Saratoga Planning Commission issues stop work order on structure, hears applicant for commission seat
The Saratoga Planning Commission’s Tuesday meeting, mostly dealing with routine matters, was punctuated by the commission rescinding a building permit for a new structure being constructed in Saratoga.
The board also heard from one relatively new resident to Saratoga, a civil engineer, who expressed interest in being appointed to the board.
Randy Raymer, of R.G. Raymer Construction of Saratoga, approached the board at the meeting to bring attention to a home being constructed at 13th and Walnut Streets in the southwest corner of town. Raymer was quick to acknowledge the structure is being built by a competing firm, but his interests in the matter were not based on shutting down a competitor, but rather because Raymer lives in the neighborhood and he was concerned about the impacts structures that are not compliant might cause in town.
In the past, Raymer said, building would begin and would be allowed to continue before permits were finalized after the town and builders would strike up informal agreements.
Such informality, he said, caused issues around the town of noncompliant structures and infrastructure systems not properly expanded.
According to Raymer, the area in which the home is being constructed was originally subdivided years ago before the mortgage crisis. After the economy soured, the land sat empty for years with no building going on.
Then, early last week, construction began after a permit was issued.
Raymer said the permit was issued even though the town had not accepted a final plat of the subdivision, there was no water and sewer connection to the property and the DEQ had not signed off on the project.
The contractor also did not install improvements to the land, such as curbs, gutters, fire hydrants and street lighting, as required by ordinance.
The town issued the permit before the new zoning officer (AC) was slated to start work.
Raymer pointed out during his tenure on Town Council, there was a checklist anyone seeking a building permit would have to fill out before a permit was issued. The checklist required signatures from various boards, such as the sewer board, as well as others like the police and fire chiefs.
Only after the person had all the boxes checked would the town issue a building permit, Raymer said, before adding that the list went by the wayside, suggesting it may be a good idea to bring it back.
The board also heard from Saratoga Mayor Ed Glode who said he had met with the contractor building the home earlier in the day and discussed the issue. Glode said construction was underway and more building supplies were due to arrive.
After deliberating the board’s responsibility and legal authority, the board voted to issue a stop work order for the building.
The Saratoga Sun was unable to contact the contractor for comment by print deadline.
At the Tuesday meeting, the planning commission also heard from Jon Nelson, an engineer who recently opened a firm in Saratoga, and former resident of Denver.
Nelson said he was interested in the open position on the committee, and pointed out his experience as a civil engineer as a qualification for the seat. Nelson also told the board he moved to Saratoga from Denver because he appreciated Saratoga the way it is, not because he wants to change it.
Another person, Steve Heinitz, was scheduled to appear before the commission to express interest in the same position Nelson wanted, but Heinitz did not appear.
Finishing the meeting, the commission voted to approve an expansion of the cemetery intended to give the cemetery room for future growth.
The next regular meeting of the Saratoga Planning Commission is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., May 9 at Saratoga Town Hall.