Reading between the codes


    I am writing to correct an item in your coverage of the code enforcement meeting of Feb. 10 [Feb. 17 issue, “Are we a city of snitches …?”]. Your reporter stated, “Reading from the state building code, he [building Official Vic Peterson] also said certain structures, including some fences, tool and storage sheds, playhouses and greenhouses, do not require a building permit.”

    Mr. Peterson was most likely reading from the Los Angeles County Planning and Zoning Code, Chapter 26, Section 106.3, which exactly states that some fences, sheds, playhouses and greenhouses are exempt from L.A. County permits. But it is important to remember that the city of Malibu is not under the jurisdiction of the L.A. County Zoning Code and is free to choose which buildings will require a permit.

    Mr. Peterson could not have been reading from the state building code because it states nowhere which structures require a building permit. If a city chooses to require a permit for a guesthouse or a doghouse, it is a zoning issue and the state leaves zoning issues to local jurisdiction. This is why the city has the full authority to waive the retroactive building permit requirement for older ancillary structures like guesthouses, corrals and barns. The Fair Zoning Grandfathering Amendment would put this into law and the Citizens for Fair Zoning asked the City Council to form a Task Force to consider the adoption of this measure.

    The state does require that repairs, remodels and new construction be performed According to the Uniform Building Code (UBC). The UBC is a building code and provides specific standards for nuts and bolts construction. It is not a zoning code and does not specify the structures for which the city of Malibu will require a permit. That is a zoning issue and one that the citizens of Malibu, working together with city officials, will decide.

    Anne Hoffman

    Editor’s note: The code section referred to by Vicky Newman was the 1998 California Building Code, Section 106.3.