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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hope someone can clarify some things for me...

We are very excited we are now the proud owners of LAND! :dance:

My question is -Can someone clarify building permits in general?


I know absolutely nothing about them so I really don't know what to ask so if someone could direct me to where I need to go to start that would be great!


We purchased a little over an acre south of Abilene, Texas it already has a septic system,water,elec. and telephone lines run under ground. It also has a steel carport that has a roof and one wall with a small storage lean-to.

We are thinking of turning a 14x30 storage building into living quarters until we can start building a house a little at a time. The building would then become a studio/workshop for DH once the house was built.
 

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call the county offices of the county the land is in they will be able to tell you all you need for building there.
 

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You will probably need a permit for the house. If you are using a contractor, let him pull the permit. Sometimes a do it yourselfer will get jerked around, whereas a contractor won't. When the permit for the house is pulled, ask about updating/putting electrical into the existing "shed". In our township, you cannot live in one building (or a mobile home) while you are building a second home. You have to have two seperate lots. If you are building a little at a time, somebody is going to know you are there. Call the township office and ask some "what if" questions. They may not let you do what you want to. Then again, they may, but you want to know if everything you want to do is legal or you may be paying fines.
 

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If you're outside of the city limits, you probably don't need any permits. This is Texas. :) This part of Texas, they made it a rule that you're supposed to "tell" the tax boys, if you're putting in a commercial establishment.

Now... if you "ask", I'm sure you'll find some bureaucrat willing to sell you one.

I built my first home, w/o permit. Current home project, no permit.

Now if you're getting someone else to build the home, the bankers gonna want some paperwork.
 

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I don't know how they do things in Texas, but in most other places you will generally need permits if you want to insure the house when it is finished. Also, it can be difficult to sell it if it was never permitted, unless the buyer only cares about the land.

The larger your tract of land is and the further away from a city, the more autonomy you tend to have over what you put on it. Not because there aren't any laws, it's just that no one really cares enough to enforce them...

Until you aggravate the wrong person. :)
 

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First you have to find out what jurisdiction you are in, city, township, county, then get the zoning information for each one. In Ohio there are different requirements for each jurisdiction, i.e., in the townships you don't need a permit to replace or re-peak your roof. In Columbus you have to have a permit to reshingle. The zoning office should have a zoning regulation book that you can purchase. It would save you a lot of time and frustration to buy the book.
 

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texican said:
If you're outside of the city limits, you probably don't need any permits. This is Texas. ...
We're building in East Texas, Cass County. There, if you are on more than 10 acres you basically don't need any permits. However, if you are financing your construction, your bank/finance company will probably require permits.

That said, we are following all national/state codes as we build and will be having everything inspected just in case, God forbid, we ever have to sell in the future. We would not want problems to arise that would hinder such a sale.

Peace, smiles and good luck,
doohap
 

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up here in new york you need a permit to do just about anything. its mostly just a money grab for the towns and county. once you start a building inspector will come and inspect the job in different steps to see if you comply with the building codes........mink
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the replies!

Now that I have a place to start I can bug them with plenty of "What if...?" questions.

We are still in the "Well what if we did XY or Z?" planning and wanted to have all the facts for each option before we commit to one.
 

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mink said:
up here in new york you need a permit to do just about anything. its mostly just a money grab for the towns and county. once you start a building inspector will come and inspect the job in different steps to see if you comply with the building codes........mink
MN too. One of the joys of living in a highly regulated state. We're building a deck, and it's going to cost more than $300 for the permits- we need to get permits from the township and from the county. We know of someone who recently was fined $500 for not getting the county permit- so we decided to toe the line and follow the guidelines.
 

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Stephanie - Start at your local government level. They should be able (willing could be another issue) to guide you through the permitting process and provide you with a current set of zoning regulations for your project. Here in my part of Ohio (and keep in mind that I'm registered as a farm with the state), if I build a small outbuilding that will be dedicated to STRICTLY agricultural purposes only (don't store your lawnmower in it), I have to pull a permit from our township, however there is no permit fee and the zoning regulations go out the window - I can place it on my property line or wherever I want. As long as it doesn't exceed a maximum square footage (I forget what that is) the county could care less. If my neighbor tried that they'd fine him. Since you're building a residence I would suspect that in or near Abilene that there will be fairly standard permitting and zoning regulations in force, especially if there is any development in the area.

But start with your local gov. entity which may be the county if your new property is outside of the Abilene city limits. Whatever else you do or don't do, build to the national Uniform Building Code at a minimum. These are the standards acceptable in most states/communities. There may be some variations locally for instance in California because of the threat of earthquake or coastal Florida because of the hurricane frequency, but for general mechanical (electric, HVAC, plumbing) systems, and things like window height, stairs, railings (the list is seemingly endless) they will be the likely standard. And get the inspections! You'll be glad you did....
 

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Listen to Texican. People in other states are quite astonished when I tell them that for the most part, building permits and inspections are generally not required unless you are within the city limits of an incorporated city or town.

I got lots of advice here and on other sites about a major electrical project at my place in the country. People from other states advised me to do this or do that to satisfy the inspector. When I explained there would be no inspector, they didn't believe me.
 

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snv1492 said:
I don't know how they do things in Texas, but in most other places you will generally need permits if you want to insure the house when it is finished. Also, it can be difficult to sell it if it was never permitted, unless the buyer only cares about the land.

The larger your tract of land is and the further away from a city, the more autonomy you tend to have over what you put on it. Not because there aren't any laws, it's just that no one really cares enough to enforce them...

Until you aggravate the wrong person. :)

Stuff and nonsense. I live in Union Township, Carroll County Ohio...... There is no zoning and the only 2 permits you need are:

1) For a drive to get a street number. If you don't want to get a street number then don't apply for a permit.

2) To install septic. You need a permit from the County Board of Health.

3) If you want to drill a well it must be registered with the state (technically not a permit).

We have had no problems with getting insurance.

Mike
 

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There is zoning in ALL of Ohio. State zoning laws still need to be followed as well as National Electric code and state board of health regulations. Just because your township/county doesn't enforce the zoning doesn't mean it doesn't exist. You really can't put a building on the property line.
 

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Danaus29 said:
There is zoning in ALL of Ohio. State zoning laws still need to be followed as well as National Electric code and state board of health regulations. Just because your township/county doesn't enforce the zoning doesn't mean it doesn't exist. You really can't put a building on the property line.
No, there is not zoning in all of ohio. Each city/village/township has the power to pass and enforce a zoning ordinance or resolution, but not all of them do. If your locality hasn't passed a zoning ordinance or resolution, there is NO zoning for that area. Counties and the state cannot pass zoning ordinances, but some counties do work with the townships and "suggest" particular zoning or even go so far as to prepare a model zoning resolution for the townships to use, but the decicsion remains with the locality.

As far as building codes, those are usually handled by the city/village or by the county in a township area. Ohio does publish a model building code but there are local variations on it.
 

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Danaus29 said:
There is zoning in ALL of Ohio. State zoning laws still need to be followed as well as National Electric code and state board of health regulations. Just because your township/county doesn't enforce the zoning doesn't mean it doesn't exist. You really can't put a building on the property line.
You are absolutely incorrect. Here is a citation from Ohio State University:

http://ohioline.osu.edu/cd-fact/1265.html


Quote:

"Though zoning is widespread in Ohio, communities are not required to have zoning. Indeed, many communities have no zoning regulations in force, especially in southern and eastern Ohio. "

Please provide a citation supporting your assertion that Ohio has zoning laws that apply statewide and are mandatory statewide.
 
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