Newspaper Archive of
The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
March 21, 2012     The New Era Paper
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March 21, 2012

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- March 21,2012 VouR COMMUNITV Page 7 Confusion over permits clearing up, city officials say By Scan C. Morgan Of The New Era A difference of opinion among staff members of the city Commu- nity Development Department and its building division led to confu- sion over the last few years when an occupancy permit was required, a problem that has been resolved by the use of a private contractor, city officials say. The department is overhauling its processes to make the building division more user-friendly. Questions about how to apply the occupancy permit requirement, a part of state building code, were resolved last year when the city began contracting for building of- ficial services. Until 2007, the city had never required occupancy permits, said Community Development Direc- tor Carol Lewis. The city began requiring the permits because they were part of the building code, but contention arose over the follow- ing years over when and how they should be implemented. The de- partment kept refining it from that point forward, trying to make sure the city was following the code. Last April, for internal reasons, the city began using the Building Department, an LLC based in Eu- gene, as the city's building official, Lewis said. She had previously worked with the company for plan reviews when she worked in To- ledo. The city has had buiiding of- ficials in the past, depending on the certification of it.,, huildin,g in,pet tors. Lewis said. Currently. Sweet Home has two half-time build- ing inspectors. Building officials administer and enforce building codes, while building inspectors complete on-site inspections and plan reviews. With the new building official. the city began resolving the ques- tions about the occupancy permit requirement. "Thi c0ntinucd to bc an issue that was raised every time we had Lewis said. Unlike other cities, Sweet Home's pre-app process is free. Most people do not know when they are changing classifica- tion, Lewis said. "You" might want to come in and ask." One situation that recently came up was a space to be set up as a "classroom," Lewis said. The space had been used for an office. The business plan was for meeting with one to three people at a time, educating them. It was not a class- room in the sense of a school. The city determined that it was not a change in classification and there- fore did not require an occupancy permit. The building process is run- ning smoothly from the city's per- spective, Lewis said, and members of the building division are meet- ing and working on new ways of doing things to simplify the build- ing permit process. The idea is to reduce the need for repeat visits and make require- ments clearer, Lewis said. The ef- fort to change the process grew out of a newspaper article that quoted Economic Development Director Brian Hoffman on making things easier to promote economic devel- opment. Building Department employ- ees told city officials that the initial permit application packet was huge and suggested changing it, Lewis sai& "We're working on that right now," Lewis said. "People that are department is simplifying forms think we could do it better" and applying for permits should start and information materials so that make it easier foe customers. noticing quickly." builders do not find out their ap- The city changed many forms The changes will make theplications are incomplete and they over the past year, Lewis said. It is process less intrusive and easier must go out, gather more informa- changing the check lists and mak- to navigate for those who may be tion and return repeatedly, ing things more consistent. unfamiliar with the process, Lewis The building inspectors and This is the most comprehen- said. The city's clientele has a di- offiCials will make instructions sive review of the process that she verse level of knowledge when it clearer, letting contractors know is aware of, Lewis said. It'll change comes to building codes and the exactly what they must accomplish again in the future, but these chang- building permit process, to pass inspections, including the es are good and will help improve The process can frustrate con- words "provide" or "revise" on the building permit experience. tractors, and when they get frus- each instruction following an in- For more information about trated they tell other people about spection, Lewis said. The process permits, call the building division the experience, Lewis said. The wasn't really wrong before, but "I at (541) 367-7993. Suspect arrested after gas station hold-up A Sweet Home man was arrested early Tues- day morning, March 20, after allegedly robbing the Shell gas station and convenience store at 1306 Main St. earlier in the evening, Police Chief Bob Burford said. Jason Wesly Brown, 39, was arrested after Sweet Home police officers found evidence con- nected'to the holdup of the gas station, which oc- curred at approximately 9:45 p.m. Monday night. According to Burford, a man wearing a mask entered the store, confronted the clerks and threat- ened them with a k~ife while demanding cash. He then fled the business, running southeast across Highway 20, carrying an undisclosed amount of cash. Police, using witness statements and video surveillance, were later able to identify a suspect, Burford said. A few hours later, police went to the Brown's Delicious D isco u 11 ts ! Choose one of these great m o n e v s a v i n g coupons today! Call The New Era 34 1 .367.2 1 35 Ar]\ ~'1 liSill~ u '4\X ('C~]ItlIltCIIt'X\ q.t ()111 a pre-app with someone," Lewis [k said. "All this controversy swirled aroundit." H rr]b The city had required that ne w a H Fg e r wii:h'{TroronionenChrin s(ries , businesses and new owners obtain home, located a few blocks from the robbery and learned that he had driven to Leba- non. PIainclothed officers went to Lebanon and located Brown at Shaft's Restaurant. While they were interview- ing him, he asked to use the restroom. As soon as he had left the restroom area an of- Jason Brown ricer entered and found cash that had been hidden inside, Burford said. At approximately 4:40 a.m. a search warrant was served at Brown's home, 1201 15th Ave. Bur- ford said officers found and seized evidence related to the robbery and recovered the weapon used. Brown was charged with first-degree robbery and was transported to Linn County Jail. I- I I I Come check out our new menu items, including breakfast I I I MR LUCKY'S ,S DELICIOUS & LOTTO FUN 1207 LONG ST.R_=EI 367-3040 L. ~ _1 an occupancy permit, which re- Mon-Thursday7am-2:30pm V ~' quires the building to meet fire, life ~ Fri - Sun 6am - 2:30pro ,. and safety codes, even if the classi- Limit coupon per table d * fication of business or the business A F E Coupon required. Expires3/31/12 1 6099 2Oo 67"4149 itself did not change C 1333 Main Streel, Sweet Home OR 54t-36743433 ~ ' ' .... It was not something that ,,e._ ,,e_ ,,e_ ThechangedbuildinginOnecodedaY,includesLewis sepa-Said" I RIm~mm . i mm . . 4ram " NO" SUBSTiTUTIONSmm . mm mmWITH. COUPON" " "EXPIRES" "03/~,n2n" -u ,/I I INi 11t I Sweet Home ', rate sections for new buildings and 'ZFIIRI :: ""*" i existing buildings, n II ~ I J II/Pqll 1323 Main Street I / ,~. I', ', t I Department officials started I I AI ,,,,,, j,b _q looking at the existing buildings" | section, which says that the occu- n HAMBURGER OR E ' i1'1 lil:l *lu.uu W1 l'o! i TAKE & BAKE i pancy permit triggers only when the I CHEESEBURGER K " i 81.00 TO Bake , use of a building involves a change I in classification, Lewis said. For n BUY ONE REGULAR HAMBURGER n ', I=II ILI N' Canadian bacon, sausage and pepper0ni, i example, a building where a busi- SECOND ', Limit 3. Meatza Pizza -- Expiration date 3/30/2012 ', ness sells socks changing to some PIZZA Valid at participating locations only. Void with other offers. J type of manufactt ring would prob- ably trigger the occupancy permit requirement. Simply changing business owners does not trigger the per- mit requirement, Lewis said. Even changing what the businesses does not necessarily mean the require- ment is triggered. New construction and other improvements may trigger it, she said. "We still tell folks it's a good idea to come in and do a pre-app," i FREE Egg McMuffin with purchase of i any McCafe I espresso i beverage I i i i i I wh01es0mel= breakfast J! choices |11 | IValid only at Sweet Home, OR McDonald's. INot valid wRh any other offer, discount, coupon or /J lineal Limit one coupon per person per visit. Cash ~ w ue t/20 of 1 cent, Expires March 31, 2012 i'm lovir itl ill ~i i il il i I~ mR i i i mm i ii i nil i i /ii~iiii!i : I g mm i i 2 EGGS i AND 2 BACON OR 2 SAUSAGE LINKS AND COFFEE | LIMIT 1 PER CUSTOMER ] EXPIRES 3/31/12 I coUPON REQUIRED m Stop in and check out our low calor[e/low fat"Lose for Life" menu. Eating better can be tasty! i 6305 MAIN STREET, SWEET HOME, OR 97386 - (541 367-1560 ]