Joplin City Council proposal: Set universal deadlines for building construction

Joplin City Council proposal: Set universal deadlines for building construction

Joplin could soon have new rules dealing with building projects. Some city officials have proposed penalties if work on a new building is not completely done within a certain time period. But the Home Builders Association of Southwest Missouri has opposed that idea, saying it lets the government interfere too much with people’s lives.

A different idea, though, appears to have more support.

A building near Joplin’s High School, rebuilt after Joplin’s tornado and vacant right now, is occupying the center of this debate.

“They built two churches and a school in the time that it took to just finish the outside of that building,” says Crystal Harrington with the Home Builders Association of Southwest Missouri.

Harrington says some contractors and property owners take advantage of Joplin’s building permit system. Contractors buy a permit from the city, and that permit is automatically renewed, free of charge, every six months, as long as a city inspector notices progress on the project.

“As long as he (contractor or property owner) has something delivered, or he had sidewalk put in, and then waits two or three months and then there’s one more little thing…,” Says Harrington.

Some city council members want builders to incur a penalty if their project isn’t done within a city-wide universal timeline.

“I think most builders you would talk to, ninety-nine percent of them would say they’re done with any project within a year or 18 months,” says Joplin City Councilman Dan McCreary.

Harrington agrees that most buildings are built and ready for occupancy within 18 months. But she doesn’t think builders should have to pay a fine if their project isn’t ready for occupancy within those 18 months.


“You have to get this house buttoned up,” says Harrington.

Windows and doors have to be in place so that trespassers are kept out, and there are few safety concerns.

“Interior is not done, hvac is not done, I don’t think anybody cares. But when you have Tyvek flapping in the wind, it’s kind of a problem when it’s an eye sore for the neighbors,” says McCreary.

Above all, Harrington still wants the city to analyze each extended building permit by itself, not strictly against universal rules.

This proposal will be discussed during city council’s work session meeting on Monday.