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Building code holds up Lewiston assisted-living center expansion plans

November 1st, 2015 Posted in Opinion

By Jillian McCarthy

LEWISTON — Owners of Sunrise Park Assisted Living Center, a retirement home in Lewiston, are running into a lot more hurdles than expected as they try to expand.

Sunrise Park Assisted Living Center wants to expand

Sunrise Park Assisted Living Center wants to expand

“Our plans were to add on to our retirement home, but the paperwork, regulations and hoops we have had to jump through have made it a very difficult process,” said Mark Jorgensen, part owner and manager at Sunrise Park. “We thought we were all done with everything, but the city and building inspector kept sending back our plans or adding on new expenses.”

Jorgensen said that the process has been a lot more difficult than when they built the facility in 2010.

In the five years since Sunrise Park was built, Lewiston has adopted new building regulations and hired a new building inspector.

Rich Hall, a member of the planning and zoning board, has worked with Jorgensen on multiple occasions.

“Mark is very persistent and comes to us usually every couple months, and he has been denied his plans for different reasons each time,” Hall said. “He has not been denied for any reason due to building, he just needs to get certain things ran through the right channels.”

Jorgensen said that the first building cost the family around $4,000 for architectural drawings, and the project needed only one engineer to approve the plans. The new expansion has cost upwards of $25,000 in drawings, design and certifications, and has needed approval from five architects.

“On the first building with the first building inspector, a lot of things got swept under the rug,” said Darrin Hancey, the project’s new building inspector. “Building officials have changed, but that is only part of the problem. The biggest issue they have is that I am now enforcing the rules.”

The current issue is with the water and sewer lines, which will cost more money to fix. The plans are still good for another four months and in this time the Jorgensens might still build the addition.

“The hardest part for anyone looking to start a business or build any sort of building is doing the homework to find out what requirements are needed,” Hancey said.


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