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Re: Jersey City Zoning Inquiry
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07310 wrote:
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Bamb00zle wrote:

Jerseymom, sorry to read about your friend. I really wonder what's going on with the Fire Code Inspectors at the Building Department.... I've seen projects stopped for years before it's sorted out. Image the lost income from a building sitting empty all that time. Some folks end up having to sell the half-finished building with an open-violation, because they literally can't afford to finish the work. Who would buy a building in that condition, and how much of a loss is the original owner taking?


The JC fire inspection dept is one of the more corrupt depts in JC and they are not accountable to anyone. A few years when my condo installed a new building fire alarm the inspector wanted to test it on a Sunday morning at 6 am. He never showed up for the test and accused the building of not testing the system threatening to fine the building. He did other things but this was the worst of them. I'm sure he was looking for the envelope stuffed with cash which we never provided.


Agreed about fire inspection. I know of a couple of situations in which a fire inspector would find fault with something, and would immediately conclude the inspection. The problem with that approach is that instead of trying to work with a building to help along the process, pointing out any additional discrepancies during the initial inspection, the inspector has to come back a week or two later, only to find another (minor) fault, and the cycle would start over. Before you know it, you have gone through several inspections without being any closer to passing. How is that helpful to anyone??

Posted on: 2015/8/7 21:48
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Re: Jersey City Zoning Inquiry
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Bamb00zle wrote:

Jerseymom, sorry to read about your friend. I really wonder what's going on with the Fire Code Inspectors at the Building Department.... I've seen projects stopped for years before it's sorted out. Image the lost income from a building sitting empty all that time. Some folks end up having to sell the half-finished building with an open-violation, because they literally can't afford to finish the work. Who would buy a building in that condition, and how much of a loss is the original owner taking?


The JC fire inspection dept is one of the more corrupt depts in JC and they are not accountable to anyone. A few years when my condo installed a new building fire alarm the inspector wanted to test it on a Sunday morning at 6 am. He never showed up for the test and accused the building of not testing the system threatening to fine the building. He did other things but this was the worst of them. I'm sure he was looking for the envelope stuffed with cash which we never provided.

Posted on: 2015/8/7 21:11
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Re: Jersey City Zoning Inquiry
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cinergee wrote:
I am considering opening a small business in a warehouse space in the Heights and wanted to verify that my business would be legal under the Zoning ordinance.

After getting the runaround a few times, Zoning Dept finally told me that I would need to:
1) submit a format written request
2) pay a $100 fee
3) submit a picture of the building

Has anyone ever done an official Zoning inquiry? Is this really the case? Any tips in dealing with this bureaucratic department?

Thanks.


Get it ALL in writing -- that's my tip. Also, expect any conversations you have to sound like a "Vinnie Barbarino" skit. "who, wha, when, where, wha?"

Get it in email at a minimum.

Posted on: 2015/8/7 19:17
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Re: Jersey City Zoning Inquiry
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jerseymom wrote:
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I've heard too many horror stories from local contractors, architects and a realtor friend of people getting through plan review at the Building Department without the Fire Code folks telling them a sprinkler system is needed. Then, half way through the construction, the Fire Inspector shows up, issues a stop work violation because a sprinkler system hasn't been installed.


Absolutely - happened to a friend of ours last year. And he's the kind of guy to dot every "i". He was flabbergasted. It cost him a mint to fix. #JerseyCityMakeItYours.


Jerseymom, sorry to read about your friend. I really wonder what's going on with the Fire Code Inspectors at the Building Department.... I've seen projects stopped for years before it's sorted out. Image the lost income from a building sitting empty all that time. Some folks end up having to sell the half-finished building with an open-violation, because they literally can't afford to finish the work. Who would buy a building in that condition, and how much of a loss is the original owner taking?

Posted on: 2015/8/6 1:49
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Re: Jersey City Zoning Inquiry
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I've heard too many horror stories from local contractors, architects and a realtor friend of people getting through plan review at the Building Department without the Fire Code folks telling them a sprinkler system is needed. Then, half way through the construction, the Fire Inspector shows up, issues a stop work violation because a sprinkler system hasn't been installed.


Absolutely - happened to a friend of ours last year. And he's the kind of guy to dot every "i". He was flabbergasted. It cost him a mint to fix. #JerseyCityMakeItYours.

Posted on: 2015/8/6 0:55
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Re: Jersey City Zoning Inquiry
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Bamb00zle wrote:
From what I can tell, it's little more than a racket to drive prices up, since by the time you're half way into the work, you have no choice but to comply if you wish to continue. And there's absolutely nothing you can do to hold the Fire Inspector who reviewed and passed the plans accountable. How these folks get to keep their jobs is beyond me. The fact that they miss these things means they are either incompetent, or it's deliberate.


I had a conversation with a JC fire inspector who suggested that a unlit range pilot light could create carbon monoxide. I had to point out that was not possible.

Posted on: 2015/8/6 0:50
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Re: Jersey City Zoning Inquiry
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cinergee wrote:
I am considering opening a small business in a warehouse space in the Heights and wanted to verify that my business would be legal under the Zoning ordinance.

After getting the runaround a few times, Zoning Dept finally told me that I would need to:
1) submit a format written request
2) pay a $100 fee
3) submit a picture of the building

Has anyone ever done an official Zoning inquiry? Is this really the case? Any tips in dealing with this bureaucratic department?

Thanks.


If you doing any work on the building it will almost certainly trigger a need to meet the requirements of the ?Rehab Code? at N.J.A.C. 5:23-6, et seq. It's the state-wide Building Code that applies to construction work on existing structures. Here's the link:

http://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/ ... /pdf_regs/njac_5_23_6.pdf

Read and understand it, particularly the Fire Safety requirements. Those are usually cross-referenced in either the regular Fire Code, or the ?Retrofit Code? at N.J.A.C. 5:70, et seq. Here's that link:

http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/njcode/

I've heard too many horror stories from local contractors, architects and a realtor friend of people getting through plan review at the Building Department without the Fire Code folks telling them a sprinkler system is needed. Then, half way through the construction, the Fire Inspector shows up, issues a stop work violation because a sprinkler system hasn't been installed.

From what I can tell, it's little more than a racket to drive prices up, since by the time you're half way into the work, you have no choice but to comply if you wish to continue. And there's absolutely nothing you can do to hold the Fire Inspector who reviewed and passed the plans accountable. How these folks get to keep their jobs is beyond me. The fact that they miss these things means they are either incompetent, or it's deliberate. Either way it's a huge mess. I am very curious to know how often it happens, since I hear of it pretty frequently

Sprinklers are crazy expensive. Make absolutely certain you know what is required before you start. By way of example, I know a local realtor, long established in the area, owns many buildings. When he rehabs a 3- or 4-family building now, he usually turns it into a 2-family. The reason is the cost of a sprinkler system ? a 2-family doesn't need a sprinkler. One recent estimate he obtained for a 4-family brownstone was $125,000 just for the sprinkler system! So make certain your architect gets a Fire Safety Company involved in the plan design and gives you a firm estimate for the work. That way you'll have someone to sue if they get it wrong.

Posted on: 2015/8/6 0:46
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Re: Jersey City Zoning Inquiry
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I've had no personal experience either, but my impression is that this is more the legal than architectural turf. There's a small zoning bar in JC, the same names come up again and again in the planning and zoning board agendas. See one of them.

Posted on: 2015/8/5 21:54
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Re: Jersey City Zoning Inquiry
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Call your city councilperson. Paying a fee for an inquiry seems ridiculous (so it's probably true in JC).

Posted on: 2015/8/5 21:49
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Re: Jersey City Zoning Inquiry
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I've never personally used the process you outline for an "official" interpretation.

The city's zoning map is accessed here:
http://www.cityofjerseycity.com/uploa ... /RFP/ZoningMap28Jan09.pdf

The municipal code is here (Chapter 345, Article 5):
https://www.municode.com/library/nj/je ... nodeId=CH345ZO_ARTVZODEST

Redevelopment plans are generally also available online should your property fall into one, just google it.

If at some point you plan on building out the space you decide on and will need to hire a professional to do drawings in order to get building permits - consider bringing them into the process now. An architect can provide advice on space locations/potential, will be able to interpret the zoning maps and codes for you, and then also facilitate permitting.

Posted on: 2015/8/5 21:28
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Jersey City Zoning Inquiry
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I am considering opening a small business in a warehouse space in the Heights and wanted to verify that my business would be legal under the Zoning ordinance.

After getting the runaround a few times, Zoning Dept finally told me that I would need to:
1) submit a format written request
2) pay a $100 fee
3) submit a picture of the building

Has anyone ever done an official Zoning inquiry? Is this really the case? Any tips in dealing with this bureaucratic department?

Thanks.

Posted on: 2015/8/5 19:22
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