HIPC still wrangling permit issues

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- The Holiday Island Planning Commission started off the new year with two property owners coming up against its permit rules, and is discussing ways to rectify property owners' lack of information about permits and procedures.

A property owner on Indian Wells was called in to get a permit for a 500-square-foot deck he had completed without getting a permit. He had replaced deck, railings and supports at his home at 54 Indian Wells Drive.

A permit was approved for the work, and the property owner asked for a set of covenants for his unit.

Chairman Myrna Peterson expressed frustration with property owners not knowing what they can and cannot do because they don't have a set of their covenants.

"Most realtors don't give them out when they make a sale," she said.

Commissioner W.E. Comstock said HIPC will be sending out letters to local real estate agencies to ask them to furnish copies of the covenants to new lot owners.

But even should that happen, the covenants do not always include all the rules and requirements of HIPC, which are updated on an ongoing basis as new state laws come into effect or HIPC votes to enact new permit requirements. Deck and roof replacement permits are two examples of fairly recent requirements that are not listed in most sets of covenants, especially those established in earlier decades and not modified since.

Permits have been established to allow for inspections by HIPC's building inspector to ensure construction follows state codes and in certain cases is done by a state-licensed contractor.

HIPC keeps copies of its current Regulations for Construction and Residential Habitation in its office and on its website at www.hiplanningcommission.com. Covenants for specific units can be obtained by calling Peterson at 479-981-3091.

Another property owner inquired about placing a concrete pad straddling two lots at his home at 24 Danube Drive. He said he wants to eventually build a carport on it.

Peterson said the carport would have to share a common wall with the house if it straddles two adjoining lots. HIPC made this rule to ensure that in such situations adjoining lots cannot be sold separately, leaving one with a non-residential structure on it in a unit zoned residential.

The property owner said he had had problems with the contractor, who had advised him to purchase the second lot because the rocky terrain of the house lot was such that placement of the concrete pad would be unworkable. He said he had spent a lot of money on the project so far and had already paid two-thirds of the cost to the contractor, who had lost his concrete guy during the summer.

"Your problem is you have a landscape contractor, you don't have a building contractor," said Comstock, speaking from his experience as a building contractor. "A building contractor would drill out the rock."

In other business, HIPC issued Permit #2267 for 90 days to Tom Prince to build a 768-square-foot garage at his home at 19 Beaver Drive.

Peterson said the commission had more business to attend to, but as its members had to leave, they will schedule a special meeting to address other concerns.

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