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Jacksonville Council Member Wants To Waive Irma-Related Building Fees

Jessica Palombo
Hurricane Irma storm surge flooded San Marco homes.

Jacksonville City Councilman Garrett Dennis wants the city to take some of the financial burden off of folks dealing with Hurricane Irma repairs.

Dennis introduced a bill last week (Sept. 26) that would waive city permit fees from the bill’s passage through the end of December for any rebuilding and repairs caused by Irma.

“It’s an opportunity to give some relief to the citizens here in Duval County whether they are homeowners or business owners,” Dennis said.

Dennis, a contractor by trade said he did a lot of roof projects in the Palm Coast area after Hurricane Matthew hit last year, which is where he got this idea, because Palm Coast had waived fees.

“To reroof the fee is about $154.50,” he said. “But the building permit fee is according to the dollar amount of the job. It can go from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.”

According to his bill the city’s Building Inspection Division would develop a policy to confirm with the applicant the work associated with the permit is Irma related.

“This a way for the city to say ‘listen, we’re in it with you, we’re supportive and we’re going to do everything we can to help make you whole,’ “ Dennis said.

Dennis said he hopes waiving the permit fees will encourage people to go ahead and get the work done now.

Dennis’ legislation is called a one-cycle emergency bill. That means he’s asking his fellow council members to expedite it. Instead of taking six weeks for a final vote, members will discuss it in committees this week and the full council will vote on it next week.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.