Board of Appeals

Boards, Commissions & Committees

Board of Appeals - April 1, 2021 Minutes

Members Present: Clay Dietrich, Mike Wild, Justin Schoenberg, Dave Obermiller, Kevin Bartram and Brian Berg.

Members Absent: None.

Others Present: Bruce Taralson, Dawn Stollenwerk, Chris Rose, James Showalter, Mike Moss, and Gretchen Morlan. Scott Meyer and Kendra McGuire with Premier Systems Inc. attended the meeting remotely.

Chairperson Dietrich called the meeting to order at 9:30AM. Mr. Bartram moved to approve the minutes of the February 4, 2021 meeting, Mr. Berg seconded the motion. All members present voted aye, and the motion was declared carried.

Unfinished Business
a) Review of Board of Appeals bylaws:
Annual Meeting changed to August in lieu of July – review and sign.

Chairperson Dietrich signed the approved bylaws changing the annual meeting date to August in lieu of July.

b) Definition of a Quorum
Continue to next meeting.

New Business
a) Appeal requested by Premiere Systems Inc., regarding the International Building Code (IBC), Section 109.3 - Building Permit Valuations.

Mr. Taralson introduced himself to the Board and explained the role of the Inspections Department to the Board.

Mr. Taralson stated that the four buildings noted in this appeal are addressed as 1810, 1830, 1850, & 1870 42 Street South in Fargo, ND, and that four permits for four project and documents are enclosed in the meeting packet. He noted that the appeal is regarding the valuations of the projects and a requested refund. Mr. Taralson furthered that project valuations of permits are set by the Building Official and that in the absence of an accurate valuation provided by the project applicant, the Building Official will make the final determination of valuation.
Mr. Taralson explained the process of writing permits and how valuations are needed to determine fees and are used for reporting. He furthered that the Inspections Department reviews plans for code compliance and to ensure that valuations are correct. He noted that the appellant was given opportunity to provide an updated valuation, but did not supply one.

Mr. Taralson reviewed the locations of projects, timeline, and aerial views of the said projects. He stated that the permits were issued May 29, 2020 and on September 30, 2020, the projects were completed. Mr. Taralson stated that November 6, 2020 was original conversation regarding the refund, and three months later was the denial of the refund.

The following code sections were referenced from the International Building Code (IBC):
Section 104.1, Section 104.2, Section 105.3, and Section 109.3.

Mr. Taralson stated that the customer submitted estimates for their roofing projects, however, the estimates did not include costs for labor including demolition/tear-off and re-installation, dumpsters, housing, etc., and along with the timeline of events, the request for the refund was denied. Mr. Taralson stated that permits are based on valuations and not costs. He noted that there are many different factors that can affect valuations such as economy, cost of materials, bids, etc.

Mr. Taralson stated that as per Section 109.6, the Building Official has the authority to establish a refund policy. He furthered that some factors that come into play with Inspections Department refund policy are the time since the permit was issued, whether or not inspections were completed, the amount of the refund, and the reason for the refund. He furthered that as per Section 113.2, the Board shall not have authority to waive requirements of the code. In summary, Mr. Taralson recommended that the appeal be denied due to inaccurate valuations, inaccurate information on the estimate, missing information and work that should have been on the permit, policy requirements of a refund, and the lapse in time.

Mr. Meyer with Premiere Systems introduced himself to the Board. He stated that Premiere Systems is not a large company, and with Covid-19, a lot of people worked from home and remote areas and the company had a new project manager. Mr. Meyer stated that he asked the new project manager to put together what was required for permitting, and Kendra who is accountant, would have received the separate permit amounts and wrote the checks for payment. He stated that the process was simple, but the mix up occurred in the following way: there was one contract with Goldmark/Sterling Property Management – the owner and manager of four buildings. He furthered that this was a bid project that did not include the roof at time or purchase of doors or windows. Mr. Meyer stated that when applications for the permits were submitted, $850,000 was to be for total project regarding all four buildings, but was accidently submitted as $850,000 per building. He furthered that the total valuation per permit should have been $213,500 per building upon submitted, however, the roofing, doors, and windows should have been included for true valuation. The true valuation with materials, labor, and profit would have been close to $1.2 million dollars total, however, current fees reflect a valuation of closer to $3.4 million. Mr. Meyer stated that he didn’t see the error until he reviewed the costs for final invoice submission to the customer and thought that the $15,000 total in permit fees seemed excessive. He furthered that an employee with Premiere Systems started email correspondence requesting a refund, a fifty percent refund was offered, however, as they were not aware of the time sensitivity and didn’t think fifty percent was acceptable, the offer was taken off of the table.

Discussion ensued regarding included work, permitting, valuations, timelines, policy, correspondence, etc.

Mr. Schoenberg motioned to approve the fifty percent refund, Mr. Berg seconded the motion. All members present voted aye, and the motion was declared carried.

Mr. Taralson requested permission to modify the motion to include the issuance of a permit to include the roof work for this project.

Mr. Shoenberg motioned to amend the previous motion to include the issuance of a permit to include roof work. Mr. Wild seconded motion. All members present voted aye, and the motion was declared carried.

Staff Reports

Mr. Taralson stated there were no staff reports.

Mr. Wild motioned to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Schoenberg seconded the motion. There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned.