The Brookhaven City Council voted last month to provide free deck inspections to all residents in the city through Dec. 31 and if residents find their decks need to be repaired the city will waive the $565 deck permit fee for a short time.

Councilmember Joe Gebbia asked for the legislation after he said residents living in the townhomes at Views at Lenox Crossing on Briarwood Road approached him about waiving the deck repair fees. The neighborhood borders Buckhead and is in Gebbia’s district.
Gebbia said he was approached by between six to eight homeowners in the neighborhood who said they discovered their homebuilder, Pulte Homes, installed poorly constructed gutters on their townhomes. Pulte Homes could not be reached for comment.

Water runoff from the gutters over the years led to severe water damage to more than 20 residents’ decks, Gebbia said. But the damage was not just limited to decks and affected the structure of many of the homes. Repairs were costing some people about $6,000 and they asked Gebbia for help to waive the city’s deck fee to save on costs.

Gebbia said it was a public safety issue that was important for the city to address. But to only waive the deck permit fees for one neighborhood would set a bad precedent and was not amenable to the City Council.

Gebbia said he worked with City Manager Christian Sigman to create a very specific, temporary piece of legislation that provides free deck inspections from the city by anyone. Sigman told the council he had never seen an ordinance like this one.

A resident can call the city and ask for a free deck inspection. If the city inspector determines the deck needs to be repaired the $565 deck permit fee is waived for 90 days after the determination is made. The last day for free inspections is Dec. 31, meaning deck permit fees can be waived through March 2019.

The fee waiver will only apply to a deck repair or replacement of the same scope or size.

“This program is aimed at eliminating any barriers to residents who want to make necessary safety improvements to their decks but found the cost prohibitive,” Community Development Director Patrice Ruffin said in a written statement. “It’s not about catching anyone off guard — it’s about helping people to make the changes for their own safety.”

For more information, email permits@brookhavenga.gov or to schedule an inspection call the city main number 404-637-0500 and ask to speak to a permits technician.

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