Yakima Man Tries to Save Addition After Building Without a Permit
YAKIMA, Wa - A Yakima viewer called our station saying that he received a notice from the city's Code Administration Office that he has to tear down an addition to his manufactured home.
Howard Huit says he spent over $20,000 on the addition and built it without a permit because he wasn't getting help from the city. The city sent Howard Huit a notice telling him that he had until yesterday to fix violations or they were going to tear down an addition to his manufactured home.
"It's just not going to happen." Huit says bluntly.
He began building this addition to his manufactured home five years ago. He was contacted by the city two years ago after a neighbor complained.
The city brought up two issues. First, he did not have a permit.
"I was honest. I tried to get a permit. I did everything in my power," Huit says.
Huit says he was shuffled back and forth between the Code Administration and Labor and Industries. He says neither agency was clear about what he needed to do to get a building permit. Huit got frustrated with the red tape and built the addition anyway.
The second issue the city says is that he built the addition on a 15-foot utility easement. The manufactured home court where he lives has a 15-foot utility easement from the back fence to the back of the house. Utilities for all the properties in the court are on the front of each the properties, but the easement for the back is still in effect.
Huit has to get the easement abandoned. He'll need letters from neighbors and the utility company and he says he'll have to pay a surveyor, which he priced out at close to $20,000.
"I'm not the only one who has built on the easement. In fact, I would say that 90% of the people in this court have built on the easement," he says. The city allowed those structures to remain because they say in most cases they were small and could be easily moved if necessary. Huit feels singled out.
KNDO tracked down Doug Maples from Yakima's Code Administration for a response. He says that Howard Huit has two option left. He can cut back the addition so that it no longer sits on the utility easement, or he can get the easement abandoned. Once that is accomplished, he can apply for a building permit from the city.
"If you don't do it right, we will try to help you be successful, but at the same time there's consequences and probably additional expenses," Maples says.
Maples also says that anyone looking to build on their property needs to take the time to call Code Administration to make sure what they are doing is legal and safe and that they don't need to have a building permit.
He says there are no immediate plans to tear down Howard Huit's addition. The matter will likely be decided in court. Huit has hired an attorney.