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Thread: Zoning/building inspection interface/overlap

  1. #1
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    Zoning/building inspection interface/overlap

    I'm mostly looking for a show of hands, I guess.

    How common is it for a local jurisdiction/governing body to have both zoning and building inspection ordinances, with language in both describing (sometimes redundantly) various requirements and/or process?

    Does this question sound confusing? It reflects my current state of mind.

    I've been blessed, as a local contract building inspector, with a dual role as zoning admin. Small municipality. I know the first obvious resource would be a city attorney, but I'm trolling for comments from fish like me in similar ponds.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    No offense intended, but my experience is that zoning admins and building inspectors should NOT be the same person. It lends itself to too many "oh its okay" decisions.

    Ordinances can overlap as long as they are consistant.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by fringe View post
    How common is it for a local jurisdiction/governing body to have both zoning and building inspection ordinances, with language in both describing (sometimes redundantly) various requirements and/or process?
    From my experience, it's very common with smaller municipalities.

    While I agree with Chet's comment, I'll also add that when one person is assigned to administer both zoning and building codes, enforcement of either too often goes by the wayside.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    Thanks for the replies.

    I agree with opinions expressed, but this place is so small there's almost no "here" here.

    The one whose shoes I've partly filled was Public Works/Zoning Administrator /Building Inspector/Coroner, so I'm a little better able to focus.

    The last time I voted for a city council seat, the winner won by 26 votes to 21. A seat recently vacated due to illness was just filled by qualification alone. No opponent by deadline meant no election.

    The subject ordinances read like others I've seen, where perhaps zoning was first adopted, and tried to include building inspection, thus the redundance.

    Now that I'm zoning too I guess I'll be the one to go in and tinker and polish.
    Last edited by fringe; 30 Sep 2008 at 3:12 PM. Reason: spelling

  5. #5
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    A problem I have seen with zoning/bldg. codes is with the site plan submission. Zoning asks for much more than the building code, so there needs to be one set of requirements for submission...that goes out with the building permit application.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    In Canada we have a model National Building Code. It does not apply to any locale but is instead the science-based model document that provinces can use as their building code foundations.

    Then we have provincial building codes, based on the last National Building Code plus or minus whatever regional variations are necessary (higher structural standards in BC for earthquake resistance, for example).

    At the municipal level all cities have Zoning Bylaws and almost all have Building and Plumbing Bylaws that require inspections, adherence to building code.

    Zoning reg's often overlap with the building code, for example in secondary suite regulations. Maximum 90 sq m size and no more than 40% of a dwelling. This is expressed in the BC Building Code but also in countless BC municipal zoning bylaws.

    Has led to fun situations where an unwitting planner varies the zoning bylaw provision of either the 90 sq m limit or the 40% limit only to have the building permit shot down later (you cannot vary the building code*).

    * For complex buildings there are "alternative solutions" certified by a P. Eng

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    I am the building inspector/zoning admin in the community I work. So far, I haven't had a problem with dual roles because as long as people are compliant with the regulations in place, there are no problems. When people are not compliant from either side, then issues arise. As far as enforcing it, I don't have a problem with what people want to build in a particular zone as long as it fits within the allowable side of the table. The problem I have seen is our zoning ordinance/regulation(s) are too vague and need to be more specific and this is something we will work in the future.

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