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Old 04-03-2013, 11:24 AM   #1
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Want to build a garage but got this response from the building inspector.


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This parcel also lies within the Groundwater Protection Overlay District........... with regulate how much impervious surface you can have before you need to install a recharge system.

The By-law reads 15% of the lot area or 2500 square feet which ever is greater.

impervious surface is driveways,roofs pools walkways etc.
A quick guess puts us right around the 15% mark already. Has anyone dealt with this?

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Old 04-03-2013, 12:25 PM   #2
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Want to build a garage but got this response from the building inspector.


My brother-in-law did. He put up a shed that was 10 x 20 and he was told that he was exceeding the coverage area allowed by the town. In his town they had an exception that allowed that you could have as many non permanent dwellings of 100 sq. feet or less as you want. So, he cut the 10 x 20 shed right in half, and put in a third 10 x 10 just for spite. What I dont get about these local codes is that they will allow a shopping center to install a 400,000 square foot parking lot, in addition to the roof area and they have no problem with that.

I don't know who makes these laws, but it would be nice if there was some rhyme or reason to what they do.

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Old 04-03-2013, 01:59 PM   #3
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Want to build a garage but got this response from the building inspector.


Around here, we have the same 15% coverage limit, but it can be exceeded with an engineered storm water run-off plan. The problem is that the stamped plan may cost as much as the building you want to construct. That's how the shopping center builders get it passed.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:11 PM   #4
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Want to build a garage but got this response from the building inspector.


Should I try to figure this out before drawing up plans or will they want to see the plans first? We're thinking if we remove part of the driveway and replace it with the garage that will help.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:48 PM   #5
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Want to build a garage but got this response from the building inspector.


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What I dont get about these local codes is that they will allow a shopping center to install a 400,000 square foot parking lot, in addition to the roof area and they have no problem with that.

I don't know who makes these laws, but it would be nice if there was some rhyme or reason to what they do.

Commercial properties require civil engineering to address collection, retention, or detention and then discharge of water run off. Most new large shopping centers will have a large retention pond in front or next to it.

The whole purpose of these laws is to prevent the local jurisdictions from having to accept and then deal with water run off from private lots. It used to be allowed, but with the massive parking lots, the infrastructure to handle transporting that water downstream was getting overly burdensome for the local municipalities.

Residential lots are expected to cover less surface area to allow the precipitation to drain into the earth. Covering too much of the property with impervious materials will cause water to run into the municipal systems (or your neighbors).

If you were to get a civil engineer to design a retention/detention pond for you, then the local zoning department would probably allow more than 15% coverage.

The cost associated with that though is probably not very feasible.

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Old 04-03-2013, 02:50 PM   #6
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Want to build a garage but got this response from the building inspector.


Building inspectors used to let you just dig a dry well and fill it with rip rap and run your storm runoff into it. Putting the Garage where the driveway is should work too. Give them a call and see.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:50 PM   #7
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Should I try to figure this out before drawing up plans or will they want to see the plans first? We're thinking if we remove part of the driveway and replace it with the garage that will help.
They make permeable driveway pavers.

Not cheap, but if you have a long drive way this might help considerably to reduce the amount of impervious pavement you have and thus allow you to add the garage.

http://www.unilock.com/default/produ...ers/permeable/

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Old 04-03-2013, 03:00 PM   #8
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Want to build a garage but got this response from the building inspector.


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They make permeable driveway pavers.

Not cheap, but if you have a long drive way this might help considerably to reduce the amount of impervious pavement you have and thus allow you to add the garage.

http://www.unilock.com/default/produ...ers/permeable/


They make permeable black top also,but it makes engineers nervous when they see water passing through the asphalt.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:07 PM   #9
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Want to build a garage but got this response from the building inspector.


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If you were to get a civil engineer to design a retention/detention pond for you
Or a dry well, or whatever the local zoning calls it.

Our new house has three of them for the rain gutters from the roof. All of my rain runoff has to go into those pits first. They're open at the bottom and basically full of stone. They're nothing all that fancy, just a hole with an open-bottomed plastic pit filled with stone.

The water's supposed to percolate out into the soil from there instead of rushing right out to the street and into the municipal storm water system. Which is necessary around here because of problems with storm systems overflowing and dumping to the sewer system, causing even bigger problems.

If you're clever you could also store that water and re-used it for lawn watering and such.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:54 PM   #10
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Want to build a garage but got this response from the building inspector.


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Should I try to figure this out before drawing up plans or will they want to see the plans first? We're thinking if we remove part of the driveway and replace it with the garage that will help.
Not sure how your municipality works, but here you need a zoning permit first. You get that by submitting your property plan showing all structures, driveways, easments, impervious surfaces, septic systems, wells, etc., along with dimensions, including set backs. It must also show the proposed structure. They calculate the square footage and see if you can meet the 15% limit and distances from property lines and drain fields. When that is approved, then you can then apply for a building permit if needed. Here, detached garages under 1000 Square feet do not require a building permit.
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:31 PM   #11
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Want to build a garage but got this response from the building inspector.


We're paying the price after doing everything wrong for years.

Every home in my neighborhood has a concrete drive draining into the street. That adds up to a lot of square footage of drainage, then one wonders why the storm sewer can't handle it.

Paradoxically, the city won't allow an inpermeable driveway, aka gravel. I know people don't like gravel, but you could have concrete with gravel down the middle like I've seen on some ancient driveways. Or the sunken concrete blocks like someone already mentioned.

To make matters worse, everyone will run their sump pump either directly into the storm sewer or onto their driveway, draining into the street.

Our municipality will award a grant to anyone wanting to install a retention basin or water garden on their property. It is $1000 and I don't think anyone has ever applied or built one.
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:56 PM   #12
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Want to build a garage but got this response from the building inspector.


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A quick guess puts us right around the 15% mark already. Has anyone dealt with this?
very common in towns/cities in Mass .... part of the reason is a lot have a combination sanitary sewer/storm drain system. a 100 years ago when the sewer system was installed it did not matter because it all ran to a river or bay without much treatment. today all storm water that enters a combination system goes to the sewage treatment plant. A big cost for treating rainwater.

most town/cities in my area are separating the systems or have done so already.
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:00 PM   #13
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Want to build a garage but got this response from the building inspector.


get a copy of your town's zoning by-law and read their definition of impervious surface. It sounds obvious but some town's by-laws call decks impervious whereas others do not. gotta know the rules to play the game properly.

hope this helps!
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:27 PM   #14
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Want to build a garage but got this response from the building inspector.


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gotta know the rules to play the game properly.
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:42 AM   #15
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Want to build a garage but got this response from the building inspector.


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Truer words were never spoke.
Heh, I like to think of the "spirit of the law vs the letter of the law" when it comes to building permits and the like. There's usually a set of decent reasons for why things end up the way they are. I find it's best to rise to meet those reasons rather than obsess on the burdens the regulations seem to (arbitrarily) require.

It's not hard to appreciate that you're required to manage your storm water run off once you understand the consequences. The more water that gets dumped into the drains in a sudden downpour means the more risk there will be a serious sewage overflow situation because of it. The health risks associated with waste being dumped out without being properly treated are a lot worse than the inconvenience and expense of setting up proper building drainage.

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