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Astoria is getting very serious about property owners that violate city land use rules.  Fees now double for construction work completed before zoning approvals.  In addition, the city council has availed itself new powers to revoke permits, seek injunction procedures, and pursue legal action in Municipal or State Circuit Court when property owners don’t follow all the rules.

That includes completing all permit requirements and design review where deemed appropriate through the city comprehensive plan.

These stronger measures were the result of a case recently where the Community Development Department administered a permit for an exterior alteration for an historic triplex on Alameda Avenue last year.  The applicant went ahead with the improvements before gaining approval by the Historic Landmarks Commission.  City Manager Brett Estes notes in a memo to the city council that the situation was reviewed through the current city code looking for what the city can do when a property owner continues work after being told they need permits.  He wrote that it became clear that additional tools were needed to rectify these types of land use violations.

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