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Old 10-21-2010, 01:22 PM   #1
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Permiting Questions: Will they report non-related permitting violations?


Here is the issue. I recently built a little shed that most likely will infringe upon my setback requirements if I ever tried to get a permit for it. Since it is just a shed, with no floor. I'm fine with either tearing down when I sell the home, or leaving it for the next owner if they want it.

However, on a totally separate note. I'd like to "finish" my garage a bit. This involved adding some electrical, adding some support beams for the drywall ect... I originally wanted to do this right and get a permit, however, you most certainly would see the shed if anyone came to inspect the Garage.

Does anyone know how this typically works, will they "report" any other items they see that isn't related to the permit being applied for?

I Live in Los Angeles, CA.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 10-21-2010, 01:46 PM   #2
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Permiting Questions: Will they report non-related permitting violations?


It's hard to say, so you'll have to let us know how things like that work in LA, but it seems likely that it will come up. Regardless, I would approach it headon, i.e. properly, and see what happens. Particularly with structural changes and electrical work involved, you most likely are only making it worse for yourself in the long run by prooceeding without a permit simply to avoid issues with the shed. And, paricularly since you mentioned setback possibly being an issue, the matter of the shed is apt to come on its' own at some point anyway. While someone driving by can't necessarily tell if you pulled a permit, they can surely see it, and have some idea as to the approximate setback. As long as you're going to be working on the garage anyway, maybe it would be good to just connect a shed to the garage, if that would put you in compliance.

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Old 10-21-2010, 01:49 PM   #3
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Permiting Questions: Will they report non-related permitting violations?


The only way to get a definitive answer is to call the building dept. However, I can see why you would not want to.
In my experience as a homeowner for 23 years, I have found local code officials to be the homeowner's best friend. The guys I have dealt with in the past have been polite, helpful and extremely knowledgeable. They have made suggestions to improve my DIY projects and they have protected me from errors made by a contractor during a major renovation. They do not go out of the way to nitpick but will of course readily intervene where safety is an issue. So based soley upon my experiences, I would say that you have nothing to worry about but I have to add that I don't live in your community.
Finally, if there is a problem (which I doubt), couldn't you get a few strong friends to move the shed further from the property line since you described the shed as small and without a floor?
The only way you would have a problem would be if your neighbor filed a complaint and forced the municipality to take action, in my opinion.
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:02 PM   #4
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Permiting Questions: Will they report non-related permitting violations?


Get the permits for the garage work and don't worry about the shed. Most inspectors have a full plate and could care less about setback issues on sheds. They are more concerned with safety issues and code violations on the project at hand. Here in IL, I have had work completed on several projects that required permits. Never have I had an inspector ask about other items on the property. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. Sometimes it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Please ignorance if they do and ask them what they think you should do.
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:14 PM   #5
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Permiting Questions: Will they report non-related permitting violations?


thanks guys. I guess I'll try calling ... Typically in LA it's hard to talk to a person ... if possible at all. Otherwise, I guess I'll just take the risk and have them come out when ready. I'm thinking of adding some "obstructions" to the wall of the shed so it's not easily visible from the street (lattice and some vine plant) ... In 1950 when the home was built, they left a 20x7' section running along the side of the garage and the wall (paved). It was wasted space so I put it up there. I couldn't move it anywhere.
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