Puerto Rico private sector calls Permits Regulation regressive

María Miranda

Puerto Rico United Retailers Association (CUD by its Spanish acronym) President Jorge Argüelles and various small and midsize business organization leaders charged on Wednesday that the Joint Permits Regulation is regressive and is duplicating the costs of obtaining permits.

Close to a dozen business organizations rejected the measure, which went into effect in June. In a news conference at CUD headquarters in Hato Rey, Argüelles said that the new permits regulation under Act 19 of 2017, which amended and repealed some sections of Act 161 of 2009, duplicates some of the requirements and increases the cost of doing business on the island.

“One of the main concerns the business sector has is that the Construction Codes are applied retroactively, which imposes additional requirements that are more onerous,” Argüelles said.

The new law also creates the Single Use Permit, consolidating the process to obtain a use permit, along with certifications for fire prevention, environmental health and other licenses and authorizations into a single permit.

“The main problem that businesses are facing is that the single use permit is considered as new permit, even if the business has been operating for decades, and some agencies, such as the Fire Department and the Permits & Endorsements Management Office [OGPe by its Spanish acronym] enforce and demand compliance with the dispositions of the Construction Code and Fire Code, retroactively,” Entrepreneurs for Puerto Rico President Enid Monge added. “This interpretation is incorrect and contradicts the International Construction Code, on which the code in Puerto Rico is based.”

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