Port Chester Looks to Formally Extend its Permit Amnesty Program

Effort to resolve longstanding problems in village was originally due to expire Dec. 31, 2012.

The Port Chester Village Board of Trustees is set tonight to look at formally extending its village building permit amnesty program, which was initially set to expire Dec. 31.

Trustees have already agreed to extend the amnesty effort, but are scheduled to formally take it up in a public hearing at tonight's board meeting, set for 7 p.m. at the Port Chester Justice Court, 350 N. Main St.

Prior to the public meeting, the trustees are scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. for a closed-door "executive session" to consult with the village attorney and staff on Starwood Capital Group's plans to redevelop the former United Hospital site in Port Chester.

The permit amnesty program was launched in late 2012 to help property owners - residential and commercial - resolve longstanding issues they may have with related to their homes and businesses. The amnesty was designed to run from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2012, but after meetings with community members, village trustees decided to give the program more time.

The extendsion of the program runs until April 31.

The amnesty streamlines the permit process and cuts fees that would normally be charged.

Also up for hearings tonight:

- A proposed zoning amendment that would allow cosmetic reconditioning work on vehicles at auto dealership service centers, in connection with Dent Wizard, 110 Midland Ave.

- A proposal to prohibit parking on North Main Street from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. from the Metro-North railroad bridge to the Connecticut state line.

- Public comment on the proposed draft of the local waterfront revitalization program.

If you can't get to tonight's meeting, you can watch it live online at the village's web site.

FJT March 04, 2013 at 02:54 PM
You wrote: "No one has to prove their innocence, they just have to submit to an inspection that shows that they are in compliance with the Laws of The State of New York." All property owners "submitted" when they were issued COs by this village in the first place. Now you're making them do it again while the people you should have gone after sit pretty. After all, an inspection of property is not triggered until one attempts to sell or refinance their property, and the owner discovers that their CO that had been issued under a past administration has been pulled by the current administration. (Slumlords who don't want to sell or refinance are getting off Scott free.)
FJT March 04, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Bart, you wrote, "...the Amnesty Program eliminates the potential impact of thousands of dollars of fines and penlites (sic)." What gives you the right to levy thousands of dollars of fines and penalties on homeowners who played by the rules? It was the village's own appointees in the Building Department who informed each buyer's attorney, lender and title insurer that all was fine and that their deals could proceed. Personally, I do not believe you know what's going on. I know of condo owners who have paid to get new COs for their individual units but cannot sell because the building in which their apartments are located can only get a temporary CO. Temp COs are rejected by lenders out of hand. They are worthless. Consequently, there are many deals that have been tied up or blown up since last spring. Congrats!
Brian March 05, 2013 at 08:08 PM
Uh, how does a homeowner know that there is an issue in the first place so as to take advantage of the "amnesty"? Was there a notification process about this records fiasco, informing specific owners that there is an issue?
FJT March 05, 2013 at 09:29 PM
There's no informing of specific owners because -- in the interest of "fairness" -- every Certificate of Occupancy was nullified, and that amounts to about 6,000 of them. I think the blanket nullification occurred a little under a year ago. Since then most homeowners attempting to sell or refinance their property have been unpleasantly surprised to learn that there's suddenly a "problem" with their property, i.e., no valid CO in place -- even though they may well have had an official CO (issued by the village) on file for decades. And that's where the fun begins. Brian, you should go over to the Building Department before 1pm any weekday and ask for the details about the amnesty program (including fees) or you can go to the village website and read the description of the amnesty program.
FJT March 05, 2013 at 09:29 PM
The CO that you currently have has very likely been nullified, which means your chances of selling or refinancing -- without having your premises inspected and paying a fee for a new CO -- are slim to none. If major changes were made to your property either before or during your ownership of it -- and the proper procedures weren't followed, including the opening and closing of building permits -- you will definitely need this thing called "amnesty". Amnesty can either eliminate or reduce the fines to be paid for violation of village's rules. If a previous owner of your property violated the rules, or a crooked building inspector gave the owner a pass, it's you who will need to pay up.


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