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Getting bummed out. Another permit thread.

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#1 Wmacky

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:15 PM

Well as my year long project comes to a close, I find myself sinking into a depression. You see, there are no permits. The project started as a rehab of an existing OB that I transported to my new home from my previous residence. I couldn't get a straight answer as to how this should be permitted, but was told that being Florida, The roof would have to meet strict engineering standard for hurricane force winds. That wasn't going to happen, as this was an old structure I built when I was 20 many years ago.

I decided to forgo permitting. I wasn't that concerned as I would just burn the thing to the ground if needed. But, then I started to desire upgrades, then A warm room seemed like a good Idea. Well as one thing led to another, and I now have multiple thousands invested, and hundreds upon hundreds of hours of labor.

With just a few items left, I find I'm lacking the drive to finish the project...... :(

I wish my county allowed non permitted structures below a certain size like most of you guys. They want a permit on every structure, even a dog house. This is why very few accessory buildings get permitted in this county.

I probably have nothing to be concerned about. All my neighbors have tons of buildings without permits. Tool sheds, Giant green houses, RV ports, Wood shops. None are permitted! If I go down, there will be a ton of people with me.

Still it bugs me...... :(

#2 1965healy

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:53 PM

Trying to dodge the permit bullet seems to be a common goal and practice. Those of us who can manage by staying under a certain square footage do it routinely. Those, like you, who don't have that option either spend the money on permits or just press forward and pray they're not found out by the code inspectors or turned in by a nasty neighbor. Most of the time I think folks "get away" with building w/o a permit. It would be irresponsible for me to suggest that avoiding the permitting process is a good idea.

A a "good citizen" I understand why the process is in place. It will hopefully prevent the building of unsafe structures, discourage folks from adapting sheds into unsafe housing and cut down on the inclination of some folks to build outlandish eyesores that impact neighborhoods in a negative way. They're meant to keep your noisy neighbor from putting his party palace/hot tub right on the property line outside your bedroom window or turning storage sheds into "affordable" housing that burns down when someone tries to heat it using 3 cheap extension cords daisy chained together attached to a 1500 watt space heater. There really is a good reason for building codes.

Having said that, we are a bit weird to some folks. An observatory in a backyard doesn't make sense to most municipalities. It's outside their realm of experience. The more "normal" you can make it seem to them the better. A set of plans gives your building "legitimacy", and wiring schematics etc a sense that things will be safe. It also keeps your insurance company happy and more inclined to cover you in case of a loss. Trying to explain to them why you had thousands of dollars with og gear in a "homemade shed" in your yard if the roof blows off, the building burns down or someone steals your stuff can be a hard sell.

Most of us like our privacy, hate the chance of increasing our property taxes and resent paying fees that seem excessive for a space to enjoy a hobby. The truth is "ya gotta pay to play" sometimes. If you can avoid fees and inspections by keeping a smaller footprint that may be the way to go. If you have to be permitted no matter what perhaps you can try to "stage" the build so that you add the warm room later after the inspector buys off the observatory. As for a hurricane rated roof I'd touch base with BYO, they may have drawings that meet that requirement.

In any case try not to let the obstacles overwhelm you.

#3 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:19 PM

It has been my experience that coming up with a set of plans with a structural engineer or architect's stamp on them almost always turns the entire permitting process into a breeze.

I have always had the best luck getting the structural engineering stamp by looking around for a young, open-minded, self-employed engineer to work with. Usually at the best rates too.

Municipal bureaucrats are much more likely to lock horns with homeowners than they are with professional engineers, who can often quote building codes from memory.

I hope this helps.

#4 Wmacky

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:18 PM

Karen, I'm afraid I was too vague. All those option are no longer open to me as the Observatory is now complete. Just crying over spilled milk here.....

What brought this on is the fact that the OB turned out nicer than planned ( and much, much more expensive.) The thought that I may have to tear it down one day is keeping me from really being happy with the completion. If I every did have to do that, it would wrap me up from continuing the hobby.

I guess I'll have to get over it.

#5 csa/montana

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:49 PM

The thought that I may have to tear it down one day is keeping me from really being happy with the completion. If I every did have to do that, it would wrap me up from continuing the hobby.

I guess I'll have to get over it.



One cannot stop enjoying things because of what "might" happen down the road. Enjoy your observatory to the fullest now, while you are healthy and have the time. If something has to be done in the future, work with it, & don't give up. :)

#6 1965healy

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:54 PM

Then by all means get out and enjoy it now. As Carol said don't let what might (or might not) happen keep you from enjoying the now.

#7 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 01:27 AM

Karen, I'm afraid I was too vague. All those option are no longer open to me as the Observatory is now complete. Just crying over spilled milk here.....

What brought this on is the fact that the OB turned out nicer than planned ( and much, much more expensive.) The thought that I may have to tear it down one day is keeping me from really being happy with the completion. If I every did have to do that, it would wrap me up from continuing the hobby.

I guess I'll have to get over it.


It still isn't too late to get a set of plans made up with an engineering stamp.

That usually halts any attempt to make you dismantle your observatory.

I hope that helps.

#8 rimcrazy

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 09:29 AM

In addition to using glass to look at the heavens, I am a fused glass artist. I built a studio addition on to my garage a few years back. My garage is detached and has power and even plumbing sporting a nice bathroom. At the time there was no sheetrock in the inside structure. The code, where it is located, dictated I must "Finish" the garage before they would let me add an addition. So I had to get the interior insulated and sheetrocked and painted before they would let me proceed to tear out a 10'x12' section of the wall to let me add my addition. Yea..... I had to finish it so I could destroy it. Bureaucracy at it's best.

#9 Midnight Dan

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:19 AM

Karen:

A a "good citizen" I understand why the process is in place. It will hopefully prevent the building of unsafe structures ...


That's the way I felt about it until a recent run in with our building inspector. I've been living in my location for nearly 30 years and in all our building/remodeling projects have done everything by the book. But when we went in to get a permit to build a small storage shed/pavilion near our pond, everything went sideways.

For some reason, the inspector decided to look through all of our records. There was an inspection record missing from a barn we built 20 years ago and he decided we needed to get a new inspection - including digging up the property to inspect the foundation! I had to hire a lawyer and spend thousands to find out that he basically answers to no one and can do whatever he wants. After getting copies of our records from the town, I discovered that there was an inspection record from someone else's property in my files! Obviously the town was having trouble keeping track of their inspection records and I had to pay for it!

What about the shed we wanted to build? He told us we needed to dig a 4 foot deep foundation to be below the frost line - for an 8' x 12' storage shed! This would have cost a fortune. In the end, I spent hours of my own time pouring through the arcane, online codes for New York state to find out he was just plain wrong.

Most of us like our privacy, hate the chance of increasing our property taxes and resent paying fees that seem excessive for a space to enjoy a hobby.


I didn't have problems with any of those issues. I resent having to spend thousands of dollars at the whim of some town official that is apparently out of control, answers to no one and can do whatever he pleases.

My take-away from all this is to do whatever I can to avoid the inspector in the future.

-Dan

#10 opticsguy

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:22 AM

Building codes make a lot of sense to protect all of us from wreckless and irresponsibly designed strutures.

On the other side, each inspector has an attitude often in conflict with any common sense or courtesy.

A building permit to build a residence in my city is running around $45,000 not an exageration, and all this for mostly paperwork and beurocracy.

#11 csa/montana

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:27 AM

I resent having to spend thousands of dollars at the whim of some town official that is apparently out of control, answers to no one and can do whatever he pleases.



Someone hired or appointed him, since you had to hire an attorney anyway; might it not be the time to take this up with the town officials, perhaps with a news reporter sitting in? Everyone has to answer to someone; it just may not be obvious, who that is.

#12 Starhawk

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:02 AM

Per the original thread, the reason for the hurricane wind protection isn't an unreasonable desire for every garden implement to be safe from hurricanes. The reason is examination of the results of major storms showed major structures able to withstand the winds were being badly damaged by debris from minor buildings and such coming apart and producing dangerous wind-driven debris. Upshot- if you don't permit and your building wrecks your neighbors' houses, don't be surprised to be on the receiving end of lawsuits.

Get an engineer and get a little "Hurricane preparedness improvement" project to get a permit for and get your tail end covered.

-Rich

#13 Midnight Dan

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 12:14 PM

Someone hired or appointed him, since you had to hire an attorney anyway; might it not be the time to take this up with the town officials, perhaps with a news reporter sitting in? Everyone has to answer to someone; it just may not be obvious, who that is.


The building inspector in our town has no specific "supervisor". He works for the town board. In a small town, all these guys know one another and back each other up. There's no accountability there.

Our lawyer basically told us that if we wanted to fight this, it would cost many tens of thousands in legal fees and we could lose anyway. If the stakes were high enough and someone is willing to spend the time, effort, and money, it could make sense to try to fight these things. But for the average person, the costs are too high for it to be worthwhile and the building inspector knows this. So when dealing with us average citizens, in effect the building inspector answers to no one.

-Dan

#14 Orion58

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 02:23 PM

One cannot stop enjoying things because of what "might" happen down the road. Enjoy your observatory to the fullest now, while you are healthy and have the time. If something has to be done in the future, work with it, & don't give up. :)


Carol is absolutely correct..I can't add anything more. Enjoy!

#15 bogg

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 02:51 PM

I agree, enjoy now, if a day comes and they are not happy with it, You can deal with it then. As for building inspectors, in our area an engineer trumps the building inspector all of the time as they are not engineers, go figure.

#16 Starhawk

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:04 PM

Post deleted by Starhawk

#17 mikey cee

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:58 PM

Oh I got permits alright. I always do. I just try not say any morer than I have to. I've had half a dozen inspectors at our house in the past. The last two inspectors were for the permit itself and the deck post footings before concrete. Their jaws dropped when they saw what I'd done. The footing inspector signed off the final before I was even close to finishing the deck. The inspector told me you obviously know what you are doing when I opened my motorized observatory roofs. His final parting words were I've seen enough have a giood day. :grin: Mike

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#18 Scott Horstman

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:45 PM

If the building not being permitted becomes an issue with the building department shoot me an e-mail. I have an architect that I work with in Miami-Dade. I can send you a pdf as well of one that we did in Acadia that has somewhat of a detail on how we have to do the roof tie down system, which is key for us to get permits down there. The rest is just standard FL junk like the HTT5 wall straps etc.

#19 Wmacky

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 06:56 PM

Bad advice. Florida actually has hurricanes.

I do not live in a hurricane prWhen it's three days out from a storm, it's too late to get reinforced and permitted. I used to live on the Gulf coast- my home took ten feet of water in Katrina 4 months after I moved to Tucson. Don't blow this off as an arcane legal issue- it isn't.

-Rich


DELETE


Bad Idea to post when in a bad mood....

Thanks for that offer Scott.

#20 Scott Horstman

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:18 PM

Not a problem. And take the "expert" opinions in this forum with a grain of salt.

#21 Starhawk

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 07:51 AM

How many backyard observatories have been through catagory 3 or greater hurricanes?

-Rich

#22 1965healy

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:40 AM

How many backyard observatories have been through catagory 3 or greater hurricanes?

-Rich

Perhaps the question might be more apt if it were possible to determine
1. The type of structure ROR vs Dome
2. Type of plans used; based on professional plans or dawings or the modification of some other structure..
3. The degree of damage if any based on local wind speed vs those factors.

#23 Scott Horstman

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:14 AM

How many backyard observatories have been through catagory 3 or greater hurricanes?

-Rich


I've had no reports of structural failure.

Several of our builds were in the paths of Charley, Ike, Sandy. I believe we only had 1 near the path of Katrina at the time, in Galvaston, though the remnants hit several. No problems.

Also that nasty nor-easter that hit MA a few years ago with 90 MPH winds, no damage reported other than some missing siding.

#24 1965healy

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 01:18 PM

Thanks Scott! I was curious. No problems with mine and it sits on top my garage in winds that have had gusts of 70mph. Barely had any dust blow in, or maybe it all blew out. Either way no problems.

#25 Mary B

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 05:32 PM

Mine has survived 95mph straight line winds with no issues. Didn't even get any water inside.






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