County should simplify building permit process

In a probably little noticed item at the Ward County Commission meeting this week, a resident spoke to the commission regarding his frustration in working with the county building inspection office to obtain a permit to construct a commercial building. He said he wanted a list of requirements to meet but was told only that his sketch, and later his blueprint, weren’t acceptable. He said he was directed to use a particular Minot contractor instead of his Max contractor for blueprints.

Galen Scheresky said he no longer is pursuing the commercial building since he’s forced to jump through unseen hoops and use someone’s Minot friend as contractor. He is now building a farm shop, which does not require a permit.

County building inspector Leo Schmidt said he didn’t intend to endorse a specific contractor, but rather that he was prompting Scheresky to find a contractor who could create the kind of blueprint Schmidt needed to advance the permit request.

However, apparently feeling as if he had been forced to go back and forth with the county long enough, Scheresky instead pulled the plug on the project. His position was that the county process was too complex and that there was no single document detailing exactly what would be needed to move the proposed project along.

Scheresky said he would have appreciated clarity in the rules from the beginning.

This is a complaint heard often in our region – that government erects too many barriers for those wishing to develop or bring business to Minot or to Ward County.

Simplification and clarification should be on the agenda of both city and county. The public sector needs to be in the business of attracting and retaining private sector advancement – and there should be no favoritism involved. Rules and requirements, complete with specifics and deadlines, should be provided any potential builder or business operator. The ensuing relationship should be built on mutual understanding, clear lines of communication and cooperation.

It all starts with a set of rules upon which all parties agree.

Moving ahead, Ward County should aspire to just that.