Tuesday, April 15, 2014

More Apartments, More Inspectors?

This bank of new meters at 109 East Fourth Street reminded me of the fact that almost all the new and proposed housing in Plainfield consists of apartments. That could mean more work for the Inspections Division in several regards.

The city has a number of requirements for multi-family dwellings, as does the state. Many checks are performed at the city level, such as those for tenants' health (presence of vermin), comfort (no heat or hot water) and safety (faulty wiring or other hazards).

The new administration will most likely have to assess the need for more inspectors to perform Certificate of Compliance inspections and such in addition to answering complaints. The division may be due for an assessment of its tasks and how they are currently performed, as well as a projection of greater need for services as more apartments come on line.

The late Mayor Albert T. Williams named Inspections as the division that drew the most citizen complaints. Residents have complained in public comment at City Council meetings that inspectors are either too zealous or too lax. Back when Hank Kita  and Harold Gibson were top officials in the administration, they took the trouble to follow inspectors around in a sort of "time-and-motion" study to see how many inspections could be done in a day, but as I recall, results were inconclusive.

Given the fact that the current mayor formed a transition team to identify issues and suggest solutions, maybe the likely increase in tenants is already in the radar. If not, it's something to look at.


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