I was going to build a simple free-standing shade roof for our back porch, single slope to the "back" (actually the side yard), and extend the measly 3'x6' "porch" the house came with (more of a nook, actually) out to 12'x24'.
Even though it would have been a 2-day job for under a grand, and the lower roof line would appear essentially as an extension of the existing roof, I figured I'd better head off the gestapo from the HOA, so I sent them a set of drawings and explanation, and immediately got a response that floored me.
No, they said, you must be attached to the building, and match the existing building lines and roof design exactly (including the precipitously steep roof slope. They further mentioned I needed to be no closer than 5' to the back fence.
That meant several times the cost, several times the complexity, AND (of course) several times the labor. WhatIi didn't know was that it also meant a CITY permit. OK, fine. It was already mid-November.
Oh, did I mention that since this new roof would necessarily have to be "grafted" into the existing roof, I would have to contract the same company that holds the warranty on the existing roof, to lay the underlayment & shingles. Basically doubled the price of the project for no reason (I've done several roofing jobs that never leaked a drop.).
So, it turns out that the City of Leander doesn't have it's own permitting process, they "farm" it out to an online government website that seems to be geared to huge commercial projects. Buried deep in there was a box to check if the project was a DIY job, which I checked. That popped up a whole other screen with a form that I needed to sign, stating I would be the only person working on the project. OK, fine. I signed it.
Oops! Other considerations arose after that!
Since the structure was CONNECTED to the house, it became subject to much closer scrutiny, and would require a FULL set of plans. No problem, been drafting and designing for many years.
It would also require inspections. No problem, come on over anytime. No, they must be SCHEDULED, then you WAIT till they can see you. Hope you are home, because if they have to come back, it means scheduling a new appointment.
Oopsie, the "build line" for the residence (setback from back fence) is 15'. The far end of my porch would be only SIX feet from the back fence. THAT was going to be a BIG problem; it would mean the spa would have to remain uncovered by the porch roof extension, probably the biggest reason the roof was being built.
Well, in early December, after much back-and-forth, the City inspectors decided they could allow me to built to my required setback if I applied for a variance/exception, which they assured me a few days before Christmas would be approved.
Still no word, but I was directed to replace the 2x4 roof joists I had already er4ected, with 2x6s. never mind fact that the house only uses 2x4s on the lower gables (that this will match), 2x6s it must be. More added expense, plus the joy of replacing each one od 26 joists, one at a time with no help (as if building the bloody thing with 2x4s wasn't already hard enough the first time).
I’ve been in construction in one form or another for most of my adult life. ( except for 6 years in the Armed Forces 68-74) The past 30 years as a commercial construction superintendent ( at 71 I’m still working full time)
I’ve worked with several building authorities over the years. As long as you know what you’re doing and don’t try to pull something over on them they ALL have been a pleasure to work with.
Nothing you mentioned Paul sounds out of line to me. Inspectors don’t write code. Inspectors have nothing to do with HOAs. They do interpret the code and sometimes it takes both of you going over it to come up with an answer.
I know at this point you’re frustrated but the folks they are trying to protect you from are the clueless who think just because they have a hammer…….they’re construction workers. You stay in the business long enough and you will see perfect examples of why there are building codes and why they have people trying to enforce them.
Mike Carter finished out his career as a city (correction, County) building inspector. If you knew Mike you know that IS’s 1 and 2 did not reflect the type of inspector Mike was. (RIP my friend)
I have been a construction attorney for more than 30 years and I was a field engineer in heavy construction before that. My experience is similar to Gordon's and Lannis's. I generally do not have a problem with local building officials. While there are a few bad apples, most simply want to see that you are building to code. And the codes exist to protect consumers that don't know what is correct and what isn't. Codes are constantly evolving. Every time there is a major fire disaster, there ends up being a change in the code. Most of the time that I see folks complaining about a local official it is because they tried to build without a permit and got caught, or they think they know better than the engineers that designed the code (rarely the case). If the issue is interpretation of the code, there is an appeal process. The complainers just don't want to incur the expense of going through it. HOA's or POA's are just the opposite. Typically their rules are not based on any kind of engineering or logical process. They tend to be led by little Napoleans. I hope to never live in a place governed by one.
Gordon, My father and his second wife lived on Hilton Head at one point and invited my wife and I down for a visit. They didn't know about the rules against motorcycles or pickup trucks and so down we go in my pickup with my then current project, a 66 BSA in the back. The bike was pretty much done, except for dialing in. I had limited vacation time, so I figured that I would iron it out while on vacation. We get to the gate after driving 900 miles and they won't let us in. I call my Dad who called the gate and he was told "No exceptions." Dad called one of his pals who was the manager of the tennis club. The pal had a storage unit right out side the gate. He let me use the storage unit for the bike and I spent considerable time using the road leading up to the gate for ironing out my jetting issues. I would roar up to the gate, hop off and do a plug check and roar back to the storage unit (turned out that my jetting problem was actually a bad cam). I don't think the guards cared, but the HOA folks called my Dad and weren't happy about it. For a number of years afterwards, he would ask me if I would bring a bike down again, just to piss them off. I considered it, but by that time, it wasn't worth the extra effort (we would be bringing the kids which meant a station wagon instead of the pickup) and I didn't want to subject my Dad to the HOA's wrath (although he talked a good game, he didn't have the belly for an ongoing feud). Ed from NJ
Codes.....I was an electrician and contractor, bigger stuff not residential. I was usually the foreman and sometimes argued or kissed the inspectors butt depending on situation. As contractor I diid mostly unusual work, the jobs other contractors avoided. The 800 page National Electrical code has many exceptions and they can be an advantage to me and the customer..Many inspectors get suspicious of work they are not familiar with. So I had to stand my ground and make my case...One city inspector was very sharp..He would measure a conduit support and say it's one inch beyond the code requirement.He was busting my balls of course ... So I took him out for lunch and a beer. We learned to trust each other.. in general, I do not care for gov't involvement but some is necessary to prevent problems from dangerous workmanship
Thanks for posting that, Art, I had not seen it before. There is a strong Brit bike connection to Peter Wing. I first met him in about 2005 when I bought a 1974 Triumph T120RV from him (that needed a complete restoration). We became firm friends and I dropped by whenever I was in the area. And we met up every year at the big AMCA meet at Rheinbeck not far away from Millbrook. Peter was extremely talented--on my first visit there he was carving a statue of a pointer dog (full size) from a big block of wood. It was a commission from the Westminster Dog Show. Also in the Alexis diner in a nearby town he painted two murals--each one a complete wall--one of a Chinese scene and the other of Venice. Tragically he was killed when driving the 1936 Morgan three wheeler seen in the film. He had driven out one Sunday morning to a bikers meet breakfast and was nearly home on his return journey when the Morgan had a sudden puncture, and veered off the road into a tree. A real tragedy. He was the ultimate eccentric. R.I.P. Peter Wing.
The deeds on homes in this subdivision are restricted - buyers MUST contribute to the HOA.
The flap around here is the people in the gated section want speed cameras, but we ALL "get" to pay for them.
Gordon, you are right about the main focus on construction - they want a homogenized look that must follow certain minimum guidelines, limited color pallet, NO non-native trees, steep rooflines, no tinfoil on the windows.
As far as the "street view", no boats/trailers parked overnight on the street (everyone seems to violate that one), motorcycles inside the garage, etc...trash cans have to come in the evening of trash pick-up day, but some people put them out a day early. Any playscapes, trampolines, etc, cannot be visible from the street.
i was a commercial beekeeper when i moved out where i am now. if you are beekeeper, the last thing you want are neighbors. the farther away you are from everyone else, the better for everybody. so where i live my nearest neighbor is three-quarters of a mile away, out of sight over two hills. the closest i can see is two miles off on a hilltop.
i moved into an old house. no indoor plumbing, shovel coal furnace in the basement, a 22-foot dug well with a jet pump. i updated the electrics to code, because they were not only illegal, they were dangerous-- exposed grounding conductors with live current, and so on. i have a copy of the NEC code, and use it. i put in a washing machine and a sink.
relocated the outhouse a time or two.
upgraded the 60 amp to 200 amp, with a new service drop to the house.
built a shop with a drilled well and 200 amp service. i put a master shut off on the wall outside. when the power pole inspector came out to spot the new line, he saw the shut off and said, that right there is all i need. he left without ever looking inside the building.
no inspections there either.
out in appalachia where i live, there are codes imposed for commercial buildings, but if youre just doing a house, shop, or barn, there is literally no interest in you. this is good for me, because i know what im doing, and everything is up to code anyway. and of course, what i moved into was NOT up to code, but i knew that and fixed it.
the worst thing i can imagine is having neighbors with a right to tell me what to do with my life on my property. to avoid that, i live where i have no neighbors.
plus i keep beehives on the property lines to discourage the realtors from bringing people out.
A part of our 2010 Big Adventure included the Rhinebeck Meet, but at the time I did not know Wing's Castle was just 20 miles away. When, on another Brit site which we both used, he learned of our Rhinebeck visit he gently chided me for not calling by. One of my lasting regrets
I am a retired excavating contractor. I spent the last five years working exclusively on Lake Ontario doing shore work- breakwalls, slope rehabilitation. I still have one client who lives on lake Ontario. We installed a set of stairs and tram down an 80' bluff. It had to be taken out when very high (unheard of) waters eroded the slope. At the time I got a permit from the state NY Dept of Environmental Conservation including stamped drawings, site plans and consent from Army Corps of Engineers and the NY State Dept. The permit was only good for two years. This year the town would only issue a permit if the DEC signed off when I wanted to re-install it. DEC made me re-apply for a permit for the same work four years later. The only thing that changed was I installed a breakwall and stabilized the slope. A $15,000 job got bumped up another $4000, despite my track record with the DEC of 20+ permits, no issues with any of my jobs. LUV bureaocracy. The funny thing is there is a written DEC exemption to install stairs on a slope. Adding the tram...