Property and business owners in Miami-Dade benefiting from new permit assistance program

A new program is already helping property owners in Miami-Dade County avoid construction project pitfalls.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A new program is already helping property owners in Miami-Dade County avoid construction project pitfalls.

The Homeowner and Small Business Permitting Assistance program is completely free for county residents. Miami-Dade officials said the program was launched to help get property owners and their projects to the finish line, problem-free.

“I’m not aware of any other jurisdiction having a dedicated team that can, actually, lead homeowners and small business owners through a permitting process,” said Miami-Dade County Deputy Building Official Sergio Ascunce. “We’ll start with a permit application, how to fill out our permit application--making sure they get the right set of plans from a design professional.”

Ascunce said the program helps homeowners and business owners who have hired a contractor, or those who are managing projects themselves.

“There’s a person, here, that will take them by the hand, step-by-step, through the process,” he explained.

Think of it as the county’s construction concierge service.

A small team of about a half dozen staffers has already helped more than 9600 property owners since the program launched in 2019.

The assistance is for people starting brand new construction, doing renovations, and for anyone working to clear up violations.

Lorie Rodriguez said the program was a godsend. Rodriguez inherited her family’s farm in Perrine in 2020.

Soon after, she said county code officers were citing her for building violations.

Rodriguez, who is a traveling veterinarian, said she hired someone to help her clear up the violations.

“It did not pan out as I had hoped,” she said. “This person did not do the job.”

Rodriguez said through the permitting assistance program, she was able to clear her violations and pass inspections.

“Every time you talk about government, you talk about how things are not quite as practical as they should be,” Rodriguez said. “This is a really good program. It’s not broke, don’t try to fix it.”

County officials said they’ve helped more than 2600 homeowners resolve unpermitted work issues, and more than 400 small businesses navigate zoning issues.

“There’s the old adage: it’s easier to ask for forgiveness, than to ask for a permit,” said Ascunce. “We want to get away from that. We want to make it easy to do business.”

For more information on Miami-Dade’s Small Business Permitting Assistance program, click here.

While Broward County does not have a designated program, residents in unincorporated Broward, or cities the county contracts with, can always contact the county with permitting and code questions. Click here to view Broward County’s Code Enforcement webpage.

About the Author:

Layron Livingston made the move from Ohio's Miami Valley to Miami, Florida, to join the Local 10 News team.