During a Board of Adjustments meeting held after the City of Newberry regular Commission meeting on Oct. 12th planners and commission members agreed that incorrect shed placement continues to be a problem.
In Newberry, a 10-foot setback is required from the edge of a property when a shed is installed.
A resident brought a variance request to the commission because of a shed not placed within the city code specifications.
The discussion sparked a conversation about shed companies not being held accountable for advising customers on where sheds are allowed to be placed according to local codes.
Mayor Jordan Marlowe said it’s a common scenario to hear someone argue about having to move a shed. “It’s two feet and you want me to unpack my shed?” he said about what he has heard from unhappy residents dealing with a shed placed in the wrong place. “If the shed companies would get it right,” it would save the commission and planning and zoning committee time and resources, he said. “Just having the shed company tell me I could do it, is not a hardship,” Marlowe said about people applying for variances.
Newberry Planning Director Bryan Thomas said shed companies are not regulated by the DBPR (Department of Business and Professional Regulation) as other building related professions are such as construction, engineers, mobile homes and real estate.
“So making shed dealers comply,” is difficult. “Even if we pass an ordinance that shed builders are supposed to get permits, we can’t enforce it if they don’t live in Newberry.”
According to shed companies in Alachua County, it’s up to the customer to do their homework and obtain the required permit and figure out exactly where a shed can be placed to be in compliance with local codes.
Two dealers in the county reported that they tell customers to check with their county or city to find out if a permit is required but, once a shed is purchased, they will place it where the customer tells them to.
One shed company said that it gets hired “a lot” to move sheds that are out of compliance.
Newberry Principal Planner Wendy Kinser suggested that more people need to be educated about where sheds can be placed.
Kinser suggested that an information sheet be distributed to shed dealers as a start, so that the dealers and customers know what municipalities will require.
Newberry City Manager Mike New said no one wants to have to move a filled shed and he agreed that there should be a way to, “Make shed contractors more accountable.”
The commission discussed possibly giving city staff the ability to handle or sign off on variance requests if a shed is located in areas that don’t infringe on another property such as being adjacent to a drainage area. This would prevent the Planning and Zoning Board from getting involved and for the Commission to convene for extra adjustment board hearings.
Marlowe relayed that the Planning and Zoning Board has reported to him that it is inundated with variance requests. “P and Z says all they do is deal with setbacks and variances,” he said.