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Order to halt apartment renovation is rare for big Boise projects

Trash containers are filled with mattresses, couches, and televisions at the Glenbrook Apartments in October 2015 after tenants were ordered to vacate their units.
Trash containers are filled with mattresses, couches, and televisions at the Glenbrook Apartments in October 2015 after tenants were ordered to vacate their units. kgreen@idahostatesman.com

Boise building inspectors often find work being done on buildings without proper city permits. That work usually involves homeowners who are unfamiliar with permitting requirements.

But the city rarely shuts down big commercial-construction projects as it did with Glenbrook Apartments in the Borah neighborhood last week, a spokesman for Mayor Dave Bieter said Tuesday. Inspectors halted the renovation after determining that no building or improvement permits had been secured.

Acting on a tip, an inspector checked the 112-unit complex at Curtis Road and Cassia Street. In addition to needing general building permits, the project lacked specialized permits for much of the work — including reroofing, repainting parking areas, reinstalling plumbing under new counter tops, new guard rails and outdoor stairs, and extensive electrical work — that likely requires them, spokesman Mike Journee said.

Glenbrook Apartments attracted attention last fall when it posted eviction notices, forcing out about 400 tenants, many of whom were refugees. Owners Mark and Caran Daly of Eagle bought the property with plans to renovate and increase rents from $575 and $650 per unit to $900 and $1,000.

Mayor Dave Bieter and refugee advocacy groups asked the owners to extend move-out deadlines and hasten repaying deposits to help tenants scrambling to find new apartments in a tight and expensive rental market. Few concessions were given.

The city typically finds major permit problems with one or two projects a year of Glenbrook’s size and sophistication, he said.

“It’s unusual to have that many things being worked on that require permits that a project manager or contractor should be aware of,” Journee said.

The project does not appear to have a general contractor, he said.

Renovation work stopped on Wednesday, April 27.

Neither the property manager, Verity Property Management, nor the project architect, Glancey Rockwell & Associates, nor the Dalys returned calls from the Statesman.

Journee said the city is working with the architect to work out what permits are needed. Work can resume as soon as permits are applied for and approved, he said. The city tries to review permit applications for such projects within 20 business days of receiving them, he said.

The city has the discretion to double permit fees because its inspector responded to an outsider’s tip rather than from from anybody associated with the Glenbrook project, Journee said. The owners may be subject to additional penalties, too.

The city is still sorting out what permits are needed and what actions it will take, he said.

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