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Surveys Surveys Surveys

Discussion in 'Planning and Zoning' started by jar546, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

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    I lived most of my life in Pennsylvania and worked with a lot of zoning officers when I was a building code official in multiple municipalities. Overall my experience of the zoning officer was a bit negative. Some never visited a jobsite and some never required plans to scale or a survey. Some even allowed things that were not allowed and others denied everything and let it go to a zoning board hearing because they did not want to take on the liability of making a decision. Yeah, there were a few professionals but overall, it was a job that was never really given to a "qualified individual." In one instance the municipality's zoning officer was so pathetic, they(muni) were riddled with lawsuits and created homeowner disputes and lawsuits due to the zoning officer's lack of doing their job.

    Then I moved to Florida about 6 years ago. Wow! What a difference. There was the zoning officer who you never really saw and below the zoning officer there were workers who were trained and competent. The one surprise to me, however, was the requirement for surveys. I built a house a few years ago and this is how it went: (to the best of my knowledge)

    Survey One: When the developer created different lots.
    Survey Two: Required in order to issue a building permit
    Survey Three: Required after the footer/foundation was poured
    Survey 4: Required for final and C of O

    After seeing what went on in Pennsylvania, I completely understand why these surveys are required.

    S1: It is obvious why this is required, no explanation needed.
    S2: I think is is to double check to make sure that all of the construction did not screw up the pins and the building is actually building where they said they were.
    S3: Making sure the house will be exactly where it is supposed to be and the correct size.....
    S4: With all landscaping, Condensing fan, generator pads, ensuring that none of that encroaches on other properties or right of ways.

    To me it makes sense and I don't have a problem with it. In PA, many munis create their own problems by a lack of surveys and competent zoning enforcement.
     
  2. Min&Max

    Min&Max Silver Member

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    If you need that many surveys then A). the contractors are not worth a damn, B) the inspectors are not worth a damn or C) a combination of A & B. I will go with C.
     
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  3. Pcinspector1

    Pcinspector1 Platinum Member

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    You know like in Utopia: an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect.

    Congratulations, you made it!
     
  4. mtlogcabin

    mtlogcabin Registered User

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    S1 required as part of the platting process
    S2 a waste of money when lot pins are already in place from the S1 requirement. The contractor needs to identify the lot pins and string the lot lines to verify correct setbacks before foundation pour.
    S3 should be done after the first floor is installed to document compliance with the elevation requirements of the flood zone.
    S4 not necessary
     
  5. north star

    north star Sawhorse

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    @ ! @

    While it makes sense in a CYA Factor, that many surveys;
    in a lot of jurisdictions, would not fly !.......Costs too much
    in money & time for a Developer \ Contractor to be that
    conscientious [ i.e. - just let the end user \ homeowner ]
    be the one to pick up the tab for any errors \ discrepancies.

    Also, in one jurisdiction I previously worked in, the actual
    surveys were not accurate.......They started at one point,
    but did not end up returning to that same point at the
    completion........Very sloppy recording of all of the angles.

    @ ! @
     
  6. Keystone

    Keystone Sawhorse

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    Jeff,

    I feel your pain on all fronts when it comes to zoning. I see all of it, over zealous officials who have been trained not to make a decision on there own and this is a known and accepted practice by the participating municipality and those other officials that are nonchalant and truly inactive through the entire process except when it comes time to collect the payment.

    IMO, S1 & S2 should be combined as the first. The boundary and offset house stakes which include finished floor elevation can be placed at one visit. S3 & S4 should be combined as the final. If stakes get knocked out or thought to be altered then call for a re-stake. If the structure is not as intended then it is up to the builder to rectify his/her own layout and conform to the originally approved survey.

    Fences and sheds, that's an entirely different part of zoning I wish would be revamped. If a municipality is going to charge a fee for that fence or shed then I'd expect they will conduct a site inspection and sign off its final placement. The municipality will demand and have specific requirements regarding placement and heights but will assume no responsibility once they issue the permit, they wash there hands of it at that point.

    I'm going to play devils advocate with myself, so if a homeowner wants a sign off on final placement should then the municipality require a site survey?

    Municipalities already have every class and district broken down by area via addresses so why not have easily accessible information on fence and shed set backs and height restrictions available and offered to anyone who seeks the information without further forms and associated fees and wait times for issuance. This aspect of the zoning permit process has the appearance of being a money grab when all the information is already known by a municipality.
     
  7. JCraver

    JCraver Sawhorse

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    One survey is plenty.

    Once the stakes are there, in IL, it's a felony to move them unless you're a surveyor. So after the initial survey when the stakes are placed, everything can (and should be) done off the string lines. If the contractor and/or inspector can't use the strings and read a tape measure, they should both look for other employment.
     
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  8. JCraver

    JCraver Sawhorse

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    We do an inspection, verifying placement. If you put it in the wrong place, you move it.

    Are there muni's out there with active building/zoning departments that don't offer "easily accessible information on fence and shed set backs and height restrictions available and offered to anyone who seeks the information without further forms and associated fees and wait times for issuance"? If so, that should be criminal. What is your purpose as an employee of a building/zoning dept., if not to give the residents that information when they ask for it?
     
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  9. JCraver

    JCraver Sawhorse

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    This is why I'm a proponent of having the zoning and building departments combined. There is no valid reason the guy issuing the permits shouldn't know the zoning requirements. There is no valid reason the guy inspecting projects shouldn't know the zoning requirements. And if both of those are true, then there is no valid reason to have a guy who just does "zoning", because his job doesn't then make any sense.
     
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  10. Keystone

    Keystone Sawhorse

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    In Pa. as Jeff states, zoning and building codes, even with the adoption of I Codes is still randomly enforced as seen appropriate by the AHJ. The building codes have gotten muchhhhh better throughout the state but there is still a long way to go.

    We have zoning and building offices throughout Pa. that may only be open on part time and limited days per week and no not all information is readily available. I feel if Pa. combined municipalities this would eliminate the burden of such issues.
     
    jar546 likes this.
  11. RJJ

    RJJ Platinum Member

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    Well First I required an approved, time stamp copy of the Sub division / Land development plan. Next the site and foot print are staked for construction by a surveyor. Once footings are place you must produce an as-built with in 30 days. If the building is wrong I make them move it.
     
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