Originally Posted by jewelsq
In NJ, in order to open up my commercial kitchen, we had to, in this order:
-Have a business plan (not for the officials, it's just good practice)
- Inform the health department of our intentions.
-In our case, we needed to get zoning approval. That meant going before the board of adjustments, sending certified letters to surrounding property owners, etc.
-After we had THOSE approvals, we applied for the Uniform Construction Code permits. The state required us to get blueprints drawn up by an architect. Once the plans were approved, the permits were issued.
-Construction could begin.
We ended up suing our first hood guy. Took him to small claims court. Won but he was out of state. Judge said, "Good luck collecting." I said, "Thanks, judge." and did a little research and attached his BANK ACCOUNT!! (see the honest, little guy does come out on top, sometimes.)
The checks and balances are tough.
Yup we had pretty much the same order. But for some reason people started popping in out of the word works.
We had the business plan all done at the beginning of last year, so when we got into it in July we were ready. Than we had all our money, loans and everything financial all set too (or so we thought). Then we went to then we went to the city offices and set up all the appointments that we thought we needed. I say thought because when we went to get the information they (code enforcement) gave us a list with all the depts. that we needed to talk to and have inspections and things. Done, great!!!! right, not so fast. Health inspector came and all was great, actually he is the only one that I have not had issues with. He has actually been very helpful.
When we first went to the zoning dept the lady we talked to says no you are all set. Since you are not having anyone sitting down and being served you are all set. Fine. then about a month later one of the inspectors came by and said oh you have tables, I said yes, this is the area for brides/tastings. Then he went back to zoning and things changed, we had to stop the work that I had been approved to do until the meetings were all done and they decided that yes I was all set on zoning.
See I don't want anyone to think that I/we didn't do our homework. We did. We did all these things before we even signed the lease. We have a great landlord. He also helped alot when we things went haywire. He had tons of information. Anyway. It wasn't being ill prepared, we were prepared. I went online to the city website, got all the information that they have themselves for opening business and followed this guide step by step. We asked for help from people that have much more knowledge than us in this sort of thing, contractors, chef with restaurants, bakery owners, business services agencies, It's just one of those things you just can't put your finger on. It's just one of those things that have no explanation, sorta' have to be in it to see it.
We had the information it was just the lack of communication with one dept and the next, the inconsistencies from one dept and the next, actually even the inconsistencies from one inspector and the next....things like that. I guess if I were the only one I could say, oh I really messed things up. But like I mentioned before the city is giving others the same run around. Yes did we make mistakes? But nothing to make it this get this out of control. and then what I keep thinking it's not happening only to me there are others in the same boat. So it makes you think this many people can't be all making the same mistakes as me???? Makes you wonder??? I don't want to be a victim, I want something to come out of this. Maybe not the shop but at this point I don't want the city to do this type of things to others. The economy isn't great we know that but in this situation it's not the only thing to blame.
I was at a school fundraiser last night and without mentioning anything about the shop I was talking to a dad that is trying to open a dance studio and is having a hard time with zoning and things. I am sure we are not all doing the same things wrong. Why is zoning giving everyone a hard time. IDK.
Again thank you for all the advice. It has made me go back and look at all the steps and see if I crossed all my t's and dotted all my I's and more and more I realize that we did take the steps in the right order. So then why, why this out of control. Did we sweat some of the small stuff before we should have yeah we did. But again nothing that should have spiraled this out of control. It has made me look back to the depts and seeing which are the depts that myself and others are having the issues with. are they the same, are they the same people others are having issues with. I guess I'm being my own investigative reporter,
I have thought about contacting the media, but like I mentioned in a previous post the lawyer is looking into some things. We have an appointment with him next week/Thursday to see what happening. So I am anxious to see what has been going on. Again I will keep you all posted and again thanks for all the support.