Horizon Structures Series Presents: Permits and Zoning – Help or Hindrance?

Many towns require some form of building permit for the construction of a new building on a property. There are some exceptions for agricultural structures in certain towns, but for the most part if you are contemplating building a new horse barn you are going to need to apply for a building permit and garner approval for your planned construction.

It is easy to cast a negative perspective on the restrictions and ordinances that the local town places on new builds. Are these requirements a help or a hindrance?

Whatever you are building or having built for you, there should be plans that detail the scale and size, design and materials, siting location and how the structure will be set on the site i.e., foundation specifications. The planned build will have to meet snow and wind load requirements for the region, meet all safety codes for any electrical aspect that is included (these may require installation by a licensed electrician), and drainage considerations.

Setbacks from property lines, variances that may be required to these setback margins to afford placement of a structure on a limited sized plot, and distances to other structures are all part of the planning permission process.

Once the permit to build is issued, it is generally required to be posted in a highly visible area at the entrance to the property while the building process is completed.

At several stages during the construction, the building inspector may require notification of completion so a visit to validate compliance with the plans can be ascertained. These visits (or a cell phone photo sent to the inspector may suffice) will likely be once the site preparation is completed and pillars or any subsurface support factors are installed (before backfilling holes with materials), after the framing is completed or building set up on site, and after any water or electrical aspects are added. Once finished the property owner will be issued with a Certificate of Occupancy. This document is important as without it the compliance of the build cannot be verified and if the property is later marketed for sale, the property will not be able to be sold without it. The property owner may also be subject to fines for the infractions, and sometimes removal of the unauthorized structure may be required.

An experienced and trustworthy construction company building the barn, should have drafted plans that define all the required aspects for your inspection and approval before starting the build. There may be charges for the plans and expect an additional charge to have such plans certified by an engineer and copies of the plans made for the permitting process. Overall, the permit procedure is simple to execute. Should plan modifications be needed to meet a particular town permitting requirement these may be completed by a 3rd party for an additional charge from the construction company.

While this may sound complicated and an unwanted hassle, permits are a sincere protection for the property owner. Not only do they protect all property owners from their neighbors siting structures too close to their own property boundaries that can impinge on their ‘quiet enjoyment’ of their own space, they also protect the barn purchaser from nefarious actions from unlicensed, uninsured and/or unprofessional construction companies or builders.

Additionally, the plans detail critical safety factors in the actual construction of the structure and the building inspector offers a professional grade oversight of the details of the build.

Such factors include ensuring that the barn is properly rated and constructed for the expected regional snowfall and wind tolerances, which will ensure roof collapses and structural failures do not occur. Hurricane ties or special tie-downs of rafters and framing support members will be inspected and reviewed. The depth and configuration of the pillars or footers is assessed to ensure the structure is properly secured and supported, and the soundness of the structure and the methods of construction are inspected to ensure they meet industry standards and current building codes.

If you choose a construction company that balks at providing plans or giving help with the permit process in general, then stay clear of employing their services. A company with integrity that stands behind its barn builds will always comply with the minimum building requirements and may often exceed them.

Delays in the building project may be caused by busy or overworked zoning and building departments, and permits can be costly in certain regions, but these regulations are there to protect everyone from poor workmanship and dangerous building practices and shortcuts. See the building inspector as friend not foe.

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 About Horizon Structures:  One horse or twenty, there’s one thing all horse owners have in common…the need to provide safe and secure shelter for their equine partners.  At Horizon Structures, we combine expert craftsmanship, top-of-the-line materials and smart “horse-friendly” design to create a full line of sheds and barns that any horse owner can feel confident is the right choice for their horses’ stabling needs.

All wood. Amish Made. Most of our buildings are shipped 100% pre-built and ready for same-day use. Larger barns are a modular construction and can be ready for your horses in less than a week. All our barn packages include everything you need –

Horizon Structures also sells chicken coops, equine hay feeders, greenhouses, dog kennels, 1 and 2 car garages, storage sheds and outdoor living structures and playsets.

Headquartered in South-Central Pennsylvania, Horizon Structures, LLC is owned by Dave Zook.  Dave was raised in the Amish tradition and grew up working in the family-owned shed business.  He started Horizon Structures in 2001 in response to an ever-increasing customer demand for high quality, affordable horse barns.

For additional information about the company or their product line, please visit their website at https://www.horizonstructures.com

Horizon Structures LLC, Atglen, PA
Media Contact: NAS@NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com
Tel: 607 434 4470

Photos are available on request.

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