Latest complaint with Marco Island Building Department has council looking for changes

Devan Patel
Marco Eagle
After more complaints, the city of Marco Island has instructed its acting city manager to evaluate policies in the building department, including the necessity of in-progress inspections for roofs.

The Marco Island City Council has heard few greater complaints from residents and businesses than having to deal with its building department.

Most complaints have centered around the long wait times for processing permits but after last week’s City Council meeting, one complaint may prompt change for the better.

The City Council has asked acting City Manager Guillermo Polanco to evaluate policies and procedures within the building department after Tom Moore, owner of Moore Roofing, raised concerns about the impact of in-progress inspections and the lack of communication from building officials.

“Our citizens have to have their phone calls and emails acknowledged or some type of timely feedback when they reach out to city staff,” Vice-chairperson Charlette Roman said. “In some departments, that’s taking weeks and months, and it’s unacceptable.”

Moore told the City Council that prior to Hurricane Irma, he could not recall ever failing an inspection yet since September, his company has failed over 100.

One of the chief culprits has been the requirement to have an in-progress inspection, Moore said.

“Prior to Irma, we were never forced to stop installation while in-progress,” Moore said. “This means taking our tools, moving our trailers and employees to other job sites to return days later to resume and finish, inconveniencing the homeowner again and making it a scheduling nightmare.”

Jim Grierson, a Moore Roofing employee and Marco Island resident, said part of the problem is that there is no standard for an in-progress inspection so each inspector would do it differently.

Additionally, the city has hired outside help to handle the additional workloads, which again does not provide uniformity in applying standards.

Grierson said it typically takes two days to complete a roof but with crews having to leave before an inspection and then having to wait for it to be done, it adds at the minimum an additional three to five days to complete the process.

For homeowners, the process has also affected them from being able to get money back from their insurance companies without having a certificate of completion from the city.

While Marco Island had followed the same process as Collier County in requiring the added inspection, Grierson noted that the county returned to its previous requirements in January after it was causing the same type of problems.

With Marco Island “well behind” in its recovery from the hurricane, Councilor Larry Honig initially motioned for the city to remove in-progress inspections and allow work to be completed on Sundays to aid the process.

After a brief discussion, the motion was amended to asking the manager to evaluate the current policies, make changes if necessary and report back to the City Council prior to its next meeting with what was done.