Stick ‘em Up
Kim Fahey was recently convicted of a dozen misdemeanor building code infractions last month, in Los Angeles County. He faces several years in prison unless he tears down his “Phonehenge West”.
Fahey said his constitutional right to do what he wants on his property is being trampled, calling that the real issue in his fight with the county – not his colorful personality or his penchant for building odd-looking buildings.
While we may “own” our property, in most parts of the country, building permits must be acquired, prior to construction of your new pole building.
Now what defines a “building permit” and the investment in one varies greatly.
Much of our country is not much different than here in rural Roberts County, South Dakota. Here, we take in a crude drawing on the back of a cocktail napkin and for a few dollars (and under five minutes), we have a permit in hand. Low cost, no inspections, pretty hard to beat.
This is certainly not the case everywhere. In Mr. Fahey’s county, I’ve had permits sit in the “IN” basket on a plans examiner’s desk for nine months before they even have a chance to be looked at. In another California county, it took one of our clients nearly 13 months to obtain a permit to construct an 800 square foot pole barn!
The cost can be “all over the board” as well. How sad it was for us, when one of our clients, in the City of Seattle, had to downsize his pole building garage. Originally planned as 24’ x 30’, the cost of the permit was so high, he had to cut his building down to 24’ square! He lost 20% of what he wanted to build, just due to building permit costs.
Early in your budgeting process, contact your local Building Department. In most cases they can give you an estimate of the costs and effort involved to obtain the building permit for your new pole building.
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