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Board endorses proposed change in building codes

Sun Advocate publisher

In the past many out-buildings in Carbon County were constructed without adherence to codes, particularly in connection with recently enacted regulations.

Codes enacted after the buildings were constructed have created consternation for residents who own and want to remodel or add on to the existing structures.

"I certainly have more faith in building codes than in some arbitrary ideas about how to build something," said Dave Levanger at the county planning board meeting May 1.

"But we also realize that there are instances where adding on to a present structure, even if it isn't built to code, could still be allowed," continued the county planning director.

Levanger presented a change in the code that would allow the expansion to the members of the planning board.

The county codes have allowed homes to be restored in the case of a disaster such as fire or wind damage.

But the regulations did not allow for expansion under some of the old set back rules.

"Things can be rebuilt, but not expanded under the present code," said Levanger. "Problem is that this keeps people from being able to expand an out-building the way they want to."

An example would be a garage that a local resident wants to add on to.

The garage may have been built in 1955 and at a location three feet from the resident's property line.

However, the county's current building code specifies that the set back distance would have to be eight feet for any addition to that particular structure.

If the person wanted to add on to the back of the existing garage, the expansion project would become almost impossible without tearing the old building down and replacing the structure entirely.

Under the proposed revised code, the regulation would allow for the same set back distance as it physically exists.

"We just can't see a good reason to not let people do this," said Levanger.

The planning and zoning board members voted to recommend the proposed code change to the Carbon County Commission.

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