The recent hailstorm in mid-May didn’t just bring damage to hundreds of area properties, it also brought the possibility of running afoul of city and county officials if contractors and property owners don’t follow rules.
Chaves County Public Services Director Bill Williams is reminding Chaves County property owners, and especially construction contractors, that they must obtain permits before beginning significant work.
“If we see someone replacing a shingle or two, we aren’t going to say anything about that,” said Williams, “but if someone is doing a roof replacement, then we are going to make sure they have a permit. “
The county has issued 10 roofing permits in the past two weeks, according to county staff, about triple the usual number. They anticipate more in the coming weeks as repair work amps up.
The city of Roswell typically issues about 15 roofing permits a month. So far this month, they’ve issued 315, said Director of Special Services Mike Mathews.
County permit fees are based on the estimated cost of the job, Williams said. He and Mathews said the catch is that the county and the city can double those fees if work is begun without first obtaining the permit.
Both city and county inspectors and code enforcement officers actively travel throughout their jurisdictions to ensure that major projects have the proper permits. The county, however, has fewer staff and a bigger area to monitor.
Williams explained that the county might be flexible with property owners if it is believed that they do not know the rules, but commercial contractors who flout regulations in attempts to avoid fees are the ones that the county cracks down on. And the city said it requires that contractors, not property owners, obtain the permits if contractors are the ones doing the work.
Williams and Mathews also remind people that the only place to dispose of building materials is the landfill on West Brasher Road.
Sometimes, Williams said, unscrupulous contractors will charge customers for disposal fees and then illegally dump materials throughout the county. Mathews encourages people to report illegal dumping if they observe it.
Officials also recommended that property owners ensure that contractors have the necessary business licenses.
“The purpose [of the codes and regulations] is to help protect not only an individual’s property, but also their neighbors’ property,” said Williams. “If a roof comes off during bad weather and damages someone’s car, the homeowner could be held liable for that.”
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.