Tag Archives: planning and zoning department

Human Habitation Prohibited

Human Habitation Prohibited

“Please be aware that the Land Development Code and adopted Building Codes prohibit the human occupancy of any Accessory Building. This means that buildings such as metal buildings, pole barns, tool sheds, garages, or any other accessory structures shall not be constructed or used for human occupancy. Accessory Buildings are not constructed to the same Building Code standards as Dwellings and therefore a neither suitable nor safe living quarters.”

This quote is from Guidelines for the Permitting, Construction and Use of Accessory Buildings and Structures and is provided by Cass County, Missouri.

Taken all by itself, it would lead one to believe it is impossible to build a barndominium or shop/house in Cass County.

Now….. as the late, great Paul Harvey would have said, “Here is… the rest of the story”:

Planning Departments (also referred to as Planning and Zoning or other similar monikers) can place many restrictions on what can or cannot be built upon any particularly zoned piece of property. These restrictions may include (but are not limited to): Maximum or minimum footprint of dwellings, ratio of living space to garage/shop space, wall and/or overall building heights, setbacks from property lines and other structures, even such things as allowable materials and colors for roofing and siding products.

Yes, I know, it is YOUR property (or yours and your bank) however as long as you have to pay property taxes, you are actually just renting ground from your tax collecting authorities.

What Planning Departments cannot legally do is to prohibit a Code Conforming structural building system from being utilized (and to do so could very well be a Constitutional violation).

Most jurisdictions have adopted International Building Codes (IRC for residential, IBC for other structures). 

IRC has no language in it pertaining to post frame construction, while IBC indeed does.

To follow are IRC excerpts justifying IBC use:

In “Effective Use of the International Residential Code”:

Paragraph 4:

“It is important to understand that the IRC contains coverage for what is conventional and common in residential construction practice. While the IRC will provide all of the needed coverage for most residential construction, it might not address construction practices and systems that are atypical or rarely encountered in the industry. Sections such as R301.1.3, R301., R320.1, M1301.1, G2401.1 and P2601.1 refer to other codes either as an alternative to the provisions of the IRC or where the IRC lacks coverage for a particular type of structure, design, system, appliance or method of construction. In other words, the IRC is meant to be all inclusive for typical residential construction and it relies upon other codes only where alternatives are desired or where the code lacks coverage for the uncommon aspect of residential construction.”

IRC R301.1.3 Engineered design.

“When a building of otherwise conventional construction contains structural elements exceeding the limits of Section R301 or otherwise not conforming to this code, these elements shall be designed in accordance with accepted engineering practice. The extent of such design need only demonstrate compliance of nonconventional elements with other applicable provisions and shall be compatible with the performance of the conventional framed system. Engineered design in accordance with the International Building Code is permitted for all buildings and structures, and parts thereof, included in the scope of this code.”

In lay person’s terms – a post frame building can be fully engineered to meet with all necessary requirements for meeting structural requirements for snow, wind and other climactic conditions for residential as well as a plethora of other uses.

Should any jurisdiction tell you otherwise – please share this information with them and if they are still unyielding, send me a copy of their written (and approved by City/Town council or county commissioners) documentation and I will politely discuss further with them on your behalf.

Don’t Restrict Post Frame Buildings

Post frame (pole) buildings are a Code conforming building system. In my humble opinion, jurisdictions can legally restrict a building’s aesthetics, however restrictions upon a proven structural system appear to be a restriction of fair trade. It would be fair for a jurisdiction to prohibit a certain type(s) or even color of building skin (roofing and/or siding) as long as this prohibition was applied equally to all building types.

I have argued this with several jurisdictions and even gone as far as discussing with city or county attorneys and have always won without need for a court battle.

From a Perry County (Indiana) News story dated November 7 by Mark Eisenlohr:

“TELL CITY – Restrictions on post-frame, sometimes referred as pole barn, construction will have to wait a little longer before being imposed in Tell City.
Councilors demurred on approving an ordinance offered by councilor Sean Risse that would have placed some restrictions on that type of construction
There are no ordinances right now that govern where and for what use the buildings may be erected. The issue has long been before the Planning and Zoning Commission which has to-date been unable to offer up an ordinance.
The council has expressed concern in the past several months as the number of building permits for post-frame construction has increased.
While not opposed in general to the type of building, councilors have expressed concern they not be used for residential living and believe there are some places in the city they should be prohibited completely.
Risse has been leading the charge to push the issue along and get some form of resolution.
Monday night Risse offered up an ordinance that he described as a first step, putting some restrictions in place knowing that a more detailed ordinance can be offered up in the future with additional limitations if desired.
“Planning and zoning has been walking through this for some time now,” Risse told council in presenting the ordinance. “But in the meantime all these buildings are going up.
Risse said his ordinance would essentially define post frame buildings, dictate that the primary entrance face the alley, must be a secondary structure on the parcel, comply with building requirements, would not be eligible for an occupancy permit and would be prohibited on Zone C-2 Central Business District.
“It can not be a main residence so you can’t build a house,” Risse said.
“There’s only five broad-based restrictions on this,” Risse said, adding he expected the planning and zoning commission would still likely receive variance requests.
“My philosophy around this is that if planning and zoning has to hear these variance requests they’ll understand what people are trying to build and they’ll have a better idea of what an ordinance should look like,” Risse said.
Councilors generally agreed that there is a place for post-frame construction and that many of them are well-built and attractive.
“If you want a nice garage, these are great, but as a residence, if this were built next to you, it would significantly lower your property value,” Risse said.
This ordinance, Risse said, does not require specific building materials be used for exterior walls or siding or place other code requirements on the construction other than what exists now.
In offering the ordinance, Risse said he would like to see planning and zoning come back with recommendations in the future.
Some councilors wondered if the ordinance shouldn’t be sent to planning and zoning first.
“I would like to clarify,” Risse said, “that at the next meeting like to pass an ordinance that is broad like this and allow planning and zoning time to be reviewing it.
This ordinance can always be amended but the conversation has been going on for a long time and they have yet to come to the council with a recommendation so this is kind of pushing them to make a recommendation.”
“This is intended to slow the building and make sure we have visibility to everything that is actually being built, “Risse said. “And to make sure planning and zoning understand this is an issue. Right now, Bill (Alvey, building and code inspector) is throwing out permits because we can build them. They’re not seeing those.”
Risse called the ordinance a stop-gap measure.
“I would fully intend planning and zoning would amend this whole thing and have a very detailed plan,” for a more comprehensive ordinance”, Risse said.
Council decided they would allow planning and zoning to review the ordinance with the intention the council would vote on the Risse’s ordinance at the next meeting.”
Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:
What can be done?

Go to www.tellcity.in.gov/ward-3-sean-risse/ and on the right hand side of page contact him to express your feelings on this subject (hopefully they will be similar to mine). You can also contact www.perrycountynews.com/contact to comment upon this article.

Please spread this by sharing with all of your social media contacts, friends, neighbors and enemies. A viral campaign can stop this foolishness before it goes further.

Oklahoma, Is it OK?

Oklahoma, Is It OK?

Last weekend my lovely bride and I attended an event hosted by her first husband’s sister and her husband. Event purpose was to celebrate this couple’s upcoming 40th wedding anniversary.

Adding to this fun, at least for me, was a new Hansen Pole Building being erected onsite (D.I.Y. husband doing some nice workmanship). Like most new construction this attracted a fair number of looky-lous who wanted to check everything out and offer their ‘armchair expert’ opinions.

One of these lookers was aforementioned husband’s brother, who (as I later found out) had his old pole barn collapse due to snow last Winter. Rather than contact us about a replacement building, he ended up buying a post frame building to be delivered from Oklahoma (keep in mind we are in Northeast South Dakota).

Now I happen to know these folks in Oklahoma who provided this kit package. I hadn’t visited their website in quite some time, so I went browsing.

Here are some things I found:

“Building codes and permits

In our recent annual post-frame construction industry survey, one of our questions to builders was about code enforcement in their areas. Of the 134 post-frame builders who answered this question, 55% said they have needed on occasion to change their construction to meet a code. Codes can be problematic if not clearly understood. Start with your local planning and zoning office or your local building inspector. They will be able to tell you the standards for your community.

Know the rules in your area:

  • Some cities will not allow a steel skin building – you must have a brick veneer.
  • Almost all residential areas will have a setback requirement, meaning the building must be so many feet from the property line.
  • Many neighborhoods have a restriction on how tall you can make the building.
  • Many areas want to inspect a building at each stage of construction, starting with the depth of the holes, then they will inspect the wooden framework, then the completed structure.
  • Some communities insist on bolting the trusses in place, adding hurricane clips, beefing up the top plate, digging the holes deeper and providing longer poles or adding gravel or a concrete footer in the hole.

Bonus Tip: Some local code expectations may seem over-engineered when it comes to equating cost with necessity. In our view, codes generally foster a better quality building and we have found it is best to give the inspector what he or she wants. Life, and your project, will go easier that way.”

Now I agree total with starting a journey to a new post frame building with visits to your local Planning  (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/01/planning-department-3/) and Building (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/01/building-department-checklist/) Departments.

What amazed me was “55% said they have needed on occasion to change their construction to meet a code”. Thinking back over nearly 40 years of post frame buildings, I can only think of two sets of circumstances causing a change in construction to meet Code. First – not submitting plans prepared by a RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer), second would be not having correct design criteria (snow, wind and seismic loads, along with frost depth) provided.

In my humble opinion, a majority of these builders who had to change their construction were probably not building Code conforming structures! Think about this if you are considering investing in a post frame building from ANY builder.

While some jurisdictions will not allow steel roofing and/or siding, I have yet to have any demand a “brick veneer”. There are numerous alternatives to steel, they just happen to be less economical and less durable.

Only insistence from communities regarding how buildings should be assembled comes from those who have prescriptive requirements for non-engineered pole buildings. Read about challenges of prescriptive requirements here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/02/prescriptive-requirements/.

Path to best value for one’s post frame building investment nearly always involves having RDP sealed plans. Make everyone’s life easier (you, your building kit provider, any contractors, as well as your Building Department) and insist upon only using RDP sealed building plans. Headaches saved, will be yours!




Violating Setbacks: As Big as Texas

I believe in as little government interference in what a person constructs on their own property, as possible.

The physical size of the state and the bigger-than-life attitude of some of its inhabitants has led to the saying “Everything is bigger in Texas.”

Among things which appear to be bigger in Texas are the size of the mole hill mbigger in texasounds made by neighbors who have taken issue with some Texas sized pole buildings.

This article by John Verser appeared in the Aransas Pass, Texas “The Ingleside Index”:

“To Art Foss, the large metal building at the corner of Live Oak and Anacua is akin to a pimple.

 Foss was one of three people that spoke out against the large metal buildings in residential neighborhoods during last Wednesday’s Ingleside on the Bay City council meeting.

 “Imagine this big red pimple on your forehead. You’ll eventually forget to do that or to think about that when you look in the mirror, but this pimple that was built over there on that corner is going to be there forever,” Foss said. “I don’t know how in the world you let him get by with violating the setbacks that were already established for that street.”

 Foss, his wife, Yvonne, and fellow IOB resident Larrine Rice all three spoke against allowing the large buildings in the city’s residential neighborhoods.

 Yvonne Foss said that although nothing can be done about the building across from their home, she hopes that speaking out will help prevent the large buildings from being built in other residential neighborhoods.

 “It’s as big as an airplane hangar and certainly not a normal-sized garage,” she said. “They don’t belong right in the middle of neighborhoods. In my opinion, they are ugly and bring down property values. I certainly would not buy (property) across the street or right next to one, or even on the same street. There are already at least six with no houses, and possibly being used to operate businesses.”

 According to ordinance 2012-05, setbacks for the principal residential building must not be nearer than 25 feet from the property line. They must also not be nearer than 10 feet to any side or rear property line. The ordinance states that out buildings, such as a garage, servant’s quarters, guest house or boat house detached from the principal residential dwelling and located on the rear one-third of the building site, may not be nearer than 10 feet from the side property line and four feet from the rear property line.

 The ordinance also states that the height of a new building cannot be taller than 33 feet above the street level plus in areas on or below the flood plain and 29 feet above street level in areas above the flood plain. The ordinance applies only to new buildings, and not buildings constructed prior to the ordinance being adopted in 2012.

 According to ordinance 2011-03, a detached building shall not be any nearer to the street than the front line of the wall of the primary resident and the front building line. It also states that it shall conform to all setbacks. The ordinance states that such a building may not be a business.

 “To call this two story, 2400 square feet building a garage is stretching it,” Art Foss said. “I mean, that’s totally ridiculous in my opinion. It doesn’t blend in with the neighborhood, it’s unsightly and it lowers the value of your property. I cannot imagine any reason for having a building like that in a residential neighborhood. It does nothing for the neighborhood. What I’d like to hear from each council member is how you justify letting him put this building 10 feet from the street when the other two houses on the street are set back the way they should be.”

 Members of the council could not comment on the item since it was not on the agenda. Those that spoke did so during “citizen participation” portion of the agenda.

 Rhoda Poenisch, a member of the city’s planning and zoning commission, said it was not exactly the garage she had in mind when it was approved.

 “I did ask about this building and I was told that it was a garage,” Poenisch said. “You know, I have in my mind what a garage looks like, so I didn’t have a problem with a garage being built there. It turned out that it wasn’t exactly the garage I had in mind. I think everybody needs to come (Thursday) and we can hash it out.”

 Poenisch suggested that the ordinance be discussed at Thursday’s meeting of the planning and zoning commission. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at city hall.

 Rice said the large building across from her Sunset Street home have affected property values.

 “Right across from us most of these years was a vacant lot. We’ve entertained horses in that lot. There was a period where we had three or four goats in that lot, and both of those items were delightful. Now we have a humongous ugly, ugly building,” Rice said. “It does happen to be of metal. But worse than that, it is a business in the very middle of a residential area. I resent it. I resent that our property values have sunk to rock bottom. It was not what it was claimed to be.”

 Wayne Jewell, who has owned one of the large metal buildings in town for about a decade, asked if it was an issue solely because the buildings were metal.

 “My question is, is it because it’s metal? Everybody keeps saying metal buildings,” he said. “If that was a wood-frame construction the exact same size, would there be as much squalling about it? I asked this recently when another building was built, and nobody really gave me much of an answer. If it’s metal versus stick frame construction (issue), that’s kind of iffy.”

 Both Art and Yvonne Foss asked that the issue be included on the April city council meeting agenda. Art Foss said he wanted the council members to respond on how the buildings could violate established setbacks without seeking a variance.

 “I don’t know of anything in that ordinance that allows him to just totally disregard the setbacks that had already been established for this neighborhood,” Art Foss said.

 “I’d like to hear exactly how y’all feel about the fact that he brought this building out 30 feet beyond the front of the next house,” he added. “Totally ridiculous. He didn’t even have a hearing or a variance request to do that. He was just allowed to do it. I’d like to know what’s in that other ordinance that allows him to do that.””

 After reading this article several times, the only item which may actually being an issue appears to be one of setbacks – which is up to the jurisdiction’s Planning Department to regulate.

New building owners in any neighborhood, not just those in Texas, can do their part to mitigate potential irritated neighbors who might have to park their goats and horses on their own land! By incorporating architectural features such as enclosed overhangs and wainscot, as well as the choice of colors which are not garish, can make a new pole building at home in nearly any neighborhood – even in Texas!