07:01PM | 05/22/07
Member Since: 05/21/07
1 lifetime posts
I am a very sad do-it-yourselfer right now! About a month ago I began to undertake one of my largest do-it-yourself projects. I set out to build a 100' custom redwood lattice fence in my front yard with drip irrigation, lighting and a flagstone path. The top of the fence is about 34" above the finished grade. As I started tearing up my lawn to build the fence,a neighbor warned me that we may have a 4' easement on our property. I immediately halted work and marched off to city hall to discuss it with the planning department. I spoke with an Assistant Planner with the city and explained what street I lived on and exactly what I was doing. He told me that no permit was necessary and no setback was necessary with a fence under 36" in height. I noted the guys name, took his card and thanked him for his time. Three weekends later, I had finished tearing up my lawn, digging 2' deep post setting 17 posts in concrete. To make a long story short, the city's construction inspector came out and issued a stop work order. After talking with him he has said I need a permit and have to push my fence back out of the 4' easement. He does not argue with the fact that the Assistant Planner gave me faulty information. I have scheduled a longer in person meeting with the construction inspector for this Friday. He already has told me on the phone that he discussed my situation with the City Engineer and the result was that it is illegal to build this fence in the 4' easement, and nothing can be done. I mentioned to him the dozens of other fences within the vicinity of my house that are built on this easement and he has said that they really can't do anything about that because they didn't catch it when it was being built.

OK, enough of the big sob story... Here is my question for the group. What the heck can I do about this? I understand that if it is illegal, then it is illegal and they can't permit it. To complicate the issue, we plan on doing a large house addition within the next couple of years and I don't want to stir up a hornets nest over a relatively small project when a much larger one is on the horizon, and I will be dealing with the same inspector. So what do you guys think I should do? Should I just eat the labor and materials hit this will cost me? I estimate about 4 full days of my time and $300 in equipment rental and materials. Should I refuse to move the fence? Should I take the city to small claims court? Or should I just vent on a forum on the internet and then do what the city asks? Aaargh!

Thanks in advance for any advice!



03:32PM | 06/25/07
Member Since: 06/24/07
5 lifetime posts
From what you describe, the inspectors response to the other exising fences is capricious and arbitrary. Either they enforce the code or they don't. They can't single you out because that would be discriminatory. For instance, a condo has a no pet rule and fines owner w/dogs $25/month. During a fire alarm, various tenants leave building with their cats, parakeets,snakes, etc. Dog owner sends notice that fining for dogs is discriminatory as the rule specifies "pets" not dogs. Dog owner wins.

Get your att'y to send a letter with the capricious, arbitrary, and discrimination claim insisting that every other fence be taken down.You'll get your fence big time! I think you should not abandon your project The inspector is just a drone. Hassling is his job!


05:31PM | 04/08/09
Member Since: 01/04/09
5 lifetime posts
I know this is 2009, you wrote question in 2007......... but you would need a permit in Canton, Ohio. #1. We can build on property, nothing about height.

#2. Room, house or carport has to now be 10 foot, used to be 5 foot. Although if it needs to be rebuilt and is closer, even 1 foot, etc simply repair it. We repaired the intire roof by replaceing it. Then we tore out half the wall one weekend and replaced it. Month later we tore out the rest of the wall and framed it up, one evening we compleated that wall, etc. This went on till I had a new garage. I later sided the house, looks like part of the house and 2 foot next to the property, Inspector lives near me and said I was smart enough to get a permit for the cost of $17 and told them I was doing it as I could and did not know when I would do it. "Small Job", she/they said if it was not finished in a year I would have had to get another permit.

Get the permit first or might pay a fine.


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