Construction workers and contractors in a New Jersey town clashed with police and municipal authorities in an April protest against delays and denials in building permit processing in New Jersey.
The protests occurred in Paterson in response to what the protestors considered extreme slowness in processing and issuing building permits for new projects, reported Ed Rumley in an article in the Paterson Press that appeared on NorthJersey.com.
The delays in building permit approval have severely damaged construction workers’ and contractors’ ability to make a living, the protesters claimed. Denials of some building permits have also significantly affected the livelihood of workers in the Paterson area, according to the protestors.
Many of the protestors’ objections center on a relatively new inspector, hired about nine months prior, who they accuse of being too rigid and unwilling to compromise, Rumley reported.
The protests eventually led to a confrontation with the local police, who told the demonstrators to disperse since they didn’t have the required permits for the gathering. Tensions increased at that point, Rumley reported, but were defused after Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres arrived and spoke with the protestors.
The exchanges between the protestors and authorities sometimes became heated, but the protests broke up without incident.
Torres acknowledged that the building permit process has been taking too long. He promised the protestors that he would be making changes to the way the building permit process works, according to Rumley’s article. Torres indicated that system-wide changes were needed and that plans were underway to make the long-term shifts in process and policy that would make it easier to get building permits approved.
Torres’s solutions include a reorganization of Paterson’s community improvement division, which handles building permits.
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