Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Where is Heartland Cafe's Building Permit?

Do they need a building permit for "top-to-bottom refurbishing?" There is a lot of cleanup going on at the still-shut down Heartland Cafe. Its license was suspended last week for mouse dropping "throughout," mold in the ice machine and warm refrigeration. Eeee-yuk. The cleanup, however, raises yet another question. The ChiTown Daily News had a piece with some interesting information in it (emphasis added): "[Partner Michael] James says the concrete floor has been replaced, and they fired their exterminator, hiring a new one....But first they’ll need to pass another inspection. Hogan says they are praying they will pass, especially with the top-to-bottom refurbishing the restaurant has received..." (Full post) Okay, then, here's the question: Where's the permit to make those repairs and replacments? I'm not making accusations, I'm just asking. According to the City of Chicago's Department of Buildings, "The Easy Permit Process allows home and building owners to obtain a permit to REPAIR or REPLACE THE SAME OR EXISTING elements of a building, without making any changes to the structure of the building." In other words, you need a permit to replace a concrete floor and, one would imagine, to do "top-to-bottom refurbishing." In fact, the types of projects requiring a permit from the DOB include: - Repair or replace existing non-structural elements - Drywall – patch, plaster - Floors – doors, cabinets - Light fixtures - Furnaces (except if part of a major conversion)– replacement only - Scaffolding - An Easy Permit can be received same day if the work has been approved by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) The DOB website notes that, "Depending on the complexity of your project, an Easy Permit can be issued the same day if the following criteria is met:" - All paperwork and documentation is correct and has been approved - There are no prior code violations on the property Did the Heartland Cafe get a permit for the "top-to-bottom refurbishing," which includes replacing the concrete floor? Was "all paperwork and documentation" correct and approved? If so, by who? If so, is the permit displayed prominently, as required, where it can be easily seen from outside of the building? Since I no longer live in the Peoples Democratic Republik of Rogers Park, maybe one of the local blogger sleuths there can look into this further. While you're at it, RP bloggers, look into whether the Heartland Cafe will be taking this opportunity to make the joint "green" by replacing all of its lightbulbs with the new mercury-laden coil flourescent bulbs. RELATED: When Permits Are Needed (Chicago DOB) Building Permits in 49th Ward Chicago News Bench RSS Feed Cool Stuff...