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Old 12-15-2006, 05:57 PM   #1
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Experience with 50% "renovation" clause?


I subbmitted a plan for a major remodel (2nd story) and I didn't realise there was a 50% renovation clause burried at end of city zoning.
Basically if your proposed project value is 50% or more compared to existing structure value then they want everything brought up to code.
So I either shrink my plan to get under this 50% level or I go ahead and have this open-ended question of how much re-building the BO will be happy with. If it is just insullation and wiring that would be fine but if he wants he could require testing of concrete footing and bla de bla ---list goes on forever.
Since he has made it clear that he "aint gonna help me at all no way" then what can I do?
If I shrink the plan how do I know how far to shrink it? For instance - if I save my existing 2x8 floor system and add to it front and back how much is considered brand new construction? If I leave the floor but want new walls & ceiling is that 33-1/3% ?
I don't see how anyone but city can clearly define this but since they re-fuse to help all I can do is keep subbmitting plan changes until they say OK- we agree this is 49%.
Any one else been thru this rediculous game?
Like the bldg code isn't complicated enough without this stuff!

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Old 12-15-2006, 06:19 PM   #2
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Experience with 50% "renovation" clause?


It really has nothing to do with the building code, which tells you what or how the end renovation has to perform or be.

It is a city legislative or zoning requirement.

According to your description, it is based on the project value in comparison to the current established value of the structure.

You may have a bigger obsticle to overcome in the process if your present home is under valued since this will limit what you can do without a variance.

You will have to show plans of what you propose and show that this will be less than your current value (unless you want to voluntarily raise your current assesed value).

Somehow, you can come up with plans, which you will need in any case for a permit. After that, you will have to show that the cost to complete the project will be less than 50% of your value. A quote from a contractor will establish the the cost of the renovation, which must be less than 50% of the value. If you chose to do it yourself according to the plans, you have complied with the requirement.

An alternate is to come up with a cost estimate that the city will accept. You will have to be able to document the basis for the costs estimated

The only trap is you must do it according to the plans you submitted. Since you do not have a contractor to lean on for compliance, the burden is on you.

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Old 12-15-2006, 09:42 PM   #3
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Experience with 50% "renovation" clause?


This 50% thing is pretty common. The main things they go after for upgrades in my experience is plumbing if it is blatantly bad, but always electrical.You can usually reason with the regulatory dept. and get them to agree to accept something to establish the propery value that is in your best interest. We have used recent appraisals, insurance value of the house, letters from a real estate professional as to the market value, generic $ per sq. ft. costs of constructon in your neighborhood, or tax value. I find tax values to generally be against the owner in this case, because most properties are undervalued on tax roles unless the have sold recently. Any of these or an average of a couple should give a sq. ft cost which you can use to figure how much you need to reduce the size of the project by. The most important thing here is to convince the person you are dealing with that you need their "knowledgeable help and expertise" to guide you. Do not argue and establish an adverserial relationship.. you will lose. We actually beat this one time by convincing the inspector that the new square footage should be based on "living area" as measured from the interior dimensions of the perimeter walls and not from outside to outside.This reduced the calculated area by enough to put the job below the 50% threshold. It is a frustrating cat and mouse game, and you are in the mouse suit.
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