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  1. #1
    Russ Thompson's Avatar
    Russ Thompson Guest

    Default Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    I was in the process of replacing a small steel shed with a hand built full size shed when neighbor behind me complained. City inspector ticketed me with threat of fine to destroy or move shed 5' from all walls effectively placing the shed in the middle of the backyard (stupid looking).

    Now the fun part I live in CA. (STATE INFORMATION)

    First he threw the "R302.1 Exterior walls" which in his interpretation says I have to move the shed out of the corner and 5' from both walls. (a serious waste of space in my book) However I noted the Exceptions in which statesd "3. Detached tool sheds and storage sheds, playhouses and similar structures exempted from permits are not required to provide wall protection based on location on the lot. Projections beyond the exterior wall shall not extend over the lot line." At which I pointed out that is exactly what I am building.

    Then he comes back with R105.2 Work exempt from permit. Permits shall not be required for the following. Exemption from permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction.

    1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet (11.15 m2).
    Basically ignoreing the exceptions listed in R302.1.

    I would image that building codes are read like any other law or regulation, if an exception is listed in a section it applies to that section.

    Help.

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  2. #2
    mitch buchanan's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    Russ,

    I live in KY and have been on our Zoning Adjustment Board for many years. I know that all municipalities are different, but I'm sure the town/city you live in has some sort of board like this also.
    The purpose of this board is to allow a person to request an adjustment or change to the local zoning ordinances, such as set-back lines, etc.
    Even though the zoning ordinances are set by statute, a mechanism is built in to allow for reasonable exemptions, such as the following: our local code official signs off on the set-back lines of a new construction home based upon his mistaken measurement of the center of a cul-de-sac street. The home is built and then the mistake is discovered. We allowed the set-back adjustment due to the mistake of our code official.
    Call your local planning and zoning office. It's their job to explain and HELP you through a very confusing process. At least that's how it works in my little town - be nice and the planning office can be your best friend. Good luck!


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    What Mitch said. You can ask for a 'variance" (what we call it here). Unfortunately, your neighbor's complaint does not work in your favor. Five feet is indeed unreasonable on a small lot, IMO. Offer to put up a privacy fence, maybe?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    Take photos of the original shed and plans on what you are planning to build. File for a variance and go to the hearing. You may very well prevail.

    Good luck.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    Just because the city inspector demands it, doesn't mean he is right or that you have to comply. I've worked for people who have been written up and provided a counter inspection and smashed the city's claim. Often times its not that hard to do.
    In this case it sounds like the inspector is trying to appease the neighbor and exert his authority. Screw him.
    If the shed is under 120 sqft, then you should fall within the exception. I know this doesn't sound great but it often helps or kills the matter, tell him to officially write you up. If he is just posturing, this demand will often get them to stop. Since he knows he'll end up looking stupid. If the guy goes forward anyway, then you can provide proof at a hearing to show you are in compliance. That takes him and the neighbor out of it.
    If this 'shed' is 10x12 or larger, then based on what you cited you probably would need a variance. If it's that big I would want to see it either moved away from the lot line or be fire-rated anyway That's a big shed with a lot of stuff, realistically you are bordering a small garage.
    Good luck.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    Your problem is not so much with the city as it is with your neighbor!

    rick


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    Hey Russ,

    Try asking on this site: Ask CREIA - Index CREIA is a CA based home inspector organization and you might get something more specific to your needs.

    Good luck.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    Ignoring the table(s) first referenced doesn't support your cause, nor does your project's proximity and "effect" upon existing structures. Neither does ignoring the qualifying language of the subsection which introduces the limited exceptions listed in the next citation:

    "R105.2 Work exempt from permit. Permits shall not be required for the following. Exemption from permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction." (Emphasis, mine).


    Once demolished, the former shed/accessory structure, ceased to exist. See also Appx J, zoning, office of state fire marshall, and other. Your "full sized shed" isn't allowed to create a proximity "problem" (fire resistance, etc.) for existing structures, on yours or your neighboring lots.

    Conspicuously absent from the OPs discussion is the height of the accessory structure, or fire risk area, etc. (see you've enhanced location info to now specify "Ventura" in CA. Note the removed former structure was described as a "steel" (presumed so framed and sheathed) "shed" and "hand built" replacement presumed conventional lumber framed. Existing structures' (of this lot and adjacent lots) construction and sprinkler status proximity to new accessory structure and lot lines, etc..

    When zoning, code, set-backs are changed making existing acceptable non-conforming - complete demo/removal of same tends to negate any so-called "grandfather" provisions, alteration, rennovation, "repairs" altering original design ratings or of more than a certain percentage, reconstruction, etc. may do the same. One would have to explore many areas of both the state and local ammendments to various areas of the codes and apply to the specific circumstances of the location. No one phrase within a list order qualified by singular subsection stands alone.

    Your reliance upon a limited and qualified exemption for a building permit for a qualified condition, does not provide for permissive construction which violates other areas of the applicable codes and ordinances or affecting the status of existing structures - thus creating an unsafe or less safe status of the existing.

    The "devil is in the details".

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 02-24-2011 at 08:51 AM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Thompson View Post
    I was in the process of replacing a small steel shed with a hand built full size shed when neighbor behind me complained. City inspector ticketed me with threat of fine to destroy or move shed 5' from all walls effectively placing the shed in the middle of the backyard (stupid looking).

    Now the fun part I live in CA. (STATE INFORMATION)

    First he threw the "R302.1 Exterior walls" which in his interpretation says I have to move the shed out of the corner and 5' from both walls. (a serious waste of space in my book) However I noted the Exceptions in which statesd "3. Detached tool sheds and storage sheds, playhouses and similar structures exempted from permits are not required to provide wall protection based on location on the lot. Projections beyond the exterior wall shall not extend over the lot line." At which I pointed out that is exactly what I am building.

    Then he comes back with R105.2 Work exempt from permit. Permits shall not be required for the following. Exemption from permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction.

    1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet (11.15 m2).
    Basically ignoreing the exceptions listed in R302.1.

    I would image that building codes are read like any other law or regulation, if an exception is listed in a section it applies to that section.

    Help.
    The inspector is right - you are not allowed to encroach on the required 5' clearance from the walls of the other existing non-sprinklered structures, lot lines, excape/exit/egress paths to/from the existing stuctures, etc. and the inspector who has properly directed you to the complete language of the "exception" you "hung your hat on" that is that an exemption from a permit does not exempt the requirements of complying with all of the applicable code(s) building, zoning, ordinances, restrictions, etc. for such a project.

    If the wall of the existing structure as built and not sprinklered requires the five feet clearance (or the windows, doors as primary or secondary pathways, etc.) - you cannot place the accessory structure within that clearance and encroach upon same; irrespective of an exception to build such accessory structures without rated or resistance wall assemblies.

    You ignored the table that the subsection refers to and the conditional (conditions/limitations) the list of exceptions is based upon. Apparently the inspector has given you, at this point, a cost-free, fine-free warning to comply, push the issue and it may well cost you significantly more - and may also jepordize the status of your insurance coverage (i.e. no indemity should there be a claim).

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 02-24-2011 at 12:57 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    I see nothing in the OP note that says there are windows or doors on the wall that is facing his neighbor or the fence.
    While I didn't live in Ventura County when I was in CA, I did live in Los Angeles County, and the City of Long Beach.

    I had no problems building small garden sheds that were right next to the property line (block wall along property line). The sheds were less than 120SF and had no windows or openings on the back side.

    While its never good to try to go toe to toe with a AHJ, its sometimes a good idea to try to talk to someone else in the office and work thru the problem/issue.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    Jack F.

    I didn't say he did or there was.

    He was told to move the location of the shed to be five feet out from [all/both] walls. He said that twice, once referring to all walls, once refering to out from a/the "corner" and "both walls". Nowhere in the OP do I see any reference to any "fence".

    I took what the OP attributed to the "inspector" having said to mean clearly, that no part of the accessory structure was to be within five feet of required setback/clearance to any existing structure's walls, regardless of which lot said wall was upon. This would be in keeping with the two sections cited and table(s) contained therein. Generally, a fence is not a wall.

    Exemption from requirement to acquire a building permit for the accessory structure is not a waiver of any requirements of the codes for where and how such may be built or how such proposed construction effects or affects the existing structure(s) - nor is it an exemption to submit and/or acquire permission to improve/cover/build from the zoning and planning dept. or to meet any other requirements and within such restrictions.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 02-24-2011 at 04:28 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    I understand a fence is not a wall. My point is that the fence is usually on the property line. Play houses and tool sheds are usually allowed to be installed very close to property lines, at least they were in Long Beach.

    In fact the side wall of my detached garage was on the property line, and I had two of my neighbors garage walls on my property line (I had one neighbor on the left side, but three houses were on the right side). Obviously none of the garages had windows in the walls on the property line.


  13. #13
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    This is why I live in the middle of 5 acres in the middle of nowhere. No HOA either.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    Just a comment here. Before someone builds or rebuilds anything along a property line, it is always a good idea to speak to the neighbor.
    My shed is required to be 1 meter (1 Canadian yard) minimum from the property line. The shed is only about 1 foot from the line. I mentioned the fact to my neighbor. He said he was fine with it. The shed was there before he built, and he put up a fence after building his house. I said I was planning to fix up the shed. He said that was a good idea. I replaced the OSB with plwood, added some metal skirting (rodent proofing) and gave it a coat of paint. He's happy, I'm happy. Morale - don't tear it down, repair it.
    About 30 yrs ago, I had a recreation lot by a lake. My neighbor told me he was not allowed to build an outhouse. I repaired the outhouse which had been on my place from day one. When the power went out, it was a real ass-set to the property.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    I know that's how they skirt a lot of restrictions by "renovating" a house instead of tearing it down. My neighbors in Long Beach tore their house down to just a couple walls and re-built a new house. It was called a renovation.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    Russ,
    How about putting the shed on wheels?
    Can you park a trailer next to the fence/wall/property line ?


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    Is this new shed permanently fixed to a concrete slab. If not then it is not considered a permanent structure. Depending on the jurisdiction the 5' setback only applies to permanent structures.


  18. #18

    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    Our county building code now requires sheds to have a concrete pad for a storage shed. Anything to keep the inspectors occupied during these slow construction periods.

    www.dapkusinspections.com
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob R View Post
    Is this new shed permanently fixed to a concrete slab. If not then it is not considered a permanent structure. Depending on the jurisdiction the 5' setback only applies to permanent structures.

    Bob,
    Sheds and their requirements vary greatly from jurisdiction to another. Here in Maryland one county allows you to place sheds on skids, another requires that there be stone base with shed anchored or a concrete slab and permanently anchored with a 3 or 10 ft setback depending on lot size.

    Point being that there are thousands of different requirements depending on jurisdiction. Then throw in Home Owner Assoc. requirements.... It's all about location-location-location.


  20. #20
    Russ Thompson's Avatar
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    Talking Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    UPDATE * UPDATE * UPDATE * UPDATE * UPDATE * UPDATE * UPDATE


    Confirmation from City inspector who originally agreed that shed needed to be moved says that the shed may stay and not have to follow the section R302.1 because the exemption in that section does preclude it from that section.


    Now to find a good use for the extra 5' concrete pad extension that is shaped like an L around the far edge of existing pad in case I did have to move it.


    Also need to brace myself for the wrath of the bully lawyer neighbor who started this whole mess when I resume construction without moving the shed. Sigh.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Thompson View Post
    Also need to brace myself for the wrath of the bully lawyer neighbor who started this whole mess when I resume construction without moving the shed. Sigh.
    Time to invest in a taller fence

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Replacement Shed, told to move it!?

    Rus,
    You do have a problem. Lawyer lost, demonstrating that he is not that good. You, a laymen won, he will have to prove himself and ego. Great party conversation. If he gives you any problems, give a party and invite the neighbors including lawyer. Get into conversation about your new shed with other neighbors asking them if they have had problems with zoning code enforcement and suggest that the lawyer neighbor be contacted. Telling them that he has a recent experience in that area and you feel that he know what the code is and how to best apply it to their situation.

    There is no dig better than a convoluted one.


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