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How Can We Make Our Yurt Legal!!? Grr

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Old 07-19-2012, 07:35 PM   #1
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Dear yurt enthusiasts
My partner dylan built and designed his own yurt. We have enjoyed successfully living in it for nearly a year on family owned property. Sadly our regional district has told us that it is an illegal second dwelling and must be taken down and we are to vacate it. We have not found ANY solutions and are desperate to find one. Friends nearby are even willing to let us live in our yurt on thier land but similar district rules apply. It appears as though we will not be allowed to set up legally anywhere in our district. Can you suggest anything to us? whether how we are wording things or how others have gone about this in the past or how your yurts are legal or not on privately owned land. Your thoughts to our predicament are very much appreciated thank you in advance for your response.
Cheers to yurts!
Iris and Dylan

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Old 07-19-2012, 07:44 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irisdylan View Post
Dear yurt enthusiasts
My partner dylan built and designed his own yurt. We have enjoyed successfully living in it for nearly a year on family owned property. Sadly our regional district has told us that it is an illegal second dwelling and must be taken down and we are to vacate it. We have not found ANY solutions and are desperate to find one. Friends nearby are even willing to let us live in our yurt on thier land but similar district rules apply. It appears as though we will not be allowed to set up legally anywhere in our district. Can you suggest anything to us? whether how we are wording things or how others have gone about this in the past or how your yurts are legal or not on privately owned land. Your thoughts to our predicament are very much appreciated thank you in advance for your response.
Cheers to yurts!
Iris and Dylan
The hard part here is that you designed and built it yourself because that means there is no engineering specs on it probably. Can you tell us what part of the country you are from and what county? We might be able to find the zoning laws online.

Did they give you any chance to defend your design?

Are you living in this full time or is it seasonal?

Have you sat down and had a nice calm heart to heart with the zoning enforcement authority to see what you can do to come up to code?

(edit: btw I moved this to "Building A Yurt" forum because it seems to fit better there )
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:28 PM   #3
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We are in Terrace BC Canada. We are under the regional district of the kitimat stikine. Even if the yurt was built to code they wont allow a second dwelling on the property.
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:10 PM   #4
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It seems in your case that the simplest solution would be to call the structure something else. Storage. Workshop. Detached bedroom. Any of those labels. Typically when discussing these types of issues it boils down to what you can remove, temporarily until inspections are over, to eliminate the kitchen. In a workshop you could probably get away with a sink, but no stove or refrigerator. Easy enough, right? You could also probably have a full bathroom.

For meeting code, you'll want to have an architect stamp a set of plans drafted by a person experienced in your county and with a good reputation with the building department. If they don't allow yurts specifically, then you have the right to ask what codes SPECIFICALLY make them not allowed. Once you know specifically, then you can probably adapt it to meet code. We hammered away here to be get them permittable, it was mostly the need to educate people high up and prove the yurt's strength with engineering specs.

I'm not sure what style your yurt is, soft sided? Is it fully plumbed and does it have electricity? If not, then there's always the option of trying to claim that it's a temporary structure or even a gazebo. Keep us posted!
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:37 PM   #5
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This question of permitting has come up a lot for me. In most areas a floor or deck that is less than one foot above ground level requires no permit. The yurts I make are essentially a portable tent, no permit required. However electricity and plumbing do need a permit. When talking to any building authority wording plays a big part of their decision making. I have seen the exact same set of plans turned down time and time again until one simple word has been changed on the plans. When talking this same principal applies. How you present your situation can make the difference between a green light to continue or a complete stop in your project.

Portable and temporary are words that do well. Long term, permanent, dwelling and residence don't go over so good. Having someone who is experienced in dealing with the building authority and knows how to talk and push things through will make a big differance.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:39 PM   #6
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Here is a thread where we are getting together a checklist of things about permitting:

http://www.yurtforum.com/forums/buil...a-yurt-67.html
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Old 09-13-2012, 02:25 PM   #7
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Treebones, the major issue with claiming a structure as temporary is that most counties will want to see it set up only for a fraction of the year if it is temporary. A week out of a month, or similar rules. Most people don't want to deal with that with a yurt. Might as well do a tipi or something at that point....

Many counties also added in a clause in recent years for an accessory structure exemption. That is a structure up to a certain square footage (200 - 600sf usually) and height (12' usually) that doesn't require a permit, as long as you have one permitted residence finalled already. They can't have plumbing or electric to them if they are to be exempt. It's always a good idea to find about those kinds of exemptions.

The big thing to remember with temporary is that they can come in at any time and tell you the temporary guidelines have been exceeded and you have to take it down.
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:46 PM   #8
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One hour set up and always longer to break down and load up. Having the skills to do this is always a plus. I guess that I am both spoiled and fortunate to be able to work within this kind of situation.

I have no experience working with the larger more permanent yurts. None! I have only seen and been in Pacific Yurt a few times (first class yurts). The yurts I promote are of the more portable and affordable structures. None of us are permanent residents of this Earth. I have moved far more yurts than I have ever set up permanent ones. I bet it will always be this way.

In our county they operate on the "Don't look, don't tell" method. In other words if a building inspector in the process of inspecting a permitted project sees the house accross the street that is building without a permit they will look the other way. However if the county recives a writen complant about it then they must follow up with an inspection.

Location, location, location. It's clear that things are diffrent everywhere. However I can guarentee that nothing will stay the same. I think portability has great advantages and I embrace this concept, the "Light Feet" way.

Last edited by Tree Bones; 09-13-2012 at 03:51 PM.
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