After a few conversations, we determined that the building was zoned properly and we could move forward with our plan.  The zoning officer told us that they would be required to sign off on any plans for construction but that shouldn’t be a problem now that we cleared from a zoning perspective. 

So we got a hold of the zoning officer, expecting a quick sign-off ,when the first thing they told me after looking at the plans was that I could not put our glycol chiller outside the building where we had planned.  We were told that it appeared as thought a variance would be needed to put the chiller in the parking lot on the side of the building.  

The only way they would know if I needed a variance was if I submitted a site plan of the property including the proposed location of the chiller.  In order to submit a site plan I needed an updated survey of the property—which we didn’t have.  That meant hiring a surveyor and getting an engineer or architect to turn that survey into a site plan.  And that wasn’t the worst part.  We then needed to go before the board the get the variance approved—which would require hiring an attorney and planner to represent us.  Having lived through that process before, I realized that it could take months and cost thousands of dollars.

They claimed the issue was that the chiller would take up space along the side of the parking lot and may obstruct the flow of traffic.  My understanding is that according to code we need 12 feet on both side of the driveway in addition to any space the chiller may take up.  Without an accurate survey and plan they couldn’t tell if there was sufficient room for the unit.  

The best part of this discussion was that there is an existing air conditioning unit next to the proposed chiller location that takes up as much space in the driveway as our new unit would.  The air conditioner has been there since the building was completed in the 1980s without issue.  We were told who ever did that did it without proper permission so it was irrelevant to this matter.  

So now were back to the drawing board on the chiller and we need a solution before the zoning officer goes on vacation or we have to wait another two weeks for permits. 

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