BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
The city of Palo Alto has made a deal with the owner of a house next to Peers Park that’s taken 11 years to build, irking neighbors who are tired of the eyesore.
Randy Feriante, the owner of the house at 1693 Mariposa Ave., signed an agreement on Thursday (Aug. 30) promising to finish construction by July 31, 2019 to avoid $79,600 in fines.
Feriante also renewed his expired building permit for $4,044.85 and agreed to keep leaves, dirt and debris out of the sidewalk in front of his house and hide the construction between a 7-foot fence.
The city has the ability to fine Feriante because he has violated two city ordinances. Ordinance 5227, which passed Jan. 13, 2014, penalizes construction applicants who don’t renew their applications within 30 days of expiration. Ordinance 5889, which was passed in 2016, set a four-year time limit for the issuance of a final inspection of a project.
Former Mayor Gail Woolley, who lives next door to the project, said the city didn’t take action to impose the fines against Feriante until May 1, when she complained to Chief Building Inspector George Hoyt.
“I think it’s simply a matter of staff. They don’t have the staff time to really pursue the ordinance,” Woolley told the Post. “I think actually it’s kind of new ground at this point. This is the first one that, so far as I know, they have enforced.”
At City Council on Monday, City Manager Jim Keene promised Feriante’s exasperated neighbors in the Southgate neighborhood that the city would do “everything within our authority, and if we don’t have enough, we’ll look at future authority” to end the construction.
The house was torn down in 2007 and has been in a state of construction ever since.
Feriante is the founder of a Menlo Park roofing and solar company called Dura-Foam Roofing and Solar.
His 42-year-old son Jarom Feriante lived in the house with his ex-wife before it was torn down 11 years ago.
Another house in progress for 13 years
The Feriantes also own the house at 628 Maybell Ave., which has been under construction for 13 years and is sitting empty next door to Juana Briones Elementary School.
Woolley said passers-by frequently stop at the Mariposa Avenue home and, when she’s outside, ask her: What is going on with that house?
Jim McFall, an architect who lives nearby on Escobita Avenue, said the house’s raised concrete floor over a basement and unusual roof system would make it a complicated project to complete.
Woolley speculated that Randy had dragged his feet on the project because he didn’t have the skills to complete it himself.
“It was supposed to be Jarom’s project originally and he walked away from it,” Woolley said. “(Randy) doesn’t have the skills necessary to really be the contractor, and he may find it difficult to find someone. I don’t know, but he’s had 11 years to figure it out, so we’re done waiting.”
The Feriantes didn’t return multiple requests for comment.