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Old 05-02-2008, 02:47 PM   #1
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fixing a zoning violation question


Im looking for information on typically what makes a kitchen a kitchen. If a permit was issued for an addition to a house for a family room, bathroom and bedroom, but specifically says no additional kitchen is allowed (but the original owner went ahead and put one in anyway), what exactly would need to be removed? Obviously the stove must go, and the gas permanently capped off. Does water need to be shut off? What about counter and cabinets? I wouldn't think there would be any harm in keeping the counter in place and the cabinets for storage, but obviously the cooking surface has to come out. Some people are saying that we shouldn't remove it but I don't want to get caught and get in trouble, and I want the peace of mind of not having it there.

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Old 05-02-2008, 03:30 PM   #2
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fixing a zoning violation question


Best bet: call the local zoning board (anonymously, if you're paranoid) and ask them. You don't want to be guessing about this.

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Old 05-02-2008, 03:43 PM   #3
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fixing a zoning violation question


Typically, when applying the code, the differentiation between a wet bar and a kitchen in a residence is the presence of at least one cooking appliance. If the area is obviously for food prep, it will have a means to cook food.

I've had homes with basement "wet bars" that had built-in microwaves, cooktops, or ovens with ranges. As an inspector, I must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that there aren't special facilities for installation of such appliances if the owner doesn't want to meet the requirements for a kitchen. Countertop receptacles could certainly be used to plug in a microwave, but that could be true with any receptacle in the home, so no worries on that. Where I get nervous is if there are 220v receptacles for the oven, or a location in the cabinets obviously made for a microwave. Gas stubs for cooktops or vent hoods would also cause me to consider it a kitchen.

The sink is not a consideration. You can put a sink anywhere you want in a house and call it a wet bar or coffee bar, or laundry sink.

If the area is a kitchen, the biggest consideration is the electrical requirements that are not the same for wet bars, laundry sinks, bedroom coffee bars, etc. TWO circuits for countertop GFCI receptacles, etc.

I'm shocked that a local ordinance would prohibit installation of a second kitchen. Lots of homes where I work have the main kitchen, the butler/caterer kitchen, as well as mother-in-law kitchens in the basement...All under the same roof. Your local jurisdiction might be worried about rental properties. They might not want you to be able to rent out half of your house, like a duplex of sorts, that doesn't meet all the fire separation requirements in the code. They're unjustified in my opinion, as long as the kitchen is for you and your family and not a tenant.
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Old 05-02-2008, 04:10 PM   #4
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fixing a zoning violation question


How would I recognize a 220v receptacle if there was one? I don't know what's behind the oven, I wouldn't think there's an outlet back there since they put in a gas one. The refrigerator probably has one though, right? I'd like to keep the fridge. I'd like to store food in the room, but I don't have to cook it there.

I'm not familiar with what a gas stub is, but when we have the gas man come to disconnect the stove I'm sure he would take out stubs as well if I'm not mistaken. There is a hood attached to the underside of the cabinet over the stove, but I don't know how that would come off since there's electricity running to it. Probably need an electrician as well.

If the sink isn't a consideration, would it have needed a plumbing permit to bring water supply into the room? If they were told "no kitchen" I'm sure the former owner never got a permit for that.

It is being used as a kitchen currently. It's a single family house with an addition that they turned into an inlaw (which they shouldn't have done), with another entrance but connected on the inside. Both sides are occupied by members of my family, 5 in total. We currently use the separate kitchens but could easily share the main one, I just don't want to get caught. I'd like to keep the cabinets, counter and refrigerator. (would the refrigerator look bad?)

We've lived here almost 8 years but as more time passes I just get more and more nervous. I can't let the revaluators in because of this, which means we'll be taxed the maximum.

The neighborhood is single family zoned, which is probably why they would be afraid of rentals, but we are all family under this roof.
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Old 05-02-2008, 10:25 PM   #5
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fixing a zoning violation question


S'up!

So, I am converting a 2-flat into a single home. I went to our village and asked what I would need to do to the house to legally make it a single family. What my official said was the following:

1. Dwelling can only have one front entrance that is common to both floors (i.e. you can get to either from a single front entrance way)
2. It can only have one kitchen

So of course I asked him what I would need to do to legally de-convert the 2nd floor kitchen and he said "remove the sink." When I asked if the n/g stove, fridge, d/w etc., needed to remove he remarked, "No. Only the sink and fixture."

I was amazed! Point is, ask you municipal code/zoning authorities. They make the ultimate judgement calls anyway so it's good to have their blessings! What might seem logical to you may not be seen as such legally. I would have never guessed the above without talking to my Village!

Take care and good luck,
Jimmy
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Last edited by BigJimmy; 05-02-2008 at 10:28 PM. Reason: Added more banter
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Old 05-02-2008, 11:05 PM   #6
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fixing a zoning violation question


My son and his wife bought a repo house. They had 30 days to make the house habitable. The old kitchen had the diswasher and nothing else. When he asked how far the kitchen had to be finnished, he was told all he needed was a sink. No stove, cabinets or anything, just a sink.
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Old 05-03-2008, 08:06 AM   #7
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fixing a zoning violation question


Quote:
Originally Posted by lunario View Post
Im looking for information on typically what makes a kitchen a kitchen. If a permit was issued for an addition to a house for a family room, bathroom and bedroom, but specifically says no additional kitchen is allowed (but the original owner went ahead and put one in anyway), what exactly would need to be removed? Obviously the stove must go, and the gas permanently capped off. Does water need to be shut off? What about counter and cabinets? I wouldn't think there would be any harm in keeping the counter in place and the cabinets for storage, but obviously the cooking surface has to come out. Some people are saying that we shouldn't remove it but I don't want to get caught and get in trouble, and I want the peace of mind of not having it there.
Once the stove is gone, it's a wet bar. Just ask your local authority having jurisdiction.

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