In your building code zone, when is a structure considered a building? I
need to read up on that. duh. Some places, it is when it is enclosed.
Some cases it is when it is electrified. Some places, if there are any
habitable spaces. Just wondering how it is where you live. I live in an
agricultural 1 district, single family. One acre minimum lot size. Five
acre minimum for a septic.
I get training in property tax review annually. At least in MN, it
goes by if there is a foundation. For example an animal confinement on
skids, even if huge, is not a building. Put a row of cement blocks
down and it is a building. A greenhouse with a dirt floor and posts is
not a building. Put down blocks or a floor, its a building.
The land use ordinances in my town refer only to "structures" -- no
mention of "buildings". Our definition of structure borders on the
absurd in its scope and inconsistency. When the issue comes up in my
role as chair of our Board of Appeals, I often point out that a lawn
chair arguably qualifies as a structure. On the other hand, in
practice, the codes office is generally reasonable in its application
of the definition. ************
Structure - anything built for the support, shelter or enclosure of
persons, animals, goods or property of any kind, together with
anything constructed or erected with a fixed location on or in the
ground, exclusive of fences and poles, wiring, and other equipment
normally associated with service drops as well as guying and guy
anchors. The term includes, but is not limited to, structures
temporarily or permanently located, such as decks, satellite dishes,
and portable prefab structures. Other examples of structure include
terraces, patios and other construction involving impermeable and/or
"Karl Townsend" wrote
I have two containers. Each has six supports, 16 x 16 solid concrete
blocks, and there is air under the containers. I have roofed it, and
eventually, hopefully soon, make double doors on each end to fully enclose
it. The middle, it will be concreted, but no concrete will go under the
containers except for one foot to collect any runoff and channel it away.
If it absolutely had to, the whole thing could be moved out in less than one
day if I had a crane ready.
I had a discussion with an old neighbor who used to be the assessor. He
said the county makes sweeps every five years to catch what they can, and
then hit you with an increase in taxes based on what it is. Shouldn't be
I read the codes last evening, but what I could find on line didn't have the
exact answer. It did say that many buildings made to aid in agriculture
(I'm in an ag zone) didn't have to be even permitted, including pole barns,
lean tos, carports, shades, animal refuges, etc. It only seems to refer to
habitable structures in an AG1 zone.
I thought it may be the point where I enclose it that it would be considered
a structure. I'll plug up around the bottom with steel sheet skirting, and
go through and seal a lot of air infiltration spots with expanding foam and
custom cut patches, so that I can keep it cooler in summer and warmer in
Thanks for the info.
... Sounds like you and I have the exact same job. What is your guide
line as to what structures pay property taxes?
I am REALLY NOT looking forward to the board of review this spring. At
the last second our wonderful state legislature gutted the homestead
property tax credit. This credit reduced your taxes on the first 100K
of property value. They were smart and got it shoved through with no
one noticing till it was too late.
Talk about a regressive tax. The folks living in the least expensive
homes will really get whacked with a huge tax incease. In our area
that's mostly the people that can least afford it. AND they won't
understand that's its not the county, city or township, and school
that's hitting them.
....... One acre minimum lot size. Five
Can't answer your question (my usual state for replies), but the post
does bring up a question for me...Why 5 acres to have a septic system,
and what do you require for waste if you have less than that?? Is it
the local strata?
We are situated on 27 feet of sand, and have a 120' X 160' lot, and we
are on septic as is the whole town (poupation 1,000 people, approx.
Be glad you're a Canuck. Here in the states, small towns with all
private sytems are having the entire sytem condemned and a central
sewer system mandated. I know of three small towns and one large lake
here in MN. The same thing is happening in the FL keys. The costs are
...Are you on well water too? Does your well water line into the house have
a UV treatment set-up?
We too have a minimum of either 3 or 5 acres for a septic in my town, but we
are 100% septic and 100% well water... Here in NJ.
Joe Agro, Jr.
(800) 871-5022 x113
Where I live, Island County, which is two islands, Whidbey Island and
Camano Island, in Western Washington, septic system failures are an
increasing problem because so many systems are old and were originally
built for smaller houses, many of them summer homes. As these homes
were remodeled into larger buildings the septics were grandfathered
in. However, instead of just condemning the systems all the counties
in Western Washington are requiring periodic septic inspections. If
the system passes then no changes are required. Island County offers
free classes to owners of property with septic systems that teach one
how to inspect the complete septic system. Included in the training
are instructions to make the two needed inspection tools out of PVC
pipe. Or you can borrow them from the county. The instructors
emphasised the fact that owners can save from $50.00 to over $300.00
by doing the inspection themselves and that they can also avoid
pumping the tank out too often which costs at least $350.00. This is a
case of our government doing the right thing and actually saving us
money. Much better than just heavy handed condemning. Of course you
can lie on the forms when you do the inspection yourself, but at least
you will know yourself if your system has problems. Then you may or
may not take steps to fix the situation. But most people will do the
right thing. Most people already do the right thing most of the time.
Either the soil is really, really impermeable, or whoever sets the local
building codes are a bunch of d***heads.
AFAIK sand is about the most delightful stuff to have for septic -- in
fact, in Oregon when you have really impermeable soil the required
solution is often to dig out a huge chunk of the clay soil and replace it
with sand, into which is laid ones leaching field.
They call 'em "sandboxes".
My job (1) is on what most towns call the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Since there's no zoning in this town, we're just the Board of Appeals.
The boards hears appeals of decisions made by the codes enforcement
officer, plumbing inspector, and Planning Board and requests for
variances. It sounds like you hear appeals of tax assessments.
Theoretically all structures are assessed, but accessory structures
seem to be valued well below market or replacement cost. For example,
my wife's 20x24, 1-1/2 story, heated painting studio is assessed at
$7000. I think the 12x18 garden shed is $250.
(1) I use the term loosely -- we get $10 per meeting .
Tim, here in Central Oregon much of the land is solid rock, so the
septic solution is a big pile of sand over the top of perforated PVC
pipe leach field. We see them all over here at Crooked River Ranch. Many
of the systems have to be pumped to the drain field. One place we looked
at had the liquid pumped up over a hill and then gravity took it down to
a drain field.
Personally, we are lucky, as the first owner spent the money to excavate
the hardpan and lay in a proper drain field. The sand and gravel
backfill lets the liquid evaporate within 20-25 feet of the septic tank,
as indicated by rank green grass.
We have about 18 inches of volcanic ash and rock rubble, here. Under
that is million year old same stuff, but locked together into concrete.
Only penetrable when wet.
I got you beat big time in the pay department - $600 a year. Works out
to about $2 an hour. Just today I had two meetings, had to deal with
an irrate person that was mad about having a box elder tree cut down
in front of his property. Then conferred with the school board chair
and the local city mayor about how we are going to politic the state
legislature for funds on a badly needed infrastructure improvement.
My town considers anything 100 square feet and over taxable and so far
has ignored my 8' x 10' temporary storage sheds. Go ask them.
I did before I bought the containers, and they said in an Ag1 zone I needed
No, it is the local government wanting to keep this a rural town and keep
out the developers who would put rows upon rows of cookie cutter houses
needing an expensive sewer line. They have things just like they like them,
and they are not going to let them change. Currently, one cannot get a
commercial or manufacturing license. Home occupancy permits are the only
thing being granted. We are stuck in time, and like it.