LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Fining owners not best way to ensure building safety

Monday, December 28, 2015 - 14:04

Over the past several years there have been significant cost increases to building developers and owners in the Municipality of Anchorage. The costs associated with construction from Title 21 are significant. In addition, permit fees in Title 23 have increased over 400% in many instances and existing code discrepancies on reports have exploded in number.

Now the MOA Community Development Department Building Official has recently sent letters to building owners indicating that over 50% of them are not maintaining their building’s safely and will be subject to $300 per day fines.

The Mayor has indicated that the MOA needs more revenue. It would appear that this is just another way for the city to generate revenue on the backs of the business community. Unreasonable code enforcement and fines are not the answer. This will potentially lead to less jobs and increased costs to all levels of the business community and residents.

The buildings in this city are already some of the safest in the nation as evidenced by the low rate of safety incidents that occur. While building safety points the finger at building owners, the MOA is significantly overdue, in some cases almost a year, in performing the very inspections it wants to fine building owners. How about a rebate of $300 for each day the department is delinquent in performing its own safety inspections?

Everyone wants the same thing, safe buildings, development and maintenance of facilities. Instead of finding ways to access fines, let’s have a reasonable building safety and code enforcement program, open dialogue with the business community and stop the disastrous direction this is heading.

Joe Wright

President, South Fork Community Council

 

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