Delayed Permit Issuance

That is NOT the subject line you ever want to get in your inbox. Especially not when you are standing inside City Hall, waiting to talk to the person about picking up your permit.

Basically I couldn't contain the frustration any longer and when it was my turn to approach the counter, the tears they were a flowing.

And you know what the dear building inspector said to me "We've all been crying at some point in the last few weeks." Again, not exactly what you want to hear.

Our plans were approved on Friday September 5th. Yes, approved! But my verbal confirmation came with the fine print: it takes about 4 days for issuance and the department would be closed for a training the following week for 4 days, then it was an alternate Friday so they would be closed again but I was told we would have our permit on Monday, September 15th.

That week delay was actually a breath of fresh air: We moved out. We emptied the house. We emptied the fridge. We drew on the walls. We set up life in San Francisco.

Two days ago, on Monday, as I stood amongst 15 others who were "checking in" on their projects, I suspected things were not as they should be. But I was still smiling, still patient, still understanding. I was told our plans were on a desk, with 2 others, awaiting a signature. Wednesday afternoon would be the earliest it COULD be available.

So today, on Wednesday, in the afternoon, I returned. And as I was waiting, I just happened to check my email.

Today's setback was an IT problem - one that has slowed the issuance process to a snail's pace. And when I say issuance process I mean the process of generating a yellow piece of paper that says I am allowed to start working on our house in the manner that was approved. No compensation, no appeasement, no "here's what you get instead", just a whole lot of "wish we could do more."

There is nothing we can do. I could play hardball but I don't even know what playing hardball would like in this situation. It is apparent that there is something seriously out of alignment within the city's Building and Planning Department and the atrociously long bureaucratic permitting process is just the tip of the iceberg. There are whisperings of hirings and firings, new rules, new routines. And yes, tears. And yes, waiting.

We are no longer waiting for outside plan checkers to peruse our plans. We are no longer waiting for comments to be emailed to us. We are no longer waiting to answer questions. We are no longer waiting to hire a contractor. We are no longer waiting to move out. We are just waiting for a piece of paper.

And today I was told it could be a week, probably less, hopefully not more.

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