Bal Harbour manager explains Shops permit violation issue

08/04/2014 3:04 PM

08/04/2014 3:05 PM

A Bal Harbour Shops permit issue addressed by residents has been cleared up after concerns were voiced.

At a recent meeting, residents questioned The Bal Harbour Shops construction work and the fact that if the luxurious mall was working with a proper permit.

However, Bal Harbour Village Manager Jorge Gonzalez cleared up the situation at a last month’s meeting saying there was a misconception.

“There’s a misrepresentation of what’s going on there at The Bal Harbour Shops,” he said in a phone interview. “The Shops have had permits since 2011 to build a porte cochere structure outside of Carpaccio Restaurant, where people come out to drop off for valet.”

Residents Stanley Tate and Anamarie Kelly addressed the issue to village officials.

In June, Bal Harbour Shops officials requested and were granted by the village building department an “Early Start” which allows the work on a Hillstone Restaurant prior to the final approval and issuance of the permit, but work is at risk. The Hillstone Restaurant is set to be located on the east side of the second floor of the building.

However, after an investigation, the village building department did find the project had a violation of work in excess, which the fine could be about $80,000, Gonzalez said.

“They worked in excess of their permit,” he said. “They were told they were in violation. They were doing more work than what was permitted. We issued them a violation.”

He said the work The Shops conducted is legal, but through proper protocol.

“The work on second floor, which was performed without a permit, involved the installation of conduit, which if properly permitted, would not have involved an inspection until after the work was completed pursuant to Florida Building Code,” Gonzalez stated in letter to the council.

Resident Brian Mulhern says the Bal Harbour Shops should pay a fine.

“They should be fined severely and they know they do this,” he said in a phone interview. “You can’t do this anywhere else.”

Gonzalez said the village is handling the situation and said there is nothing to be concerned in regards to safety, as the building department has already conducted more than 39 inspections in regards to the project, since 2011.

“The Shops have a violation,” he said. “They did some work that violated, but it doesn’t make them an outlaw.”

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