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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    California
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    3

    Default New to all these CA rules... And building

    Hi. I am a native Texan now living in San Diego and I love it here except for the MANY rules regarding everything. From what times you can walk your dog on the beach to which day you can park on a particular street, etc. Lots and lots of rules around here. And the process of building a simple shed in the backyard, I am learning about a whole new world of rules, building codes and regulations and ordinances and ....

    I am hoping someone can help me or point me in the right direction. I am renting a house and the shed in the back yard literally fell apart. The door fell off. It was an old metal one and it was sitting on dirt with rats living underneath it (Ca just banned rat poison so I started to lose that battle). So I decided to pour concrete and make a really nice shed like one you find on Houzz. I hired licensed contractors to build the frame and spent a lot of money on them and all of the materials. It is 117 square feet and it is in the corner set off the property line 1'. Now I am being told that it should be 3' off the property line since it has a foundation. The building codes for San Diego are mind boggling and it seems like everyone has a different answer. Can anyone help me? I am in the middle of this project and I don't know if I should tear it all down and start new or continue. A guy who hates me called the city to complain about the noise but also tried to get me in trouble and they came out and said I was fine, but a neighbor who used to work for the city insists that it is not. So.... I am now in limbo with crap all over the backyard hoping it doesn't rain.

    F.I.R.E. Services

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Capistrano Beach, CA
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    1,458

    Default

    Hi Valorie Kappmeyer and welcome to InspectionNews!

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    2,446

    Default Re: New to all these CA rules... And building

    I really boils down to what the guy from the City says, and what he approves - not the neighbors.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: New to all these CA rules... And building

    Quote Originally Posted by Valorie Kappmeyer View Post
    hoping it doesn't rain.
    I've heard, "It never rains in California".

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,778

    Default Re: New to all these CA rules... And building

    Quote Originally Posted by Valorie Kappmeyer View Post
    ...... building a simple shed in the backyard, I am learning about a whole new world of rules, building codes and regulations and ordinances and ....

    ......It is 117 square feet and it is in the corner set off the property line 1'. Now I am being told that it should be 3' off the property line since it has a foundation. ....guy who hates me called the city to complain ..... they came out and said I was fine, but a neighbor who used to work for the city insists that it is not.........
    Building a shed and dealing with the restrictions is universal. Some places worse than others. In Maryland they vary from county to county, some worse than others.

    Like Jack said it is the City Code Inspector that is the determining factor and not your neighbor. Get the City to give you in writing that all is OK. End of story for your neighbor. He will have to find something else to pester you with.

    If 3ft set back is required, not to much of a problem. Pour 2 ft slab extension. Cut off shed tie down bolts. Pull or slide shed forward onto slab extension. Cut off 2 ft of slab by lot line and remove only if required. Drill and bolt shed down to slab. Ta-Ta your done.

    Contractor should have known, if not at least questions, set back requirements. Would think that the county/city should have had a PDF or something that speciffied shed installation requirements that would be accessible to you. But that's water under bridge.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Memphis TN.
    Posts
    4,311

    Default Re: New to all these CA rules... And building

    Welcome Valorie,

    Call or try here Municipal Code | Office of the City Clerk

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    California
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: New to all these CA rules... And building

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    I really boils down to what the guy from the City says, and what he approves - not the neighbors.

    Well, the guy was a woman from code enforcement and she said she had come by the house earlier and it was quiet, but didn't really look at the shed. I told her the dimensions and where I put it over the phone. She told me it was ok. So, I don't know what I should do. The guy who complained about the noise was just trying to get me in trouble and I think she figured that out. Legally, I can do construction work from 7 am- 7 pm every day. And if I have to tear it down and rebuild it, that will be twice as much noise...

    Anyway, I also read something somewhere that I could possibly put fire resistant stuff on the exterior and leave it where it is. The setback rules are due to fire concerns.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    California
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: New to all these CA rules... And building

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    Welcome Valorie,

    Call or try here Municipal Code | Office of the City Clerk
    Yeah, I think I am just going to go down there on Monday in person. I have read and re-read the codes until my eyes cross. I am not going to continue building until I get something in writing.

    Now, I don't know if I should tell them I already started building or not. I don't want to lie, in fact I won't lie, but it have been told not to give them a lot of information.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    I've heard, "It never rains in California".

    Not it often, but it does rain here. It's more like a drizzle...


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Memphis TN.
    Posts
    4,311

    Default Re: New to all these CA rules... And building

    Quote Originally Posted by Valorie Kappmeyer View Post
    Well, the guy was a woman from code enforcement and she said she had come by the house earlier and it was quiet, but didn't really look at the shed. I told her the dimensions and where I put it over the phone. She told me it was ok. So, I don't know what I should do. The guy who complained about the noise was just trying to get me in trouble and I think she figured that out. Legally, I can do construction work from 7 am- 7 pm every day. And if I have to tear it down and rebuild it, that will be twice as much noise...

    Anyway, I also read something somewhere that I could possibly put fire resistant stuff on the exterior and leave it where it is. The setback rules are due to fire concerns.
    Sounds like a plan.

    *I doubt the " Woman" was from Construction Code Enforcement ( abet they will have some on Staff) but was from Environmental Code Enforcement. Noise, Trash, Overgrown lots, Rats, Sign Ordinances and such.

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,778

    Default Re: New to all these CA rules... And building

    If you have a Plat of the property, Take that with you. Good luck and have fun...


  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    No. San Diego Co., CA
    Posts
    562

    Default Re: New to all these CA rules... And building

    The problem is that a building permit is required for a shed or appurtenant structure if the ROOF area is greater than 120 sq.ft. Being that the footprint of the structure is 117 sq.ft., the roof design may exceed the allowable dimension. Also, installing a slab indicates the structure is fixed, rather than something which can be moved in its entirety and relocated, which just sends a red flag as to the structure's purpose.

    The 3ft set back can be easily overcome, if need be, with a variance and approval from the Permit office but you would need to show good cause. For something as small as indicated, I don't see a real need to pour a slab in any event. Just level out the ground, put down some weed barrier and install 2" concrete pavers as a base in a suitably sized frame. Keep the roof dimensions under 120 sq.ft., under 6' in height and 3' away from the property line - no permit required. Simple. No need to worry to much about high winds, for anchoring and torrential downpours, they ain't happening.

    If the person you hired is a genuine licensed contractor he should be well versed in the very uncomplectated rules concerning a backyard shed structure. He should have given you appropriate advice before starting the project.

    Last edited by Ian Page; 10-08-2014 at 02:05 AM.

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