Permits?....We don't need no stinkin permits!!!

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Don M
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Post by Don M »

Yes, it sounds like you need some legal advice from a real estate lawyer before you proceed. I would think with your documentation from 1998 you should be able ask for a variance or be grandfathered. Perhaps the city building department has a copy of the permit and everything is above board & proper. Good Luck & keep us posted. Don

lakee911
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Post by lakee911 »

scooter wrote:I luv the trailer idea! i dont' pull permits fer nuttin! what the man don't know won't hurt me! they want everything brought to current codes,forget the fact that what was original worked just fine! and remember if you get caught just act stupid...permit ,oh okay,didn't know I needed one, where do I get one?! good luck,,and don't start work to early, annoy someone in the area with power tools in the early a.m. and they might turn ya in.....Remember.... STEALTH!!!!!!!!
Permits are hassles, but they're there for a reason. I usually don't get one unless it's absolutely req'd (moving/upgrading electrical service, new water line, removing septic system, HUGE addition, etc). Ignorance is no excuse. "Sorry Officer, I didn't know there was a speed limit...." Depending on the inspector/city/you/phase of the moon/inspector's wife's PMS/historic commission/etc they could allow it, but question your construction methods and make you tear it down for a footer inspection or something. It can be risky. When you go to sell the house, somethings like that can be questioned too.

Talk to your neighbors, see what they think. Don't piss 'em off with 5AM construction noise! Good idea. ;) Good luck.

Jason

Jason

Ted
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Post by Ted »

Don't get me wrong, I HATE that so many bldg. codes are dumbed down to take all creativity (& often common sense) away from the designer and the builder.........but let me offer a couple of opposing points to consider: as frustrated homeowners currently fixing up a 1939 house, I know ALL too well the aggravation of bad tradesmen......we made a serious mistake in who we hired as builders, and both we and all the other trades have suffered for it, w/ the major hassles of delays and fixing their screwups.....I refer to them as the Three Stooges, which is a charitable way of saying that they're incompetent laborers masquerading as carpenters, with a disgraceful work ethic to boot. I say all this because, after losing my temper with the County Building Inspector from frustration, it finally sunk in that hey, this guy's just trying to protect me from idiots like them. The plumbers & electricians by contrast are true professionals, because they have licenses to safeguard. So my whole outlook on inspectors has changed, and my patience with the process has improved as well.

I myself have deliberately not pulled permits before --- "I know how to build it properly", "It's just another way for Big Brother to asess your property taxes higher", "they'll take away all the aesthetic creativity with stupid requirements".....all those reasons. But when I DID go & get the permit for this current renovation, the guy mentioned that insurance companies now routinely call them before a claim is approved to make sure any appropriate permits were issued; no permit, no insurance check. Hmmm, something to think hard about.

David
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Location: Nashville, TN

Post by David »

I've just taken an interest in this thread since initiating my own demo/rebuild project. Please bear with me and tell me what you think I should do.

I have an old poorly built shed-roof addition on the rear of my house that contains my kitchen, utility room, and a side porch/storage room. It's awful, ugly and poorly built. We want to tear down the addition and rebuild it on the existing foundation with a taller roof so we get more inside ceiling height. I live in a historic neighborhood (already got the historical commission permit) that, like many, was built before codes existed, and my house is built almost ON the property line, much less set back 5'. We're not exactly sure where the property line is, in fact, there are no markers or fences.

The codes department at first refused to issue a demo/building permit to rebuild the old addition on existing foundation because of the 5' setback, their computer plat map of the property shows the addition as being within less than five feet of the supposed property line. The problem, however, is that this plat map is seriously flawed in its boundary demarcations, even the codes administrator admits this, something to do with the way they used aerial photography overlayed on old tax maps, and everyone's property lines are skewed to the south 5-10 feet. It's a mess.

Anyway, my contractor went back to codes and gave them some "creative accounting" for where the property line actually is and told the codes permit guy we were 4.5' from the line (thinking they'd let us slide on the six inches). He figured we'd tell them where the line actually is and codes would have to come out and prove us wrong if they really cared, not likely. The permit guy didn't let us slide, BUT he gave us a permit anyway on the verbal condition that we move the existing foundation six inches in to give us the 5' min distance. I obviously don't want to do this because, a) I'll lose square footage in my house and b) it will make the project more expensive to tear out the old foundation and rebuild it six inches away. Plus it's just completely asinine, stupid, ignorant, and rediculous that I should have to move the foundation of an existing addition that I'm rebuilding SIX FREAKING INCHES. The permit he issued us however, says nothing about the six inch mandate, it was all done by word of mouth and a handshake in the codes office.

So, we have the building permit in hand and it says nothing about moving the foundation six inches. Should I just go ahead and rebuild on the existing foundation and cross fingers that noone notices? My neighbors, by the way, are nice and will not complain. How likely is it that the guy who issued the permit will tell the codes inspectors about the six inches? Do you think the inspectors will even notice or care about the setback, especially since it's not entirely evident where the property line is?

Schag
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Post by Schag »

The permit he issued us however, says nothing about the six inch mandate, it was all done by word of mouth and a handshake in the codes office.
If you've got the paper, and it's all been filed and stamped, I don't think you'd be in the wrong to do what you plan on doing.
Just be all Sgt. Schultz about it if that extra 6 inches ever comes up.
"I know notzing." 8)

lakee911
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Post by lakee911 »

I'd do it w/o moving it, but another option would be to buy 6in of your neighbors land and combine the parcels. I think it can be done. I saw a 6ft 6ft parcel of land in my neighborhood. I can only guess its an old shed or something that someone bought. It's land locked and even has an address. Heh.

Jason

Don M
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Location: Boiling Springs, PA

Post by Don M »

You are probably safe but it would still bother me. I would not want to spend the money, time & effort only to have them come back and dispute the set-back. As Schag said, you have the proper paper so if it is questioned I'm sure a lawyer could successfully argue that you legally did what you were supposed to. Don

Imelda
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Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:33 pm
Location: Stratford, CT

Post by Imelda »

I would be careful about building without a permit. I don't know about your state or town, but I know a few people that have had to tear down work that was done with out a permit. Then you are out a whole lot of time and money.

Starr-Point
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Post by Starr-Point »

If the guy looked you in the eye and shook hands on the deal, I'd say you're really taking a chance on ignoring that agreement. Sure, a lawyer might get you out of trouble, but the city might just counter-sue you, arguing that your agreement was, in fact, an oral contract. At that point, guess what - the judge will tell you to build as per the ordinance, which is what you've been trying to avoid all along.

I'd hate to have one of those chaps waiting for a chance to catch me bending - chances are this will not be the last permit you ever need. But he may the last building inspector you ever know.
RSS

Nancy W
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Post by Nancy W »

I'm being creative here, thinkning outside the box, and have not idea if this will work but...

to avoid loose square footage inside and still move the foundation, could put the foundation where they want it, but cantilever the building 6 inches over the foundation. On new contruction of a split foyer, the second floor often overhangs the lower level by a foot or so in front and/or back. It would not save the expense of moving the foundation. Or can you add square footage to the back if you change the foundation, but again there is the expense.

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