GOSHEN - City council approved a new type of building permit Tuesday meant to speed up the process for new developments.
The new foundation permit will allow builders to get something in the ground even while final construction documents are still being reviewed. Council members expressed hope that it helps clear the inspection backlog as the city sees an unusually heavy construction season, with projects representing a record value that could near $80 million this year.
The optional permit carries a fee of $250, which would be in addition to the normal construction permit fee of $270 and which is meant to recoup some of the city's costs related to carrying out the inspection. Several city departments were involved in its development, including engineering, building, planning, legal and fire.
Mayor Jeremy Stutsman noted it's something other communities offer and that it will help most in projects that start shortly before winter. He also said the city has granted special exceptions in the past and that it worked well, so officials thought it should be formalized.
Myron Grise, the city's commercial building inspector, noted the city could have issued 14 such permits so far for the apartment complex going up at the former site of the Goshen Inn, which he said might not even started yet if the city hadn't given them the go-ahead on the foundations. He said the permit is something larger builders have been asking for.