Friday, July 30, 2010

Guess I Spoke Too Soon

The mishegoss with the Permit Center is unceasing. We've started to refer to the Permit Center as "Dysfunction Central"

Here's the latest: the one missing piece for the Delaney House has been the Soils Report. This is the report that we were told had to be done. We thought it was pretty unnecessary, as did the Soils Engineer, but we paid to have it done, waited 3 weeks to get it, and now have to turn it in to get our permit.

So on Monday, Tom went down to turn in the Soils Report. But the Permit Center doesn't let people turn in reports. You have to make an appointment. So Tom asked for an appointment and was given one - for Thursday, three days later.

Yesterday, Tom went to the Permit Center, waited the seemingly standard 45 minutes past his appointment time, and was finally called to the desk. When he got there, he handed them the report, and left.

This is the kind of thing that would make me go insane. I'm extremely thankful that I have someone who is balanced and able to let these things roll off their back - I would have gone postal.

Meanwhile, Aaron Sage, the one person in the Permit Center who we think is actually trying to assist us, got the final corrections on the Delaney House finished quickly, and everything is good to go.


Now we have to talk to one more person and get his sign off on the Soils Report. But since there was a three day delay, and the City has furlough days on Fridays, we won't know if we're getting our permit until Monday at the earliest.

This is a broken process, and the City of Berkeley has no interest in fixing it. Once again, the forward-looking, innovative City of Berkeley embraces a process that tends to alienate the citizens. The amount of work done without permits in Berkeley is huge, and I understand why everyone does it that way. There is no good reason to get a permit. I kind of regret that we started the permit process. We should have just moved the houses without asking, and then hoped no one would notice.

But who knows, maybe by Monday we will have a permit. Or my head will have exploded.

Stay tuned.


  1. Wow Dmitri! This is insane. I guess the consequence is if you ever go to sell the property and they ask did you get a permit to do this. My answer would be "it was like this when I bought it." Nowadays though they have all those satellite pictures that I'm sure they keep.
    What a waste of time you've been going through!

  2. I have found that, in general, local governments are obstructionist and uncooperative. They often take the position that they cannot get in trouble by saying "no" to everything.

    Local governments are largely staffed by people who are either former baby-seal-clubbers or wannabee serial killers.

  3. I don't even know where to start! You boys have the patience of Job in the bible! I hope at some point someone in the permit department will review you blog and deside to make changes! And I just love staying up to date with what's going on... "This too shall pass."