Editorial: Action needed on building inspections

The discussion concerning Lima’s commercial building inspections is necessary and long overdue.

However, it is unfortunate the opening of talks began with tensions and trust issues between the city and those representing the Allen Economic Development group and Allen County.

What both sides cannot allow to get lost in these talks is all involved want the same thing – more development and opportunity knocking on our region’s door.

What also needs to be understood is how did we get here and how do we move forward.

For years, the AEDG maintains, it has received complaints from developers and designers about the chaos working with the Lima building department. Some of the things cited are an overly rigid interpretation of rules and regulations that too often are not completely spelled out until a project has commenced, thus causing delays and fees on top of fees.

The city maintains that while some problems may have existed in the past, it has made progress resolving those issues in recent years by actively soliciting input from builders. It says it has shared that information with AEDG and the Allen County commissioners, only to learn though a newspaper report a few weeks ago that the AEDG and commissioners met with the Miami County Building Department about contracting commercial building inspection services.

If such a change would be initiated, it would cost the Lima building department $500,000 in lost revenue, virtually gutting the department.

Both sides are now seeking input from builders concerning the level of service they believe are being received from Lima. Now is the time for builders to speak out. What they say could go a long way to finding a solution that is palatable to all parties. Sitting in silence will just allow the fires to burn.

Allen County went through a period from the mid- to late-90s where county and city officeholders frequently clashed. Little good was accomplished. We understand both parties today are doing what they believe to be in their best interest, but neither should allow the mistakes of the past to creep into the present.

This shouldn’t be that overwhelming of an issue to work out.

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