(Royal Palm Beach fl )
Visitor Question: Do I have to pull a permit for a 10' by 20' canopy which is assembled at the back of my house? I have to pull a permit or remove it. Can I remove it late at night and assemble same early in the morning? The canopy has been up for some time and there was no problem until recently I received a violation notice to remove same or pull a permit. It's a shelter for my pet dog.
Editors' Reply: We certainly would recommend that you pull the permit if you want to leave it up. Time of day and whether it's up overnight or not probably has no relevance, although there's no harm in checking with your city.
Here's how code enforcement works:
Almost everywhere now, it works on a complaint basis, although it's possible that the inspector could have driven by and seen the canopy, wondered if you had a permit, and discovered you didn't.
So now you have a code violation. If you remove the canopy, you will have to call the city and tell them you removed it, wait till the inspector comes out and sees that you have removed it (and you may or may not be notified about the inspection, since it is on the exterior), and then keep it down.
If you put it back up after once removing it, you will be in code violation again, and at absolutely any time, you could receive a notice again. The bad part about this is that the city will have the record that you said you were going to remove it, and then you put it back up without a permit. That would just make your fine larger and the judge crabbier if you had to go to municipal court.
So since you are violating the law, our opinion is you should pull the permit if you want the canopy.
If you think the law is wrong, or the inspector's interpretation of the law is wrong, by all means, express yourself but in a civil manner. To get the law changed, you would have to approach your city council or equivalent, and you might or might not succeed.
If your city didn't quote you exactly what provision of one of their ordinances you are violating, ask for that information. If you think the inspector is being subjective about saying your canopy required a permit, then you could try to contest the matter in municipal court.
But if you just don't want to pay for the permit, probably it's smarter to just to get over it, pay up, and not be worried all the time about getting caught.
One more thing: don't spend too long deciding what to do. If you end up being fined in municipal court, the fine could be calculated by how many days you were in violation.
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