Sandy's Aftermath: Dealing With the Damages

Trustee proposes building department waive permit fees associated with storm-related restoration for 12 months.

Building superintendent Mike Filippon said his office is expediting storm-related permits. (Credit: Suzie Alvey)
Building superintendent Mike Filippon said his office is expediting storm-related permits. (Credit: Suzie Alvey)
Nearly a month ago, Sandy came and went but what she left in her destructive path is unprecedented for Garden City.

The morning after the storm, village administrator Bob Schoelle told Patch that the damage was the worst he's experienced in Garden City.

And with 60 village-owned trees landing on homes, many residents are still cleaning up the mess.

"There have been a lot of questions as to what the process would be to begin to make those repairs," building superintendent Mike Filippon said. "As we've advised people they should hire a contractor, and in some cases an architect and an engineer. File an application to effect those repairs."

Filippon said the department is expediting storm-related permits. "We are reviewing them as soon as they are submitted," he said, noting that he hasn't had that many yet, perhaps because it takes time to reach a settlement with insurance companies.

As he saw with Tropical Storm Irene, Filippon said many residents may take this opportunity to not just repair in kind and replace what was there before Sandy but  make that alteration or addition they were perhaps considering anyway and incorporate that into this repair permit.

Trustee Dennis Donnelly suggested the building department waive any fees associated with storm-related restoration work. "We've had village trees fall on people's homes. I think it seems a little ludicrous we'd charge them a fee to fix what our tree did," he said.

He proposed that for the next 12 months the building department waive fees related to building permits and restoration work, adding that the department could develop a form that the resident's contractor would have to sign stating the work is specifically related to Sandy.

"The building department would have to be the fair judge as to whether the fee was waived or not waived," he said.

Trustee Nick Episcopia, who thought Donnelly's suggestion had merit, questioned whether the fee waived would include any damage done to the house, whether created by a village-owned tree or a private tree. "Are we suggesting waiving the fee for damage caused by village-owned trees?" he asked.

Filippon said much research would have to be done before the board took any action. "If that cost is being covered by insurance and we waive it who are we really benefiting? The homeowner or the insurance company?" he asked. "It needs to be looked into."


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