BHHS Today

Filed under Opinion

The Problem with Permits in Bloomfield Hills

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With Christmas and other holidays on the clock, we all have something to look forward to; whether it’s missing school, baking cookies, or getting that highly anticipated visit from Kris Kringle himself. Personally, one of my favorite holiday traditions is my family’s homemade ice rink.

For the past four years, my dad has spent countless hours out in the cold slaving over our ice rink. But last year, we got a belated Christmas gift from the city of Bloomfield Hills: a letter telling us that our ice rink was illegal and that we needed a permit. We don’t know how the city found out; although, it is suspected that our neighbors may have thrown us under the bus. Disregarding the source of betrayal, we were forced to take down our beloved project, and spent the rest of the winter gazing out the window reminiscing on what might have been.

This year, determined to continue the work on his cherished masterpiece, my dad contacted the city to get his permit; he submitted an application and check with the permit fees. Unfortunately, we were disheartened to hear that we couldn’t get an appointment until February! Moreover, they immediately cashed our check.

During the city’s monthly meetings, they only have 20 openings to approve permits. According to the City of Bloomfield Hills website, these permits include everything from decks, swimming pools, and sports courts; to any additions, alterations or modifications to existing buildings; and they all come with permit fees. With a population of 4,000, the broad range of actions that require a permit, and only 240 spots for permit approval, how are Bloomfield Hills residents supposed to get a timely permit?

Picture this: you wake up one winter morning to the freezing cold and discover that your house is out of power, something that isn’t rare in Michigan. But getting a generator requires a permit, obviously a lengthy process that you don’t have time for. Your two options are to endure the conditions, wait for your power to come back, and get the generator months later; or you can defy the permit rules, get the generator, and risk being caught and fined. This is obviously not the best system.

As residents of Bloomfield Hills, we have, yet another, thing to add to our holiday wish list; we should be asking our city to change the permit receiving process so that we can all have a happy holiday season.

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