County Commissioners authorize enforcement of land use regulations

Who knew they needed to?

It would seem that the passage of laws, regulations and permit requirements would come with automatic authorization to enforce those laws. Apparently, that’s not so.



Three recent incidents of residents bucking the county’s Land Use Resolution prompted the Board of County Commissioners this week to sanction the busting of rule-breakers, “up to and including litigation.”
At issue for two out of the three violations: greenhouses.
One was built without a permit, near a residence at the junction of Ohio Creek and Mill Creek Roads. “We gave them a stop work order,” said building and environmental health officer Crystal Lambert.
“You gave them a stop work order, but the work was already done?” asked Commissioner Phil Chamberland.
“We should have given them a violation notice,” Lambert said, “and also, [the greenhouse] does not appear to be set back from the water.”
The second structure is a behemoth located on Candlelight Lane. The builder “came in to see what would be required, then built it anyway, without a permit,” said Lambert, and added that county officials learned of the second renegade greenhouse by complaint from the homeowners association. “He’s working on getting a building application together,” she said. The greenhouse in this case is hooped. “It’s quite large,” said Lambert, adding that it’s draped with opaque plastic, so “It’s hard to see what’s inside.”
“The sheriff has a pretty good idea what’s inside,” added community development director Russ Forrest.
A third trouble-structure was built on property owned by Redden Ranches, and is an illegal dwelling erected on a leased parcel. The existence of this building was reported by the Reddens. “It looks like a barn,” said Lambert, but inside it’s clearly been designed as a residence. “It has more violations than I’ve ever seen in one place,” Lambert noted, including breeches of building, fire and electrical codes.
“The two greenhouses—I went through the process and (recently) I put my greenhouse up,” said Chamberland. “It took two weeks. So I don’t understand why they wouldn’t [go through that process]—unless they wanted to put it in the river.”
County manager Matthew Birnie said that even with authorization to enforce the regulations, “There’s still an opportunity to resolve issues, but for those issues not resolved, the attorney’s office can proceed.”

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