GODFREY – A months-long effort to draft an occupancy permit ordinance that pleases (almost) everyone has culminated with the passing of the village’s second ordinance of the year.
Nearly 30 minutes of discussion, mostly between trustees Jeff Weber and Michael Stumpf, centered on making sure the wording of the ordinance is clear and not open for interpretation.
“The ordinance says if a house passes inspection, I will have up to 120 days that the permit is good for,” Weber said. “What happens after those 120 days?”
“After 120 days, you get another permit,” Stumpf said. “Past that, you are in violation.”
In the end, the decision to approve the ordinance was unanimous.
Occupancy permits are documents used by a local building or zoning authority ensuring the premises have been built and maintained to the provisions of building or zoning ordinances.
“This is done to protect property values in a community,” Godfrey Mayor Mike McCormick said.
The permit specifies certain areas of construction, including the electrical system, guardrails for stairs, plumbing systems and furnaces.
The issue of occupancy permits has dogged Godfrey for several years. Permit drafts and versions were passed back and forth between the board, the planning and zoning board, and other village officials. Feedback also was supplied by area Realtors.
Wording was changed to clarify the permit restrictions, including pending transactions with properties currently under contract for sale, something local Realtors voiced as a concern. The amendment was approved by the board before vote on the ordinance itself took place.
“We value quality home ownership more than anybody,” Greater Gateway Association of Realtors Local Government Affairs Director Kyle Anderson said. “We encourage inspections; we just want to make sure a good process is in place to ensure easy transactions.”
He also says the permits, once enforced, will provide a little more peace of mind for potential buyers.
Al Suguitan, Greater Gateway Association of Realtors president, also was on hand Tuesday at the meeting.
The village will begin enforcing the ordinance approximately late spring to early summer.
The ordinance will not affect existing residents, and the permits will cost $35, Mayor McCormick said.
“The village welcomes opinions from Realtors and from the community,” he said. “We did our best to work with everyone who had a concern to put together a document that was fair to everyone.
“That’s how government is supposed to work.”