Acquiring a permit in the City of Omaha is not much different than the process of procreation. Count on it taking close to nine months, gaining 50 pounds, and losing hair density.
It pains me to say negative things about public workers on account of my love for Leslie Knope,* but OMG there is not a lazier, more inefficient, nor stricter lot of human beings alive. They thrive on taking people’s time, resources, sanity, and souls. The house we bought was literally falling apart at the seams – a gigantic crap heap – and all we’re trying to do is pour 1 million dollars into just the main floor and they’re like “no…we like houses within our city limits to be decaying, smoking piles of garbage. Please never fix up your house and if you insist then know that it will be done to our liking – including choosing from these three paint colors.”
We assumed getting a permit would be like it was in the small town I grew up in: enter the municipal building, walk up stairs because elevator is broken *again* (nope – was never fixed), ask for permit to “fix up yer house”, clerk hands permit. Expiration date – who needs one! In fact, please don’t call for an inspection – we still haven’t replaced the city inspector since he retired 5 years ago!
Omaha, the self-proclaimed “BIG O”, was like HECK NO. First, give me a lap dance. Second, pay me one million dollars. Third, create a miniature replica (to scale) of your remodel plans out of tooth picks, bring replica to clerk, watch clerk stomp on replica that is “all wrong”. For the grand finale, they will insist you hire an engineer to approve your plan. This involves dropping another million to said engineer to look at YOUR design, blow their nose on it, wipe it off, push out a morning turd, mindlessly put THEIR stamp on YOUR design, and then you can be on your way.
The Omaha clerk is a real charmer.**
After a few more months of rejection, modifying the plans, getting rejected, modifying again, getting rejected again, we finally got all of our permits (electrical, plumbing, building, mechanical, etc.) ..and were never approved for what we wanted to do or what we actually ended up doing. The city planning office is full of people who find joy in nothing other than torturing others and watching older homes grossly decay because “just build out west”.***
Moral of the story…do everything you can off of a permit.
Pictured Below: A REAL – life permit…the city only hands out 6 of these per year.
*I really should say “It pains me to say negative things about public workers on account of having a masters degree in public administration and I understand that these folks are public servants just trying to make the world a better place.” But, alas, that does not pain me.
** I am not going to mention his name even though everything in me wants to mention his name. Obviously, I looked him up on Facebook and was confused because his FB page made it look like he had a soul. I obvi don’t believe that.
***It is easier and oftentimes cheaper to build a new home in the suburbs west of downtown Omaha. BUT THEN WHAT ABOUT ALL OF THE HOUSES IN BETWEEN THE TWO?!?!?!?!?! DEATH…TERMITES…ABANDONMENT…??!!?!? YOU TELL ME CITY CLERK!
****I could write an actual novel about how much of a JOKE all of our interactions were with the clerk in the permit office and the city inspectors. They literally treated us like criminals for wanting to improve our house. I was flabbergasted and appalled!!! SOMEONE OUT THERE PLZ DO A DOCUMENTARY ON THIS.