Letter – City’s building permit process needs changes, improvements

Published 5:29 pm Friday, September 30, 2022

To the Editor:

Now that we have the decision for Project 460 behind us, it is time to address some of the inadequacies’ that became apparent during the discussion period and of inadequacies I personally encountered when applying for a building permit.

  1. For very large projects that will impact the city significantly, the mayor and city council need to be made aware of the application early in the process to allow questions and input. At their determination the public needs to be brought into the decision making before large sums of money are spent by both the city and the applicant.
  2. The application process for homeowners needs to be streamlined. There needs to be a system where the homeowner can be aware of the progress of an application. This could either be phoning the department or through a website that is kept current. Presently the response is that the application is in the process of being reviewed and the applicant should go home and twiddle your thumbs for up to 90 days.

A committee including homeowners and service contractors need to be included in this revision process.

  1. An in-depth study of solar farms needs to be conducted before any more decisions are made regarding their zoning. All the pros and cons need to be investigated including:
  • The impact of home values for nearby properties,
  • The loss of agricultural land,
  • The visual impact to the community
  • Dual use of land such as raised panels that allow crops or grazing underneath
  • Use of carports over parking areas that hold solar panels
  • Co-op projects to decrease energy costs to residents
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Lastly, I want to point out that the corridor along U.S. 58 is not a dumping ground for all the projects nobody else wants.

Dr. M. Jane Casey

Suffolk