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KatieS_GV

Solar panel install project permit denied over existing, pre-1962 structures on property (Nevada County, CA)

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Hello,

 

My husband and I are trying to install a solar array on our property in Grass Valley, CA (Nevada County) and are having significant issues getting our permit approved due to structures that already existed on the property (verifiable there since 1962 due cataloged aerial photos) but were actually built in the late 1950's (we have no way of proving that time though).  The issue with them is that they are too close to the back property line, they are a foot to foot and a half away from the property boundary line.  From all intensive research purposes, I found that Nevada county did not have any permitting regulations in place prior to 1962, which would then make me assume they may not have also had any type of setback regulations in place at that time either.  The structures in question are in active use, 1 is 50 sq ft and is a gardening shed (no utilities or foundation), the other is 200 sq ft building which has a foundation and electrical.  I use it as a workshop / studio and we recently just fixed up the interior due to some minor leaking. 

 

I just got back from the county office where the permitting tech seemed to think the proof of them being there prior to 1962 was sufficient and that the solar array plan just needed to include them within the site plan.  Then she went to verify with a county planner and he came back with a big fat NO.  He is insisting that there were setback requirements in 1962 and prior and told me he has to do more research and will get back to me and that we will most likely have to demolish or relocate them.  There is no feasible place to move them too that would make them an eyesore for someone or use, so it only leaves an option of demolishing.  Part of my thought process is, if building permits weren't required in 1962 then how could there be any type of stringently forced regulation that would still apply in 2019?  I really, really don't want to lose my workshop as it has significant impact on my art life and if I lose it, I won't be able to continue with a lot of the things I create because my house is too small to accommodate my projects.  But if we don't get this resolved, we will never be able to get any type of permitted work done which we have more plans for in the future.  I also thought there was some sort of grandfathering clause, in the case for people like us that aren't held liable of expense for new code regulations or requirements.  

 

Additional information:

  1. The house was built in 1949 by my husbands grandfather, it has always been within the family.  We purchased from my in-laws who initially inherited the home in the 1990's,  in May of 2018.
  2. The property size is 0.6 acres and is zoned RA-1.5.
  3. The 2 additional detached structures were built in the late 1950s but we don't have proof.  My only proof is from the UCSB library cataloged aerial photo from 08/1962.  There are family photos showing them but they don't have dates on them.
  4. The property that is behind us, that our back property line shares, was not a parcel or property until 1981 and for additional, possibly not relevant info, did not have a permit when the home was built on it in 1984.
  5. I have attached a picture of our property, the structure which is the main issue is circled.

 

We love our home as it is and this is really upsetting to both of us.  Any help or advice would be great.

 

Thanks so much,

Katie S

 

Capture.JPG

Edited by KatieS_GV
added zoning info

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1 hour ago, KatieS_GV said:

Part of my thought process is, if building permits weren't required in 1962 then how could there be any type of stringently forced regulation that would still apply in 2019?

 

Setbacks and permits are two different things. Setbacks are often deed restrictions or legal restrictions that existed when the property was first platted. Permits have to do with building codes but would include setback requirements.

 

1 hour ago, KatieS_GV said:

I really, really don't want to lose my workshop as it has significant impact on my art life and if I lose it, I won't be able to continue with a lot of the things I create because my house is too small to accommodate my projects.  But if we don't get this resolved, we will never be able to get any type of permitted work done which we have more plans for in the future. 

 

If you can't get the solar approved because of the location of the shed you'll have to move it or tear it down and build another. Is there no process for a variance?

 

1 hour ago, KatieS_GV said:

I also thought there was some sort of grandfathering clause, in the case for people like us that aren't held liable of expense for new code regulations or requirements.  

 

You are grandfathered. You can keep the shed forever, until you want to do something new to the property and then you have to meet all the current codes and regulations.

 

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3 hours ago, adjusterjack said:

You are grandfathered. You can keep the shed forever, until you want to do something new to the property and then you have to meet all the current codes and regulations

That's exactly right.  You want to make a change now, you have to do it to whatever the code is now.  All the grandfather provision means is what is can stay.  You want to change anything structurally, then you have to abide by the rules as they are now. 

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