22 December 2005

Double Standards

So, today, as it does most days, lunch beckoned. Feeling cheap and not wanting to go far, I headed over to the Wendy's at 6th and Sherman Street. I was stunned to find, as I went in to order, that I would be dining in a construction site. Power tools were humming. Carpenters were hard at work. Wall paper guys occupied ladders on every wall. A grout guy was putting in tile right next to the cash register as we spoke. Door frames were leaning up against the wall in the hallway to the bathroom. Fixtures were displaced. The ceiling tiles were missing. The place smelled of sawdust and wallpaper glue.

They did appear to have permits for the work, one dated from three days ago and signed by a Montoya, presumably from the city. But, what I want to know is why Wendy's gets to stay open in the middle of a construction project, while any ordinary restaurant doesn't get to serve customers until the job is over and they have received a certificate of occupancy. I know of one would be restaurant operator who has finished all construction work a few blocks away who has been waiting more than a month for an inspection and can't open without one.

I'm not an expert on Denver's permitting process (the permit work I've done has been mostly in the suburbs), and know that the devil is in the details. There could be entirely plausible reasons for the anamoly. But, it certainly looks like a double standard to me, and it certainly isn't good business or safety practice to have that kind of construction activity going on where people are dining.

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