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Council to readdress permit refund denial

By Staff | Nov 21, 2011

City Council will once again hear the case of Ryan Tronchet, a Cape Coral homeowner who remediated his house of Chinese drywall but was denied a permit refund of $467.89. The previous council denied the request when the vote deadlocked in October.

Council will readdress the issue at next Monday’s meeting.

Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said he feels that council did Tronchet a disservice by denying his request, legislating by “fear” instead of helping a resident in need.

Chulakes-Leetz said Tronchet did the responsible thing by fixing his home instead of walking away.

Tronchet’s remediation work was done prior to the approval of Resolution 13-11, which was designed to help homeowners.

“His request was denied based on fear,” Chulakes-Leetz said.

City staff reported previously that prior to the adoption of Resolution 13-11, over 330 defective drywall permits were issued at an average cost of $500.

This equates to over $165,000 in cost recovery for the Building Division, according to city documentation.

City Building Official Paul Dickson said during Monday’s council workshop that there were 75 permits currently that would be eligible for the permit refund, but have not petitioned the council for a refund.

Right now, Tronchet is the only homeowner that has petitioned council.

Chulakes-Leetz said it is obvious that Resolution 13-11 is working as it is intended and that no sudden of rush of rebate seekers is going to descend onto council chambers.

“Seems to me our assessment of 13-11 was quite on target,” Chulakes-Leetz said.

The petition failed previously, in part, because the council members that voted against it were worried that it would spark a series of residents looking to be retroactively approved for a series of issues.

That sentiment didn’t change Monday.

“I didn’t vote based on fear, I voted based on going back in time – I’m not in favor of retroactively doing anything,” Councilmember Kevin McGrail said.

Fellow Councilmember Marty McClain said he’d vote the same way next week – against the reimbursement.

“Once you do it for one person, you can’t tell anyone else no,” McClain added.