Wednesday, October 16, 2013

C/O Straight Up, With Sugar Coating or No C/O?

Part I
Would you like that new business with a Certificate of Occupancy or Without?  Options are usually NOT given as businesses are required to have a Certificate of Occupancy to open their doors.  It really is for everyone’s protection, but yes, it does mean government is in your business.  But if it is for my protection and the protection of all who should enter my place of business, why should I object?  Why should I lie about what I am going to do in that place of business?  Why object to reporting more than one of your businesses in your one location? In a perfect world void of corruption and the bad and ugly, Certificates of Occupancy would not even be a reason to get a City Building Official fired, but in some cities, it is considered justifiable cause, IF you happen to be BFF of the Mayor, the City Manager, and the Assistant City Manager.

I am talking here about businesses within a city ONLY, for businesses located outside city limits, the county jurisdictions have their own requirements that may differ from the municipalities.  Most cities nationwide require Certificates of Occupancy for the following:
            All commercial buildings within city limits
            All new businesses within city limits
            Businesses changing ownership of an existing business within city limits
            Businesses moving to a new location within city limits
            Each separate business sharing office space within city limits

Permits are to be obtained prior to change of use, construction, demolition and remodel work, occupancy classification, ownership change, and tenant name change.  This is required in buildings, tenant spaces, and commercial sites.  The specific intended use of the space is required so the occupancy classification can be determined.  This is very important for Police and Fire calls for the safety of all involved.  A final inspection is done by the Fire Inspector and Building Inspection Department once all requirements for the occupancy are satisfied AND prior to conducting business or occupying the space.  If everything passes inspection, a Certificate of Occupancy is issued for each business establishment in a commercial building.       

In Wylie’s 2010 statistics showed that there had been a population increase of 173.77 percent since the year 2000.  Along with the continued growth in Wylie, one could see new businesses sprouting up everywhere.   With the increase in business start-ups, Wylie’s Fire Inspector was discovering non-permitted businesses and called on Dwight for assistance.  In summation, after repeated visits from the Fire Marshall’s inspector, Dwight met with the Fire Marshall.  A plan for an informal task force comprised of the Fire Inspector, Code Enforcement Officers and Multi-Trade Building Inspectors was presented to upper management for approval.  The plan was approved, the only objection being referred to as “a task force”.   Dwight and other employees living in Wylie would report any weekend move-ins, remodels, etc. to the Code Administrative Secretary for follow-up.  This type of team effort was helpful, as the city growth continues, yet the employee count decreases in many areas by attrition—the gradual reduction in personnel through resignation, retirement or the elimination of specific jobs for cost reduction purposes.

With the opening of the shop in the fall of 2011, I went through Wylie’s application process to obtain The Crafter’s Co-op Certificate of Occupancy.  The required application is short, easy to understand with straight forward questions and prompts.  It should be easy for anyone to apply and be up and open with little trouble.  Yet there are businesses failing to apply, some are dishonest with the information they supply and others expect favors from their friends in high places to get rid of the Enforcer.  In the Q Office Suites and Art Center building where The Crafter’s Co-op business was located, there were two different businesses that caused the closing of the shop and the end of  Dwight’s career by lying to cover-up their questionable and non-conforming business practices.  The Mayor and the City Officials continued the charade and helped facilitate the ending with their own lies and cover-ups as well.

A’Vouloir Apothecary’s Certificate of Occupancy was issued, yet the owners failed to meet compliance requirements according to the Texas Pharmaceutical Board which is the governing agency for all apothecaries and pharmacies in Texas.  According to the owner of A’Vouloir, his Chemical Engineer degree is all that was needed to open his apothecary in California and claimed that he met Texas requirements too.  There are definite differences in the California and Texas laws governing apothecaries.  One major difference is that in California, apothecaries can dispense marijuana, but it is considered illegal to do so in Texas.  Another difference is that the Texas Pharmaceutical Board requires a pharmacy license from the Texas State Board of Pharmacy and does not consider a Chemical Engineer degree an acceptable alternative to a pharmacy license.  In addition, the Texas Pharmacy Act prohibits any business from using the word “apothecary” in any manner that would lead the public to believe that the business is a pharmacy, unless the business is a licensed pharmacy.  In the Texas Pharmacy Laws and Rules, the intent of the law is to view the words “apothecary” and “pharmacy” as having the same meaning.  A health-related business that uses the word “apothecary” in its signage or advertisements or verbal presentation to the public, may certainly be in violation of the Texas Pharmacy Act, if it does not hold a pharmacy license from the Texas State Board of Pharmacy.  All requirements for personnel, operation, records, etc. that apply to a pharmacy would apply to a health-related business that uses the word “apothecary”.  

The many infractions in everyone’s blame game were not Dwight’s or mine, but A’Vouloir’s owners and accomplices in the building as well as city officials aiding in the charade to cover the truth behind this business.  Not knowing if A’Vouloir was still in operation, I did a Google search tonight.  Imagine my surprise, when I found 14 pages with 132 entries of advertisements for A’Vouloir Apothecary.  And of course many of these listings were for “pharmacy”, “drug store” and of course “apothecary”.  Obviously, they are continuing to hide behind their web of deceit.  At the bottom of page 14 of the Google search, this is what reads to continue on to page 15 through who knows how many more pages??
"In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 132 already displayed.
If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included."

For more information, you can refer to the Texas Pharmacy Laws and Rules regarding statutes for Apothecaries in the Occupations Code as follows.
                   TITLE 3. HEALTH PROFESSIONS

PART II of   C/O Straight Up, With Sugar Coating or No C/O   to be continued….

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