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Letter to the editor: Maybe it wasn't 'bureaucratic maze'

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 12:01 am

Mr. Leininger,

I am not sure how to take your column from Jan. 19 on the “bureaucratic maze.”

You blame the government in 90 percent of the article, but in the end mention that the design professionals need to know and follow the procedures.

I have initiated and managed many new construction, remodel and building additions from the owner’s side in the past 30 years. In these projects I have encountered many issues. The problems have ranged from design/code oversights from architects to contractor errors, restrictive code ordinances and regulation interpretation problems.

That is the reason that I, as the owner’s representative on a project, stay involved from conception to C of O. I evaluate the architects I use to try and make sure they provide complete information in their submittals, inspect our contractors’ work to make sure what is being built is what we want and built correctly, maintain communication with the government to argue interpretation of ordinances, and request changes of ordinances when they are too restrictive or unrealistic.

Several years ago, we started communication with the mayor, county commissioners and with department heads to show our concern with what we consider restrictive Allen County ordinances and in some cases a departmental lack of commitment.

With the startup of the Joint Permitting Oversight Board (JPOC), I was asked to be involved as a stakeholder. From my perspective, the position of ombudsman was created to help work with companies looking into starting up in Allen County and to act as a mediator when a roadblock arises on any project. The ombudsman is not able to review every permit application and guess where a problem will arise.

The streamlining process is moving. Not as fast as some of us would like, but it is moving. The fact that I was able to log on and see the history of the Franciscan Center permits is a good example. This week the Phase II of the city and county ordinance drafts were open for public input, and in the spring the next phase of ordinance revision will be reviewed. Improvements are coming.

To sensationalize the problems encountered by the Franciscan Center for a headline is typical of the media these days. Play on sympathy instead of facts. I think if you look at the root cause of their problem, you will find it was not the “bureaucratic maze.”

Bruce Watson