By William Tauro
Multiple complaints have been flowing in regarding the City of Somerville’s Inspectional Services Department.
The complaints range anywhere from holding up building permits to holding up complete jobsites ultimately costing the homeowners and their contractors seeking permits and holding up thousands of dollars in construction project delays.
When the homeowner hires a contractor to do a job for them and in most cases they require a permit for these services.
Contractors applying for building permits and/or seeking inspections for that job being done is where the majority of the problems are being discovered most of the time at Somerville ISD.
We can take for instance if an inspection is needed of a job where the walls are open and waiting for an inspector’s approval, the contractor and homeowner in many cases are forced to wait weeks and sometimes months before the inspection is done. This unforeseen problem is costing the homeowners and contractors a serious amount of money because the job is now standing still and the contractor will not get paid for the job in time by the homeowner because of the outrageous meaningless delay.
Is it that the Somerville Inspectional Services department is shorthanded? Is it that they don’t have qualified people to do the job as an inspector? Or is it that they don’t pay the competitive wages that these inspectors are worth to do their jobs where they then leave Somerville to go elsewhere for employment causing a ripple-affect on the shortfall of inspections?
The Somerville Inspectional Services is located at 1 Franey Road In Somerville and falls under the supervision of the Somerville Department of Public Works Commissioner Stan Koty.
The purpose of the Inspectional Services Department (ISD) is supposed to ensure the safety of residents and community members by enforcing city ordinances and state and federal codes relating to building construction and public health.
But the big question here is where is the problem in this broken system at Somerville Inspectional Services and most importantly what is being done so they can fix it?
The Building Division provides permitting, plan review, and related resources to ensure compliance with the Massachusetts State Building Code and Somerville Zoning Ordinance.
The Health Division provides residents and community members with high quality education, code enforcement, emergency services, and support to improve health and safety in the City.
The Weights and Measures Division enforces all State laws and regulations having to do with weights and measures, such as check-out scanners, taximeters, gasoline pumps, and supermarket scales.
And then you have your key licenses permits areas
Applications for permits and licenses can now being accepted online through the ISD’s CitizenServe portal. There, you can apply for a variety of City permits, including Health License and Permits, Business Licenses, Alcohol and Restaurant Licenses.
According to the City of Somerville’s website licenses and permits needed for Building Permits, Demolition Permits, Dumpster Licenses, Dumpster Hauler Licenses, Food Establishment Licenses, Pool Licenses, Body Art Licenses, Electrical Licenses, Farmers Market Licenses, Occupancy Licenses, Tanning Licenses, Temporary Food Permit Licenses,Garages for Auto Repairs and Parking, Used Car Dealers, Drain Layers, Extended Operating Hours (after midnight), Outdoor Seating or Goods on Public sidewalks, Hawker Peddlers, Junk Dealers, Signs and Awnings, Grants of Location, Public Events, Raffles and Bazaars, Restaurants (with alcohol) Common Victualers (restaurants without alcohol), Private Clubs, Farmer Pourers (breweries, distilleries, wineries), Inns, Educational Institutions, Package Stores, Entertainment (without on-premise food service)and Amendments to these licenses, and Special Alcohol Licenses, Special Farmer Wineries at Farmers Markets and more.
So again, how do we fix this major flaw in the Somerville Inspectional Services Department and where do we start?