The Huntington Town Board approved waiving all permit fees for outdoor construction, installation or repair of exterior improvements until Sept. 1, in an effort to stimulate jobs for the construction trades during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residential and commercial construction projects can include sheds, porches, decks, pools, fencing, retaining walls and other similar structures. The measure has the added benefit of encouraging people to go outdoors, town board member Ed Smyth, sponsor of the resolution, said.
“The overarching idea of the resolution is to get all the paperwork done now so that shovel-ready jobs can start with little or no ministerial hoops to jump through when quarantine is lifted,” Smyth said. “It encourages residents within the town to obtain building permits for outdoor projects.”
The change will offer a financial break of at least $100 for residential construction work.
Projects that can be completed with one worker can begin immediately, Smyth said. Larger projects will have to wait until statewide quarantine restrictions have been lifted. Smyth said homeowners who have jobs that require two people or more can get all the necessary paperwork and permits in-hand, so work can start immediately when lockdown rules are relaxed.
“Larger jobs with many workers on-site will need to wait but at least the paperwork will be ready to go,” he said.
In all cases, building permit applications will still be required to ensure that the town has a record of the construction and repair being initiated and completed, Smyth said. Inspections of construction and repairs will also continue to be required.
Smyth said workers are expected to maintain appropriate social distancing protocols and use personal protection equipment, such as face masks and gloves, which should be commonplace on job sites.
Sal Ferro, owner of Alure Home Improvements, which has offices in Commack and East Meadow, and former president of the Long Island Builders Institute, said in addition to supporting residents it helps to get workers in his industry back to work quicker.
“If it can help move projects along because it could get homeowners over the line to making a decision to go ahead with a project eliminating one hurdle, it helps,” Ferro said. Of course saving people money it’s always great and can help move things along quickly.”
He added that the measure also extends to helping stimulate the overall economy.
“We have one of the biggest economic impacts on Long Island’s economy because the amount of people we put to work,” Ferro said. “It’s not just the people swinging the hammer, it’s the people supplying the material, delivering the material, people who are serving the food in the restaurants and delis that we go to. It’s a tremendous economic impact.”
Smyth said the town's building department is still functioning with staff working from home.
Huntington building permit fee schedule
- The minimum fee is $100 for residential use
- The minimum fee is $500 for nonresidential use
- In addition to the minimum fee, $7 is charged for each $1,000 of estimated construction costs, or fraction thereof