Amesbury mayor paying double fees for unpermitted renovations 

Kassandra Gove

AMESBURY — The mayor will be paying double permitting fees to make up for some kitchen work she did at home more than two years ago, according to the city building commissioner.

Mayor Kassandra Gove posted a group of pictures of a remodeled kitchen on her Facebook page Jan. 31. Gove said she had begun a slow kitchen renovation five years ago and that she was very happy with the results.

“Good things come to those who wait,” Gove wrote on Facebook.

But according to Building Commissioner Dennis Nadeau, Gove – who wasn’t in office at the time – didn’t obtain the necessary building permits for the work performed.

The Inspectional Services Department only has two building permits on file since 2007 for Gove’s property at 9 Gardner St., according to city records. The first permit was for roof, foundation and trim alterations in 2013 and the other was for the installation of solar panels in 2015.

Nadeau inspected Gove’s home Thursday and said she has 30 days to apply for building permits for the installation of a window, electrical work to replace outlets, the addition of a microwave oven over the stove, and plumbing work for installation of a new sink, faucet and drain liner.

Gove’s oversight is not uncommon, Nadeau said.

“It was just an honest mistake,” he said. “She should have gotten the permits, she probably should have known but she wasn’t the mayor when she started this project, either. She had pulled permits for the solar panels and the foundation and all of that in the past.”

Building permits for alterations cost $10 per $1,000 of the job’s cost with a minimum permit fee of $50, Nadeau said. Separate electrical ($50 base fee) and plumbing permits ($55 base fee) would also be required, if necessary.

“Our standard policy is if you start the work without a permit, you then pay double for the permit,” Nadeau said. “So she will be paying double for these three permits.”

The mayor could not comment on her personal life while at work Thursday but said in an email that her administration is “weeks away” from launching an online OpenGov account for online permitting in the city.

“This software will centralize Inspectional Services as well as Planning, Conservation, and other departments,” Gove said in the email. “This service will be convenient, streamlined, and user friendly. The permit process will be clearly outlined with online submission and payment options. Our staff will also be able to update permits live from their onsite inspections as well as access affiliated documents right from their mobile device all helping us increase efficiency and decrease frustration and confusion.”

 

 

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