Friday, August 19, 2016
The Red Tape Times (article 5)
St. Joseph County in Indiana received a record rainfall of over 8 inches between Monday, August 15th and Tuesday August 16th causing widespread flooding and subsequent water damage to homes and businesses in South Bend. As if the cost of the damage wasn't enough, residents and business owners will be required to pay extortionate fees for demolition and building permits to the St. Joseph Building Department and pay for an additional permit from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources; The City of South Bend has a graduated fee schedule for repairs, meaning the more it costs, the more you pay for a permit. In the case of one auto service store, Around the Corner Auto Service, it will cost them about $320 just for a building permit to repair their store. But even before that, they will be required to get a demolition permit, which cost 15 cents per square foot with a minimum $40 fee.
If you need a government's permission to do something, then you are not at liberty to do so, because permission can always be denied for even the most superficial reasons. To hold people's property to a ransom, as the City of South Bend has in the aftermath of the flood, is as much a violation of the law of equal liberty as it is to seize their property (e.g. Civil Asset Forfeiture) or evict them from their property (e.g. nuisance abatement laws) without due process; the three differ only in the abstract, since homes can remain uninhabitable and businesses closed until the municipal government grants their owners permission to gut and repair their own property.