Jefferson City, nonprofit to offer free building permits to tornado vicitims

City 'has never had anything like this before'

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Hundreds of Jefferson City homeowners will need a building permit from the city government before they can repair damage from last week's tornado, and a nonprofit has pledged to pay 100% of the fee.

The Jefferson City Council passed a bill Thursday that temporarily lowers the cost of all building permits for tornado victims to $25 until Sept. 1. The Historic City of Jefferson, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to historic preservation, has pledged to pay for tornado victims' permits.

The HCJ is accepting donations on their website.

Over 400 buildings were affected by last Wednesday's EF3 tornado, according to Building Official Larry Burkhardt, and a majority of them will likely need permits for necessary repairs.

Jefferson City "has never had anything like this ever before," Burkhardt said of the repair effort. "Don't be afraid to ask for help."

Click here for more information on Jefferson City building permits.

Burkhardt guessed that the majority of repairs could take one to two years to complete. The city Planning & Protective Services Department expects to receive six months' worth of permit applications in the next few weeks.

Currently, the department has four building inspectors working to evaluate homes and whether they need a building permit or what exactly needs to be fixed.

Last week, the Missouri Structural Assessment and Visual Evaluation, or SAVE Coalition inspected homes hit by the tornado, and marked them with red, yellow and green placards according to their structural integrity. Roughly 180 homes were given red and yellow markers, and Burkhardt said all of those homes will need a permit.

So far, the city has issued 20 permits related to storm damage. Burkhardt said the department will be prioritizing storm-damaged homes and residents to help displaced families.

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