My naivety is my greatest weakness and also my greatest asset. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I walked into the
“You need professional drawings.” The plan reviewer told me.
“But the building is built; I’m just adding some sinks and equipment, and some front stairs. The City is clear that professional plans are not needed for such a thing.” I argued back remembering reading that somewhere on the City web pages.
“You need professional drawings.” He repeated, this time flipping through a rolled up pile 5 inches thick of drawings from some project he was reviewing. “Like these.”
“But this is a waste. The architect plans will say the same thing as in these drawings; where all my equipment is going. What more information do you need that is not in these drawings?”
“You need professional drawings.” The mantra at L&I.
“But….” I gave up at this moment; time to find an architect.
Four weeks later and $1000 poorer (only because of rough economic times for architects; I found a bargain), I show up with my “professional” plans, which had almost the same information as my home made drawings and was told to wait for 40 days to find out if I am approved or not.
Almost forty days later, I get a letter from L&I saying my plans have been approved. But when I pick up my permit, there is a sheet of paper that says they did not review my plans for
“Oh well, I have the permit,” I thought to myself. “Time to get to work.”
Turns out I can apply for a “variance.” But the City can’t give them, L&I just forces people to comply. I have to go to
OK, I got the variance a month after applying. It’s slow but I we are moving. I scramble to revamp my budget with all these unanticipated expenses and I have to look to borrow some additional funds.
I need a sign so people can walk or drive by and know there is a baker here. But to put a sign, I need a sign zoning permit. One trip to apply for the zoning permit was pretty laughable; again, L&I requires professional drawings, my sign design work with the original drawings for the build out are not sufficient; another $1000 in architectural fees to me, and approval from Street Department and Art Commission, whatever that is. On the second trip I am told my professional drawings were not competent, lacking some needed written measurements that are easily calculated if measured. So I complain to my architect and he makes me some new ones at no charge. I am shocked by the price of a zoning permit to put up a sign, over $400 and 20 days to review even after the intake reviewer thoroughly reviewed the plans.
Then I need another building permit, for the sign. Not a tough process, but they need professional drawings and some fees; and 20 days; but only after the zoning is approved.
So the bottom line is that to put in some sinks, electrical upgrades, and and an oven, I’m out $7267 plus about a dozen trips to Center City to wait in line for my turn to more deeply understand what Kafka was writing about. This is just to follow City requirements; the actual work is additional. Oh well… could have been much worse, I guess.
I dare not calculate how many loaves of bread I have to bake to recoup this investment. All I know is that some dreams are worth the price. Wish me luck with my final inspections.
Zoning application and permit $100
Health Department Plan Review $1445
Tenant Fit Out, Application for Building Permit $125
Tenant Fit Out, Building Permit $261
Sign Zoning application fee $100
Sign Zoning permit fee $ 325
Sign building application fee $100
Sign building permit fee $61
Plumbing Permit & inspection $600 (estimated)
Electrical Permit inspection and Certification $650
Venting (for the oven) Permit & inspection $500 (estimated)
Architectural fees required for these permits $3000