Monday, August 6, 2012

On Building Permits & Idiotic Zoning Laws

You decide to build a garage on your property, which is way off the nearest county-maintained road.  You try to follow the rules by going to get a building permit, even though you really feel that it isn't any of the county's business, anyway, where / when / how you build said garage.  (Seriously, why must you pay the local government for the privilege of building a simple garage on your own-- decidedly rural--  property, which you own free and clear?)

But still, you go to apply for the permit.  And then they inform you that you are not allowed to build it where you've planned it (and in fact, have already had dirt brought in and leveled, because who could have foreseen that there would be an issue?).  No, they say, it's too close to the property line.  You see, that's the property line that faces the nearest county-maintained road (which, again, is way off through hundreds of yards of trees), and any structures built on your property must be at least 40 feet away from that property line.  Now, if it were the side property line, 15 feet would be enough of a buffer.  (Our buffer is currently about 18 feet.  We had no idea our rural area even had zoning laws.  I am SO VERY VERY HAPPY to know, now, that it does.  Yippee, hurray, hurrah.)

You explain that you are way off the county road, and that the proposed garage, like the already existing house, will face the (non-county-maintained) easement... so really, that is the front of your property. (Through gritted teeth:) ...Right? 

Sorry, not so!  We, the Mighty and All-Powerful County Zoning Poo-Bahs do hereby proclaim that the front of your property is now and forever shall be that north-facing side, because of how it is oriented regarding the nearest county-maintained road.  But no biggie.  Just move the garage (extremely inconvenient) or have the property line moved.  Simple as that!  Then (and only then) we'll be more than happy to accept your money and generously grant you permission to build ON YOUR OWN PROPERTY.  You're welcome.

Oh, and have a nice day! 
We're always happy to serve!

They don't care that no-one lives anywhere near that property line.  Neither are they moved by the information that the land is owned by family, who would not care about the location of the garage and would sign a document to that effect.  Nope.  (In robo-voice:)  Does not compute.  Must not build within 40 feet of front property line.  MUST NOT-- MUST NOT-- MUST NOT...

~soul-weary sigh~

We're fortunate that my family owns that land, and there's not a house or something already on it-- so we can work something out-- but still, incredibly infuriating. 

One of the things I want in our garage, should it ever actually be built, is a punching bag.  No, seriously.  I mean it.  I need an outlet for my rage.  In the meantime, I guess I'll just have to hold it in.