Lack of Building Permits

 

The below letter has just been sent to several news organizations for their consideration. It was also recently sent to the Palm Beach County Inspector General who is charged with investigating matters of this nature.  Is this but one more shortcut taken by our leaders?  Will we now have to pay an additional 100K plus perhaps penalties for our failure to obtain permits?  What were these guys thinking? Maybe they were thinking: "We're the Delaire Board and can do whatever we want."   Perhaps if they go to Delray Beach to self correct the situation, we could at least avoid penalties.

 

Below are some quick facts which merit investigation.  I believe that Delray Beach may have illegally waived or been duped into forgoing as much as $100,000 in building permit fees.  Click here for PDFs, which document Delray Beach permit requirements that are involved in construction and are part of the Land Development Regulations, whether new, renovation or repair.  Also in the PDF is some information generated by Delaire, such as their disingenuous Site Plan Review application.  As far as I can tell, there were never any building permit applications submitted.  There was a tree mitigation plan submitted and a site plan review, but no building/construction permits.  When I replaced the AC at my home, I had to get a building permit.  The PDF titled Delaire Golf Facilities Renovation severely understates, if not outright lies about the scope of work being done.  The “Comparison” spread sheet more accurately states the scope of work.  How can they do a project with all these various elements and be excused from paying?  We think the average taxpayer and Delray Beach resident would be shocked at this kind of injustice.  Please contact me to discuss further.   Thanks very much.

 

WHO is involved?

Delaire Country Club - Owner                                                           www.delaire.org

Southeastern Golf Inc. - Contractor                                                  http://www.southeasterngolf.net/

Kipp Schulties Golf Design - Architect                                               http://ksgolfdesign.com/

City of Delray Beach                                                                           http://mydelraybeach.com/

 

WHAT is involved?

Total renovation of 27 holes of golf as stated below.   The hard costs are estimated to be about 3.7 million dollars and the remaining 700K for landscape design, architectural/engineering fees, consultants, etc. for a total of approximately 4.4 million dollars.

Erosion Control

Dredge ponds

Path removal & bury

Grass stripping & Burial

Earthmoving

Greens

Greens renovated

Tees

New bunkers

Shaping

Drainage, pipes, irrigation

Rock walls

New Concrete cart paths

Concrete rolled curbing

Grass Preparation

Grassing tees

Grassing fairways & Roughs

Grassing - Hand plant

Grassing Greens

 

Building permit requirements are attached.  Delray Beach requires a permit for just about anything you can imagine.  If you want to change a ceiling fan in your home, replace a sink or replace your broken air conditioner, you need a permit.  

 

Why is Delray Beach willing to forgo the collection of tens of thousands of dollars in fees?

 

Doesn’t Delray Beach have an obligation to its residents and taxpayers to collect all the fees that are due?

 

Why should the Country Club get a break while ordinary citizens are required to pay fees?

 

Who is benefiting from this and in what way?

 

Are money or other items of value changing hands for looking the other way?

 

Why is Delray Beach failing to enforce the construction codes and thereby failing to protect the citizens who are most affected by the project?  Construction ordinances and permits exist primarily to promote the health, safety and welfare of the public and assure that work completed meets certain standards.

 

Is Delaire being forthright in their description of this project in communications with the City and is the City ignoring reality?

 

How does an individual who has to have a permit to change his ceiling fan feel about a country club being excused from paying thousands of dollars in taxes/fees?

 

Why is it that the people who can afford to have their golf course renovated for 4.4 million dollars are excused from paying fees while a struggling homeowner has to pay a fee to replace his broken air conditioner?

 

Forgiving taxes/fees for one group increases the burden for all other taxpayers

 

This case is particularly egregious because those taxpayers being forgiven are likely in a better position to pay than the average taxpayer.  Another case of “the rich get richer.”

 

This story has particular relevance in Palm Beach County, because of the number of gated private club communities that exist here.  This is probably one of the highest concentrations of these types of communities in the nation.

 

In recent years, Addison Reserve Country Club and Gleneagles Country Club (both in Delray Beach, I believe) have also been renovated/rebuilt.  I wonder if they had to get permits or were also given a pass.  I believe the same golf course architect was used in both cases.  What other projects have been given a free pass on building permit requirements?

 

I believe that a Public Records request will demonstrate that several concerned citizens have questioned this lack of permits, but there has never been any rational explanation as to why no permits have been required.  It seems clear from the attached documentation that permits are required and a further reading of Delray Beach regulations states in greater detail that this is the case.  They seem to loosely hang their hat on “this is just a small renovation, repair and maintenance project”.  They have never pointed to any specific regulation, code, legislative abatement or other specific justification that would warrant the exemption of Delaire and its contractors from obtaining permits.

 

Meanwhile, this project has been almost completed, unhindered by the burden of building permits, official oversight or inspections.  Delaire residents as well as neighboring subdivisions could possibly suffer catastrophic consequences if shortcuts are taken and this work is not being done properly.  Would you please investigate and ask for the public records on this matter.  The only way this will be corrected is if someone brings a little sunshine to this matter.  Thanks very much for your consideration.

 

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