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Building Permits


     The State Legislature is considering a bill, which has the potential to reduce the severe backlog of building permit applications in the building departments throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties, as well as reignite local economies, which have been unprecedently hampered by the pandemic.

     As any commercial or residential property owner who has done construction knows all too well, obtaining building permits is no easy feat. Not only do you need to provide extensive documentation and plans to the building department with your application, but you also need to wait months before your application has been reviewed and approved, causing inevitable delays in your construction plans. In fact, some municipalities are so backlogged that they are taking four or more months before even reviewing an application from the time it is submitted. With the pandemic hopefully coming to a close and people ready to move on – construction workers ready for work and property owners ready to pay for the work – such delays are untenable. All efforts must be made to stimulate the economy on Long Island.  

     This bill may be the answer. The bill proposes that “a city, town or village may establish a program whereby a building permit may be issued based upon certification by a registered architect licensed to practice in the state of New York or a professional engineer licensed to practice in the state of New York that the intended work as set forth in the building permit application…is in compliance with all local laws and ordinances.”  Should the State Legislature pass this bill, construction projects – which do not require any variances and are in compliances with all local rules - would be able to seamlessly proceed without unnecessary delays and hurdles. This will save property owners time and money with the inevitable result of stimulating the economy.

     There has been some opposition to the proposed bill – some are wary that safety considerations may be compromised in this effort to streamline construction. As the Civil Service Employees Association spokesman Mark Kotzin noted, “the primary responsibility of the municipal workers currently overseeing this work is to ensure the safety of building projects…Unfortunately, developers may have other motives, and allowing them to self-certify with only random municipal audits could lead to safety problems.” Therefore, it is vital that local officials continue to monitor the permit approval process to confirm that projects are being certified correctly and penalize offenders. Notably, the bill would expire in three years, enabling the backlog to ease and also time to determine whether such a self-certification program works.

     We at the Litt Law Group have extensive experience in the zoning and planning real estate field. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us should you have any questions.