Archive for Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Dispute brews over city permit

Cabinet shop owners may be forced to spend $40,000

September 10, 2003

For Bob Edwards and Ron Purinton, an unexpected $40,000 expenditure won't force the closure of their shop.

But the owners of a new cabinet shop in Tonganoxie would like to have known about it before they opened for business.

The two men are waiting for a decision from the city about whether they must install a dust-collection system.

At issue is whether the men should have obtained a building permit for work they did to ready their building for business. A permit would have triggered visits by the building inspector, who likely would have informed the owners about compliance with city codes.

But the owners of Twins Custom Wood, which moved in July from Kansas City, Kan., to Tonganoxie, didn't obtain a permit.

During a visit to city hall before the move to Tonganoxie, Edwards said, he asked what was required of a new business. Nothing was said about a building permit.

The owners had planned to install a permanent dust-collection system to replace the temporary one they're now using. "But we were going to do it one step at a time," Edwards said.

As it was, Edwards and Purinton, who are twin brothers, learned after they opened -- in late August -- that their shop didn't comply with city codes.

"They should have let me know this before I moved in," Edwards said. "That's my whole point."

And Mayor Dave Taylor agrees.

"I think when they came in they should have been given the guidelines about what has to be done before they get an occupancy license," Taylor said. "They were issued the occupancy license and I think that's probably what happened was they had no idea of what was required for them to do."

Waiting on report

Tonganoxie City Administrator Shane Krull said Friday he was waiting to receive a final report from the city's building inspector, Tim Pinnick.

"I'm not sure where we are at this point and where we're ultimately going to go," Krull said. "Typically, when someone comes in, they'll discuss their intention and obtain a building permit. Subsequently, the building inspector will be involved in their process and make sure that what they're constructing follows the city's codes. The crux of the problem is, there wasn't a permit obtained by them."

And, as of Friday, Krull said he didn't know if the men should have obtained a permit.

"That's what I'm waiting to hear back from the building inspector on," he added. "It depends on what they disclose that they're doing. There's some work that doesn't require a building permit."

Krull said it appeared the owners of the cabinet shop had made efforts to control the dust.

"It's my understanding that they have a portable dust collecting system," Krull said. "I'm not certain if it's adequate."

The brothers, Krull said, had received an occupancy permit, as required by city regulations.

"That has nothing to do with the building and improvements of the building and that type of thing," Krull said.

New businesses are not routinely inspected, Krull said.

"It varies so much from business use to business use, it's hard to quantify it into one box that incorporates all the elements of every possible business that someone could envision starting in Tonganoxie," Krull said, "It really comes to a case-by-case basis and depends on what the person discloses at the time they make applications."

Before the council

At the Aug. 25 city council meeting, Donald Dyster, owner of the Cabinet Shop of Basehor, told council members the city should enforce the its codes on new businesses, whether they locate in new or existing buildings.

"The shop moved in, it is a very high hazard on the codes and the building changed usage," Dyster said in a subsequent interview. "City regulations state if it changes usage, it should be brought up to code and none of that ever happened. If that would have happened, then their overhead would be nearly equal to mine and that's what bothers me."

Dyster said city codes should apply to all new businesses.

"I was stating the fact that they (Twins Custom Wood) were moved in without ever getting a permit or being forced to adhere to codes or ever having an inspection," Dyster said.

The day after Dyster talked to the council, the building inspector visited Twins Custom Wood.

"I think the type of lighting system that is used now is a concern," Pinnick said Friday afternoon.

And, he said, the owners need to install a permanent dust collection system.

"They have a dust collector," Pinnick said. "It's OK for a temporary situation."

These changes, as well as installing three-phase electricity, would total about $40,000, Edwards said.

Edwards and Purinton said they were surprised to find their shop didn't comply with city codes.

Intended to comply

Pinnick said he thought the men had intended to comply from the start.

"I think they inquired," Pinnick said. "I'm not sure what the conversation was, and they made some inquiries."

Edwards agreed.

"That's why we went to the city to ask them what we needed to do," Edwards said. "We know there's codes and regulations, and we want to follow them all."

Since meeting with Pinnick, the brothers have gathered bids on the additional work.

Despite the setback, the men are still glad they've relocated to Tonganoxie and say they've picked up several area builders as customers.

"I probably would have still moved here knowing this," Edwards said. "But I would have had my finances a little bit different. Now we have to go get us another loan, which is going to cost us a little bit more money."

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