April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Town opts out of home building permits

By HSJ Online [email protected]

The town of Hope is turning over the processing of residential building permits to Bartholomew County.

The Town Council approved the plan last week, which will save the town several thousand dollars a year.

Tim Shoaf, the town's building and zoning administrator and former Town Council member, said the town had been considering getting out of the building permit business for several years. The town has been paying the county $2,500 a year to handle the town's inspection workload, while the town collected the permit fees from residents. Last year, that only amounted to about $630, Shoaf said.

Shoaf said that by dealing with the county directly, builders will be able to speak with the people actually doing the inspections on any questions they may have.

"There are some things lacking between the way we issue permits and they go about inspecting," Shoaf said. "It makes it a little rough."

However, the county inspectors will not take any responsibility for zoning and town ordinance compliance, Shoaf said. For that, the town will still be in charge, he said.

"If a question comes up with a variance for setbacks, that still runs through the town," Shoaf said.

Shoaf said that the county also has systems in place to monitor the progress of work and to ensure that builders comply with the terms of their permit, while the town does not have that capability.

The agreement will also not cover commercial and industrial buildings and those will still run through the state.

The Town Council voted to approve the agreement at its meeting last week.

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