Response To Town Condemned Our House Over A Fireplace

By / Letters to the Editor / Wednesday, 25 March 2015 04:00

Mr. and Mrs. Lawing,
At the end of your letter to the editor in the March 18th paper you asked for suggestions and stated you would be glad to hear them.  
I propose the following; gracefully admit that you made a mistake, take down the cantilever, put in an electric fireplace and move into your house. You say in your letter that you have been building for over 60 years. Anyone in the building trade knows that the set back is a no exception thing. If the setback is 5 feet then that means nothing...repeat nothing can extend over that space.
These setback requirements are for the good of all. I do not believe exceptions should be made simply because you were not "caught" before the home was completed. If you were the general contractor of the home then you are indeed responsible for this oversight.  Building inspectors are not liable for a builder's errors.  Once it was brought to your attention it needed to be rectified Please accept responsibility for changing the home to conform to the guidelines that you should have been aware of when  you submitted the plans.  
Setback code is designed to protect all of us. It specifically protects your neighbors from having your dwelling or other structures too close to their property.  Even though many of your neighbors have not complained do not mistake that for acquiescence. Many times people are loath to create dissention with their neighbors.  Do not mistake that for agreement,
The argument that this cantilever structure is not "in the way" is not applicable. It needs to be changed because it violates a building code; any other argument is self serving.  All of the other allegations contained in your letter seem to stem from this issue.  
You both have all the power in this situation, take down the offending structure and modify the fireplace to make it be electric. One thing you are right about is the fact that taxpayers must foot the bill for this frivolous lawsuit. I am concerned about our culture of "I want it....the rules do not apply to me". So in closing my suggestion would 1.Save you money  2.Let you finally move into your home 3. Free up town staff to deal other issues 4. Save the taxpayers money that is being spent on this non-issue.  
I would remove the cantilever      ( or 6 inches of it),  get your approval and move into your beautiful home. You still have time to enjoy this summer....don't waste it.
Jennifer Baratta
Carolina Beach, NC


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