Home Owners Assoc. + County Planning and Zoning

Discussion in 'Politics' started by aphexcoil, May 19, 2004.

  1. Today I got a really good taste of bureaucracy in action. We want to install a bottom deck along with a fence in our backyard. Well, the fence would only connect the two fences beside ours, so we called our home owner's association to ask if we could get started immediately.

    When we called the association, they said we had to submit a detailed plan to them and the committee would vote on this. I respecified to them that we just wanted to put up a six foot by 25 foot connecting fence between our two neighbors. "Sorry sir, you'll need to submit a detailed plan to the committee, along with getting appropriate permits from Harford County Planning and Zoning."

    Great, so then I call up Planning and Zoning. It appears I have to bring our site survey that came along during the closing of the house along with a $20 fee for the permit. $20 just to get permission to build a fence on our own property?

    Well, after dealing with the bureaucracy for twenty minutes, I came up with a great idea.

    Tomorrow I'm going to call Planning and Zoning and ask them if I need a permit to begin work on my new project. "Hello ma'am, how are you. The reason why I am calling is to inquire about obtaining a permit for my rooftop missile defense system that I would like to build. Is this the correct department?"
  2. Remember, it's always better to ask for forgiveness instead of asking for permission.
  3. Caution to those who may take this approach:

    I lived in Columbia, Md some years ago, and it has very strict covenants. A neighbor put in a "skate park" for his kids, cost $ 20M+, and he had to rip it out after some neighbors complained and the board got on his case.

    Before you take the ask forgiveness approach, get to know how tough the enforcement folks are and what actions they are able to take.

  4. When you move into these developments, you agree to be bound by their rules. It sounds petty, but if they let you slide someone down the line could argue they were selectively enforcing the rules. No doubt they want to look at your fence plans to make sure you are not planning a 12 foot razor wire fence. It's a pain, but it also gives you some insurance that your neighbors won't park a trailer in their front yard or add a 7500 sf addition two inches from the lot line.
  5. yep

    Aphie, if you think that's bad, try a gated community. You'll need few days and an attorney just to go through the bylaws...If you want your rights respected better be ready to respect your community's too. :) do your DD before you get in...some developments and their covenants are nutty as fruitcakes.

    Wasn't it Stallone that was forced out of Star Island because his "frequent" private jet landings in a nearby strip were annoying the neighbors?
  6. Exactly....amen.

    And usually if you start the work ahead of getting the proper permits two things might happen.

    One would be the permit fees are doubled as a penalty, the other even worse thing is that you have to tear the thing down ruining most of your materials. You eat the whole thing, and building materials are very expensive these days. Get a price on redwood or cedar in the last couple of years?

    You also become known as an "a-hole" or troublemaker to the local building officials and inspectors....these are people that can make life very difficult for you.

    Cross your "t's" and dot your "i's" and have a nice(er) day or experience with the whole thing.
  7. This kind of crap can definitely get out of hand, but it's perfectly reasonable to expect some degree of approvals being needed.

    You don't want your neighbor building some fugly monstrosity on his property that ultimately causes your property to devalue and the country/city/village has a responsibility to assure things don't get built improperly/poorly and cause possible safety risks.

    Sounds like you've actually got it fairly easy - lot of places in the Chicago area that would cost a lot more and incur a whole lot more BS.