Can Arbitrary Code Enforcement Get Your City Sued? You Betcha.

Here’s yet another example why firm and consistent code enforcement is the best policy.

Yakima, WA, is the latest town being threatened with legal action over arbitrary code enforcement.

As reported by Kaitlin Bain, Yakima Herald: A Yakima resident is threatening legal action for what he says is an unfair enforcement of city building codes.

Mark Needham was told by city planning staff earlier this month that some storage containers at his West Chestnut Avenue business needed to be set on foundations and three others would have to be removed.

But the Yakima Mini Storage Properties LLC owner says there are dozens of similar storage containers in the area without foundations.

“In fact, I couldn’t find any that did have foundations under them,” he said in his appeal of the mandate he must put some his storage containers on foundations and also get a building permit for them.

Additionally, Needham says he has a right to use the containers on his private property, that they aren’t permanent and have been there for nearly four years with no problems. The city wasn’t notified of the code violation until after an unrelated Yakima Fire Department inspection of his business at 5010 W. Chestnut Ave., Needham said.

Any commercial storage container more than 120 square feet has to have a footing, foundation and a building permit, said city code enforcement manager Joe Caruso. That’s required in both Yakima city code and the International Building Code.

And the city has had at least two recent instances where other business owners either talked with the planning department about these requirements or implemented them at their facilities, said city assistant planner Eric Crowell.

Read the full article.


1 Comment on "Can Arbitrary Code Enforcement Get Your City Sued? You Betcha."

  1. John Hatfield | May 30, 2018 at 2:57 pm |

    This is typical of enforcement after complaint that most governments use for Code enforcement on existing properties. Its okay until someone complains then enforcement starts and people feel picked upon by the government. So yes the building code provisions exist and have been in the code since at least 1973 for storage buildings required to have a permit, foundations make this a permanent structure. Probably a zone regulation exists that you can not have more than 2 storage buildings on a property and so this generates the next problem.

    The start of fire department inspections also creates additional enforcement problems experienced by property owners and the feeling that a provision maybe arbitrary because other business have not been affected. Fire inspections are again complaint driven until a full program is instituted through out the city.

    If you want the law changed get business together and meet with the government entity to achieve change. A lawsuit is just a waste of money when a set of laws have been established for minimal construction guidelines.

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