> In a message dated 3/23/2008 5:01:21 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
> email@example.com writes:
>> Consider yourself lucky, but not necessarily wise. My tower cost $3000 to
> install with crane services, concrete pumping, hole digging, and other
> expenses, and I wasn't willing to roll the dice and take a chance of loosing
> investment. If you try and ignore city codes and they catch you, they can
> make you remove it which is also costly, and you can bet it would be more
> difficult to get the permit after trying to avoid the codes the first time.
> My experience has been that you can retro a permit IF you've constructed
> it per the factory/PE specs. Document everything (pictures of the depth of
> the hole, rebar cage, invoices for rebar, concrete, etc.) and submit it with
> your permit application.
> The fine is typically a small percentage (e.g. 1 or 2%) of the value of
> the project so in this case the fine would be $30 to $60.
Around here (southern California), that would generally not be the case.
There have been too many folks building or destroying something they
shouldn't have, and claiming "oops", figuring that it's just part of the
cost of business to pay the fine. (What's a 1% fine against a 20%
appreciation in real estate value?). As a result, the fees for
"retroactive permits" have shot up. At the very least, you're going to
be stuck for twice the permit cost (and here in Thousand Oaks, that's
$750-800 for a ham tower, which is discounted from the non-ham price of
$1400-$2500). And, if you didn't get the grading permit (required for
movement of more than X cubic yards), you'll get stuck for that, too.
(too many people making ill-advised changes in their drainage and
slopes, causing erosion on adjacent parcels, overloading storm drains,
or causing land slips)
They've also put in "you're at fault regardless" sorts of rules because
of developers with inconveniently placed oak trees that were
"inadvertently damaged and killed by hooligans hotwiring the bulldozer
in the dead of night", or even, blatant violation of the protective zone
and willing offers to pay for "mitigation": usually, plant 5 new trees
to replace the old one.. but at least the ground is now cleared for that
parking lot, because the new trees can go somewhere else. (In a city
called Thousand Oaks, they take their oak trees seriously)
They've also gotten very, very picky about things that cannot be
visually inspected for retro permits. It's one thing to do electrical
work and the guy can see the new breakers, the new receptacles, etc..
It's another when he can't see the actual footings and rebar. They can,
and do make people dig up their backyard to show that the footing under
the patio cover is what it should be.
By and large, most of the permitting activities are based on reasonable
common sense. It's just that they've gotten very expensive, because the
money to run the city/county has to come from somewhere, and building
permits are a nice place to get it. (not only that, but the city's cost
to actually process and issue the permit is non-negligible, and no
longer is it subsidized out of the general fund, so the permits pay the
entire operating budget of the planning and building &safety
departments) In a generally rising real estate market, someone getting
a permit to put in a $50K landscaping improvement on the house that they
bought for $400K that will now appraise at $700K isn't going to whine
too much about the $2K permit/inspection cost.
>> Your displeased neighbors or another ham that doesn't like you will
> eventually rat on you. I don't consider this good advice to follow
> This is about the only way you can get busted - that is if a
> neighbor complains to the building department.
Around here, we have code compliance folks who drive around and look for
signs of construction. They have a GIS generated map (soon to be real
time in the car/truck, like Google Earth) that shows where all the
permitted work is, so if they see something, and it's not on the map,
you're cooked. Last year, the hot button for code compliance, was RVs
parked for more than 72 hours in one place visible from the street.
And, as far as someone "dropping a dime" goes, it's real estate sales
folks who are most likely. "Gosh, I know you'd like to sell that house
at the (unrealistically high) price I thought we could get for it, but
that guy down the street is doing X and that's depressing the market.
Too bad you're upside down on the loan."
so.... asking forgiveness rather than permission *is* an ok strategy in
some places, but in others, it's a real gamble, with fairly serious
down-side consequences if you wind up in the wrong sort of situation.
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