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Old 11-22-2009, 11:18 AM   #29
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it was clear that our Town has a systemic group of stupid ordnances. I'm not the only victim. Misery does indeed love company.
Sound like you have an honest, but broken city government. In my case, the "connected" contractor was charging $11,800 for the fire sprinkler system and the 3 contractors from the phone book were between $4,700 and $5,400. I think my situation was easier to deal with; smart crooked officias rather than dumb selfimportant ones. Guys like this run businesses and taxpayer away and end up hurting the city.

Good Luck.
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Old 11-22-2009, 11:32 AM   #30
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You have to understand, To get anything done now a days, it's not about greaseing elbows, it's about greasing the "RIGHT" elbows.....That is how things get done. In business and local government. My brother owns a small business and that is how you get jobs......"Knowing which are the the right elbows to grease. You can grease all the elbows you want, but it's knowing which ones will bring you work". It's just how it is done. They don't teach you that in school.....

Here in Cleveland it all started 18 months ago where the #2 most powerful official (Cuyahoga County Commissioner) and the county Auditor in Cleveland were brought up on charges. But the FBI was smart for once. Their not charging them yet, There referring to them as "public official #1 & #2" and going after all the people under them who were involved. Were talking about housing inspectors, auditors, School board members, water dept bosses, county auditor's, clerks, venders and construction companies who do business in Cleveland and the county. This thing is so deep 1/2 the county upper officials are involved. Most have "compted" deals to save long prison terms. It's like a big spyderweb, it just keeps getting bigger....Everyone is on the take...... Here is the latest news It's like a soap opera.....And I wonder why my property taxes are so high. Our home values are low here, but our property taxes are sky high. When I moved in in 1991 I paid $900 a year for a 100k home. Now there $3000 a year for the same 100k home (Yes, our home values have not gone up much) Anything I gained in 20 years as far as home value I lost in this housing bubble . My 2 cent.......
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Old 11-23-2009, 10:36 AM   #31
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About 13 years ago in Florida, I was asked for a $2,000 cash bribe by a fire official on a remodel. I told him no and ended up spending about $10,000 extra on all sorts of other stuff insisted unpon by the building inspectors. The whole city government was corrupt. I somehow think this is common in small towns. I am planning on building another 10' by 16' workshop and am not even considering gettting permission. My neighbor just put in an unpermitted dock and boat house, so he won't be complaining.
In 1985 I built a home in AZ. Getting permits and going through the erd tape was painful. My contractor told me then that being on P&Z was the most lucrative job in the state. He said they all take in >$300-500K/year. I suspect Phoenix is much higher.

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Old 11-24-2009, 09:32 AM   #32
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I understand that, in many cases, the prime driver behind construction delays in cities is corruption. It often goes further than that. In a town in PA where we lived a number of years ago, no licensed plumber who wasn't a union member could ever get a project approved. The head of plumbing inspections in that town was the brother to the head of the plumber's union. That town also paid a bounty to the trash collection firm who found plumbing components in the trash. Putting an old water heater on the curb caused the trash people to report the address to the town who then looked up their permits. If that house wasn't on the permit list, there was an automatic visit by plumbing inspection. There was no such thing as getting bids. You could call multiple plumbing firms but after the first one, no more would respond. My sister tried to build a house in another PA town and needed the town to abandon a road which had been planned 50 years before on the town plan but never built. Her property was the only one that still showed the unbuilt road so it never could have been built without condemning surrounding homes. THe P&Z official wanted $5,000 to make the problem go away. My dad ended up getting the desired action by going public in the newspapers about the delays. It was only later that he found out he hadn't picked up on the $5,000 bribe request. Not everyone is tuned into such things and the P&Z officials are very practiced at not doing anything that would incriminate themselves.

In my current situation, a deadline that I forced for yesterday for the foundation engineer to produce a certification letter that was acceptable to the city or I would contract a new foundation engineer did the trick. I got a letter, took it to the city and it was approved. We are ready to take out the building permit and start work. I'm not foolish enough to believe that my woes are over but I'm ready to move onto the the next set of them.

I've often approached matters with the following consideration:

"Never attribute to malice (in this case corruption) that which can easily be explained as incompetence." The possibilities of both make any project extremely risky.
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Old 11-24-2009, 09:52 AM   #33
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In my case when I bucked the sysem, they tried and were sucessful in making an example out of us as to preintimidate others. It worked. It is a big decision to just pay them off and had I the chance to do it again, I think I would have just given them the money at the begining.
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Old 11-24-2009, 02:56 PM   #34
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In my case when I bucked the sysem, they tried and were sucessful in making an example out of us as to preintimidate others. It worked. It is a big decision to just pay them off and had I the chance to do it again, I think I would have just given them the money at the begining.
I do feel for your situation. Was there no way, after the fact, that you could turn over the evidence and have them prosecuted? I fully understand that the methods of corruption have been honed to a fine edge. One only needs to listen the "Bloggo" tapes from Chicago to see that even the most blatantly corrupt don't come out and give you clear statements about what they are doing. Unfortunately, there is no balance point to corrupt officials except for the justice system. All too often, the justice system prevails in all of the wrong cases and leaves the corruption to run rampant.

If I'm dealing with similar corruption, I'm too stupid (at least at the moment) to understand it. My project is only beginning, however.
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Old 11-24-2009, 04:03 PM   #35
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We went to the mayor, the city manager, and the city attorney who did nothing and we found out later that they were in on the plan. After 10 years, we retired and moved. I never won, but did take pride in making them sweat. They are mainly still there.
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Old 11-26-2009, 06:46 PM   #36
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Sure am glad I live in the rural of Southeast Ky.

I've been working on a 30' X 54' structure which is attached to an existing 30' X 30' cow barn (no cows in over 47 years). The structure is out of view of the county road as well as my house. So, I work on it as I can.

I just finished a nice 18' X 24' structure to store yard and garden equipment ... metal, insulated, chip board walls ceiling, 4" slab, electric, gas heat, central air (Old 23k BTU window unit converted to a central unit, ducts, filter controls, etc.), 8'X8' door and a 32" walk-in door. It's nice. I hope to have the larger structure as equiped too!

No permits required! But, being built to last!
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Old 11-27-2009, 11:38 AM   #37
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Well Chas you could always move to Okla where in the county there is no inspection required you have my sympathy for the garbage you are going thru not to mention no state inspections, down side more corruption in public officials bot most people don't care about that
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Old 11-27-2009, 09:02 PM   #38
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I see that you are in Texas. If it was near the coast, I can see the need for strong building codes. If hurricnaes are not a concern than I can see your point. The codes need to be as strong as experience dictates. I live in south Florida and I would not want a steel building catching the brunt of 125 MPH winds in my neighborhood. I had two steel sheds and an above groung pool hit my house during Andrew. That said I firmly believe in the old saying that we get the government we deserve. ( When we ignore it to long) Yes building codes generate revenue, yes corruption is usually found at its worst in B and Z Departments not police departments as commonly believed. Unfortunately when you are building something is usually not the time to fight city hall. JMO
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Old 11-28-2009, 10:34 PM   #39
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Unfortunately when you are building something is usually not the time to fight city hall. JMO
There is never a good time to fight the P&Z group. They are not elected and don't really serve anyone, or so it often seems. Our Town's group has a reputation among all of the tradesman in the area for being difficult to deal with an I'm sure that we customers pay dearly for it.

Your point about the building's resistance to wind is a good one. Mine was engineered and is certified to over 100mph. In addition, the foundation was certified to carry the building load. It ought to stop there but it didn't. The rest of it is just chicken "residue." I'm the last one to want my building to blow into to my neighbor's house during a heavy storm. I picked and paid for a sturdy construction and want to see it put up correctly. I'm fine with having it inspected, too. But many of our local "inspections" are more about revenue than safety so, like so many other things today, it is just another tax in disguise.
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Old 11-29-2009, 11:47 AM   #40
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Were fee'ed to death.....Comes to a point where you can't move because new requirements on building codes make it too $$$ to comply.

I would like to put a RV pad in, but new codes / new set-backs make it just about impossible. I would like to get a larger unit, but storing it in my city is not going to happen. So the city is telling me "yes Mr. home owner we would like you to move even though you have one of the nicest kept homes and yard, so we can have someone move in and trash the place. This way we can make money on them with future housing violations". I have seen too many nice homes trashed as the new class of home owners or landlords have moved in. Many homes have been forclosed on and investors are now buying them by the dozen to flip or rent out. In the long run, it's not good...
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:30 AM   #41
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Nearly all restrictions are made to take guard against the shoddy work done by a few out there as "proffesionals". We have had homes remodled and built in our area that were unlivable after the work was even partially completed. The contractors then declare bankruptcy and start again under a different firm name.

I am sure that there is some reason that soil sampling is required in your area that is a result of a screw up by someone beforre your building.
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Old 12-17-2009, 10:06 PM   #42
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Nearly all restrictions are made to take guard against the shoddy work done by a few out there as "profesionals". We have had homes remodled and built in our area that were unlivable after the work was even partially completed. The contractors then declare bankruptcy and start again under a different firm name.

I am sure that there is some reason that soil sampling is required in your area that is a result of a screw up by someone beforre your building.
Whew! Where to start? First, allow me to repeat: Almost all of my neighbors have similar buildings to the one that I'm trying to build. Many of have been there for 20+ years. Some are as recent as this year. I'm the first one of any of them to have to have a soil sample. So were my neighbors just lucky that all of those buildings have been here so long without problems and no soil samples? What is it about mine that is going to jeopardize the neighborhood?

The fact is that many projects in this town are never permitted. Major remodeling is done without applying for permits. Is that work safer? I seriously doubt it. Do you want to know why those people are willing to do that? Because it is recognized in the area that our Town is so difficult to deal with that noone wants to try. Our building department is legend among the local contractors. Would those undocumented projects be safer if the town were not so ridiculous in its requirements? I hope it is common sense that the higher you raise an unreasonable bar, the more people are going to avoid it entirely. Now it becomes a detection and prosecution problem. I promise you that our Town does not have enough resources for that. Even they estimate that they get to look at less than 25% of the work that is occuring in our community. How does that make the Town safer or better protect future homeowners?

Let me give you a specific example. They are demanding that I have my old building completely torn down before I can get the final inspection on my new one. That means that I have to find a place for things like my 60" cut lawn tractor while I'm between buildings. Wanna know why? Because there is a limit of 1,500 sq ft on aux buildings. and that is the exact size of my new building. The old building would put me over the limit. The fact that the old one is already falling down of is on accord doesn't count into the equation. Ok, fair enough. Now, do you want to know how many of my neighbors have more than 1,500 sq feet of aux. building? ALL OF THEM! One neighbor just built an extension on his without a permit and he was already oversize. Two others that just built buildings the same size as my new one and have other besides their new ones. Because they lied, and the inspectors never bothered to look around those properties, they get to keep theirs. I don't want to keep mine past being able to move stuff from it to the new one. Wanna know how many of my neighbors have final inspections on the buildings that they built? One. All of the others just moved in when the buildings were about 1/2 done, though I'm not allowed to put anything in my new one until I get the final inspection! The moral to the story: only fools like me try to play by the rules and end up getting punished because of it. How can you even determine if there was shoddy workmanship as you point out of if there is no final inspection to see it?

No, sorry. This whole matter is an other example of the illusion that many people live under.

I'm sorry, but I cannot resist a parallel story. On RV.NET, a poster in the camping with animals forum told the story of a man, homeless and down on his luck who brought his dog in to have her spayed. He couldn't protect her (being homeless) and didn't want her adding to the problem of unwanted pups. He didn't have enough money to pay for the spaying so the staff at the vet took up a collection, helped him pay for the spaying, bought him a new coat and fed him a meal. Did I tell you that his dog was well fed, well cared for and well mannered, even though he wasn't any of them except well mannered? He told them all that he would sacrifice anything to see that his dog and best friend was well cared for - and every one of them could see that that was true. The rescue group of well meaning folks from whom we just got our two dogs this year would never have allowed him to have a dog because he didn't have a fenced backyard. Sometimes, in our zeal to the create the perfect environment, we overlook the fact that ours is not a perfect world. The result is that we reward liars and cheats while punishing honest, well intentioned people.

Sorry, I'll get off my soap box now.
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