Battle with City Hall over foundation

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by proud2b4family, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. proud2b4family

    proud2b4family Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 29, 2010
    Hi all,

    We just got to the point that we think the city is going to vote to approve an ordinance to allow BYC. That's the good news, and about 8 years in the making. Whew.

    The bad news is that now I can't get them to allow me, on my own property, which is free and clear of debt or lein, even a variance to repurpose into a coop an existing, sturdy aboveground pool deck which sits, detached, 24 ft. from the house.

    Basically, they're telling me that if it has four walls and a roof, it has to rest on a 4 ft. high concrete foundation. When I asked why, the answer they gave me was "Well, some future owner of your home may try to convert it into a residence and live in it."

    Huh? Why am *I* on the hook for what some future, unknown resident might do with it? I mean, we can play "what if" all day in that case. What if I don't ever sell the house? What if Martians teleport the whole coop into their ship?

    Looking through the published building code language for the city, there is nothing that remotely addresses converting a pool deck into a shed, a greenhouse, or, especially, a chicken coop. When I asked on what legal basis this kind of trouble is justified, they said "It's just the way we've always done these types of things." and "Some future homeowner might sue us if it falls down."

    Really? That's all they have?

    So, my questions are: Has anyone else dealt with this type of stuff? What's the most politically canny approach to tripping them with their own clumsiness and getting my coop aboveground, away from predators, and without taking out a second mortgage to do so?

    Engineering-wise, it's soooo simple, but this is just nuts.
  2. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    Actually, the only thing that they can enforce is what the zoning or building code says. Some officials interpret the codes in conversation and preference, but what is written takes the day. I would get a copy of the code and look at the relevant part.

    If what you have is a legal deck and you built a bbq grill enclosure on it, would that matter? I have seen some nice enclosures with doors and roofs.

    I think that you may be more in line with building a storage shed, from a code perspective. What would be involved in building a storage shed?

    I would not get stymied at this point. Find out the requirements and go from there. I think you are getting caught up in the way we have always done it, as you said.

    When I built my shop, the code lady told me it could not be closer than 20% of the width of the lot to the lot line. The code says 20 feet. Hardly the same thing.


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