Hempstead Town officials unveiled a streamlined building permit process Tuesday morning where residents seeking approval for small projects would only have to wait three business days for home improvements.
Previously, residents hoping to begin work on small projects — such as fences, decks and detached garages — would have to wait weeks for a permit because their requests would be in the same queue as larger renovations and demolitions.
“There are few things more frustrating than waiting for a building permit,” Town Supervisor Anthony Santino said at a news conference at Town Hall. He was joined by Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito.
A $100 fee accompanies the new express permits, in addition to existing permit costs, Santino said. The extra fee will cover additional building department personnel.
Building inspectors will still adhere to the standard codes and safety protections and reviews despite the shorter window, Santino said. Projects that can use the express permits also include aboveground pools, bathroom and kitchen remodels, solar panels, generators and air conditioners.
Large-scale projects, such as dormers, demolitions, additions and renovations, can expect to wait about five weeks for a permit, Building Commissioner John Rottkamp said.
Last year, Santino said the building department processed more than 10,000 permits. “A fair number” of them would have qualified for an express permit, he said.
Homeowners often equate dealing with the building department with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, Santino said. He hopes the new express permit window, located on the second floor of Town Hall, will ease residents’ frustrations.
“We’re obviously helping the Do-It-Yourselfer,” he said.
Goosby said the new permits will boost the town’s economy and impact the community. D’Esposito added that the change will make the town’s government work more quickly and conveniently for its citizens.