This posting is a public service message to homeowners.
Don’t pour money into architects, carpenter’s proposals and even fees and permits before approaching the City to do a construction job or a renovation. You’ll get no sympathy from them if you pull this classic excuse.
Contractors and developers have been using this kind of statement for years hoping to use their cost of consultants, engineers and lawyers as a ‘hardship’ excuse to approve them. For years, when Newburyport was in terrible straits, it would work. “You must approve us because we have spent SO MUCH MONEY. Well, it was great while it lasted but all you’ll get now are deaf ears.
I don’t care if it’s Joe Teixeira on the Conservation Commission, Gary Calderwood in the Building Department, Dan Bowie on the Planning Board, Linda Smiley at the Historical Commission or Ed Ramsdell on the Zoning Board; they will all tell you,
“Don’t spend a lot of money until you are sure the project is going to pass muster!”
The right way to go, also encouraged by these leaders is to pass it by the Planning Office (and actually listen to what they say). Then to attend pre-application meetings with those boards and commissions where you may have a possible issue.
DON’T BLAME THE CITY FOR YOUR OWN SPENDTHRIFT WAYS!
In these tight times, spending money foolishly is only feeding your vanity and enriching needlessly consultants, engineers and lawyers! (Even lawyers who come before these boards and commissions repeatedly don’t want to be made fools of. The first thing out of their mouth usually is, “Do your homework.”) Besides, going through a careful vetting, you can find out solid methods to nip objections to your project or at the very least find a solution that is agreeable to all parties.
Those who approach the City in this method will often not only get speedy approval; you may even be commended for your thoroughness!