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#26 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 12:50 PM

Well Danial...Look on the bright side...

AT least you are not dealing with any Home Owner Associations...which as a royal pain ...

As long as you are under the "counties" (not the State) square foot regulations you should not have a problem in any case... The Pod is just a Plastic play house ..scope cover.. whatever your want to call it ... The darn thing can be removed in an hour ..

Bob G.

#27 jturie

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:45 PM

25 square feet? I think my garbage pail shed has more square footage than that.

I'm so glad I live in an unincorporated township--the borough line is across the street, and those guys are nearly as anal as your building inspector. When I lived in the borough and wanted to put up a deck, the inspector (25-yrs old btw) insisted that I run bolts through my foundation...which was 18 inch field stone and mortar!!!

If this doofus ever needs proof that you have a temporary structure, give me a holler. I'll be happy to drive up there and help you take the dome off, and then remount it 30 minutes later after he drives away. These guys drive me nuts.....

#28 Midnight Dan

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:25 PM

These guys drive me nuts.....


I'm right with you there!

-Dan

#29 CelestronDaddy

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:38 PM

Dan - I have to work sometimes with Code Enforcement in my area and they can be a problem especially if you have already had issues with the inspector. Sounds like you have the rules on your side this time. Hopefully the guy will not push anything and force you to go downtown.... Tony

#30 Midnight Dan

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:32 PM

Planning the site for the Pod ... I have 35 acres so I have some options. Here's an arial view of the property with 3 potential sites tagged:

Posted Image

C is out near our large pond and I would LOVE to have the observatory there. When we built the pond, we made a hill where "C" is out of some of the dirt, so it's nice and high relative to trees, etc.. It's isolated, dark, quiet, and beautiful! But ... those are also it's weak points. It takes about 10 minutes to stroll out there on a nice summer day. Trudging through the snow to get there would be an ordeal. There's no electricity within 1500 feet of it, so no power options other than solar. But the killer is that it is isolated enough that vandals would have an easy time with it. We've had items stolen from that location.

B is currently my winter location, mostly because I keep the snow plowed from that spot anyway. Its also close enough to the house so that I can haul all my stuff out without too much trouble. And it's close to the barns so power is easily available The downside is that it's close to the road and car headlights. There's also power lines along the road to the west which, along with some nearby trees, block some of the view. Observing to the west after sunset means looking over hot asphalt, and it is quite near our lovely manure pile ... yes that's a horse barn nearby. This location is acceptable, but I think I'm going to go with A.

A is in the corner of a horse pasture and it is where I observe in the summer. It's a bit farther to carry things out to, but it's darker than B because it's farther from the road, and the horizon is pretty clear for 360° around. Plus, carrying things is less of an issue when I have most of my gear already in the observatory.

Here's a closer view of the A & B locations:
Posted Image

At location A, I plan to add some fencing to create a square area about 20' x 20' (red square), and put up a 12' x 12' deck for the POD. A gate will open to the North (left in the image) and there is also a gate in the NW corner of the horse work arena which is the grassy rectangular area to the left of location A. So to get to the observatory I'll have to walk down a lane next to the arena, and then cut through the arena to get to the observatory.

The snow may be a little tough in the winter, but it's not that far to walk. With the POD being on a raised deck, it should stay a bit more clear of snow than the surroundings. And there is already power going out to a pole near the work arena, so I'll have access to that if I want it.

-Dan

#31 coutleef

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:23 PM

Well, I have "issues". :grin:

These issues revolve around our local evil building inspector ... one I've had run-ins (and legal battles) with in the past. First, I want to put this thing on a raised deck. I'll have to dig footer holes that go below the front line, which is 4 feet here. That ain't gonna happen till late spring when the ground dries up and I can get my tractor and post hole digger out there.

I've had a brief discussion with the inspector regarding this installation and I can smell trouble already. He said if the structure is more than 25 square feet (it is), then it has to meet code for snow and wind load. The folks at Skyshed have not had these certified for snow and wind load and don't intend to because of the exorbitant cost. They also said they have dozens of these installed in NY state and this is the first time anyone has asked for this information. I backed off and decided to take a different tack.

In the spring, I plan to get a permit for the deck, install it, and get all the proper inspections. That's straightforward and should cause no problems. Then I'll wait 4-6 weeks, at which point the POD will appear on the deck after a weekend. At that point, the ball will be in his court. If he notices it, it will be up to him as to whether he wants to waste the town's time and money to do something about it.

And if he does, I'm pretty sure I'm covered anyway. I looked up the NY state building codes which state that a temporary structure of less than 120 square feet (which this is) does not need a permit. And it defines a temporary structure as one which is in place for less than 180 days. For this installation of the POD I'll be installing a wooden frame off to the side which allows me to push the dome off to the side for better zenith access when I need it. That means that I am completely removing the roof each time I use it. When the roof is removed, there is no longer a "building" in place. What remains is a 4' plastic fence. So that means that every time I use it, I am disassembling the building. I think that qualifies as a temporary structure.

Worst case, if he decides to push it, I'll have to go to the town board and plead my case. I don't think I'll have a problem. You know the old saying - easier to ask forgiveness than permission. :grin: BUT ... it does mean I have to be patient. :p

-Dan


Good strategy Dan and good luck. 25 square feet is really small. The structure here is your deck. The POD can be taken off, but not the deck. Just argue it is a big cover for your scopes. Can not believe they are going to annoy you with that big a land!!

#32 Midnight Dan

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:55 PM

Can not believe they are going to annoy you with that big a land!!


It baffles me! :ohgeeze:

-Dan

#33 Arthur Dent

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 05:29 AM

Well, I have "issues". :grin:

These issues revolve around our local evil building inspector ...

I've had a brief discussion with the inspector regarding this installation and I can smell trouble already. He said if the structure is more than 25 square feet (it is), then it has to meet code for snow and wind load. The folks at Skyshed have not had these certified for snow and wind load and don't intend to because of the exorbitant cost. They also said they have dozens of these installed in NY state and this is the first time anyone has asked for this information. I backed off and decided to take a different tack.

In the spring, I plan to get a permit for the deck, install it, and get all the proper inspections. That's straightforward and should cause no problems. Then I'll wait 4-6 weeks, at which point the POD will appear on the deck after a weekend. At that point, the ball will be in his court. If he notices it, it will be up to him as to whether he wants to waste the town's time and money to do something about it.

-Dan

Hi Dan

Aren't the deck (which is larger than 25 sq ft) and the POD (less than 25 sq ft) separate structures as they are not built as a whole - and one is not dependent on the other - as the POD could be a "stand alone" structure?

Would that help the argument? Especially since you are getting the inspector to inspect the deck and pass it first and then install the POD at a later date??

Art

Regarding names I propose "The Fireball Observatory" for obvious reasons.

#34 Midnight Dan

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:05 AM

Hi Art:

Well, the POD is 7.5 feet in diameter which puts the area at 44 square feet. So the POD alone is greater than 25 sq. feet.

But I do plan to make the argument that the POD is separate from the deck and is a temporary building so, to avoid inspection, it has to be less than 120 square feet ... which it is!

-Dan

#35 coutleef

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:54 AM

i own a house built in 1800 and. lassified as historical. so i need to justify all renovations and changes to my house.

i have learned that the best attitude is to avoid confrontation even if it may be frustrating.

your two step strategy is the best Dan: the permanent structure folows the rules and then you can say you always thougth that the pod was not a permanant structure since it can be
moved and follows the rules fro such structure.

the guy may just be more obsessive than the others but if you follow the rules and the pod corresponds to a non permanant structure, by rwspecting the rules you will satisfy his obsessive behavior. i found that you can not. change ones behavior easily and he is theone with power

#36 Arthur Dent

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:01 AM

How can they be square feet when the pod is circular :question:

Seriously, do you think that the slide on/slide off nature of the roof would discount it as a building or are your Buliding Inspectors really that bad?

Also, does it really matter given your location. It hardly seems like the neighbours are likely to complain!

Perhaps you could screen the POD from the road so if he drives by, all he would see is either a fence or a hedge. A fence could be made to fold out of the way possibly for unobstructed viewing?

Art

#37 Midnight Dan

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:37 AM

... do you think that the slide on/slide off nature of the roof would discount it as a building

That's what I'm hoping.

Also, does it really matter given your location. It hardly seems like the neighbours are likely to complain!

There's certainly no problems with the neighbors. It only matters if the building inspector thinks it matters. We'll see.

-Dan

#38 mclewis1

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:00 PM

I would have a platform and pier built and inspected for location A. I'd describe it as an observing platform. Then later on I'd put a POD on it as a temporary structure and just not tell anyone.

The downside to this idea might be the need to put a proper railing around the edge of the raised platform (which of course wouldn't be necessary with the POD in place). Perhaps some quick n' dirty railings from 2x4 and using thin ply or chip board to fill them in (instead of the bother of 4" spaced pickets). Ugly, yes, but whatever it takes to inexpensively pass the inspection. Once the POD's in place the railing would come down. A little landscaping and such in the spring (tree/bush planting) and the POD should disappear from the road.

#39 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:47 PM

I go for the free standiong deck now and as soon as any inspector leaves...put the Pod up and be down with it...

Otherwise I'd go for site C ... and buy a 4 wheel all terrain vehicle so I did not have to walk.. Power can be had by hauling an extra 12 V battery out with you...

So much land and you still have problems..??? ROTLMAO...

Bob G.

#40 mclewis1

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:49 PM

So much land and you still have problems..??? ROTLMAO... Bob G.

Bob, I was thinking the same thing ... I'd love to have Dan's "problems" ... :roflmao:

#41 Midnight Dan

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:00 PM

The downside to this idea might be the need to put a proper railing around the edge of the raised platform (which of course wouldn't be necessary with the POD in place).


According to the code, Pod or no Pod, if the deck is more than 30" high it needs a railing. I plan to make it slightly less so I don't have to deal with the extra effort and expense.

Otherwise I'd go for site C ... and buy a 4 wheel all terrain vehicle so I did not have to walk.. Power can be had by hauling an extra 12 V battery out with you...


Gave that some thought, but I'd need two vehicles ... a 4 wheeler in the summer and a snowmobile in the winter ... along with all the associated vehicle maintenance, storage, cost, etc. The 12V power could work and in fact I was thinking of a solar charger, but I want to put in a minimal climate control system to handle dew and excessive heat, which would take continuous power and the 12V/solar solution couldn't provide enough. And there's still the issue of vandalism. We had a brand new $600 4-person paddle boat for the pond walk away when we weren't looking. Would have taken 4 people to carry any distance! The area is open to people walking through from adjoining lands, but completely blocked from the view of the road or house so it feels quite isolated when you're back there, and quite "safe" for vandals. :p

But I gotta tell ya, when I'm back there I keep thinking, Damn! I wish there was some practical way I could have an observatory here!

-Dan

#42 Peter9

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:28 AM

Hi Dan,

Not knowing how things work re inspectors etc, I think it would be foolish of me to try and advise you on the matter. Your U.S buddies, some of who have had similar problems, seem to think your on the right track anyway.

So I hope that when things start to happen, it all falls into line in your favour, and that you can enjoy trouble free observing from your new POD.

Regards. Peter.






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