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I have found that if you do the work on the weekends when the city building
department is closed, or at night, and do it quickly enough where noone
notices, you can get a lot built without a permit. It also depends on how
nosey your neighbors are, and if they like the finished product. If you
build an ugly wall or something they don't like they are more likely to
place that anonymous call. Since I have an old ugly house, everything I do
to it my neighbors compliment me on (if they only knew).  I know an SE who
has practically doubled the size of his house, replaced his septic system,
etc., without a permit. It is all probably done twice as well as most of the
junk permitted in residential. I figure that if I do something that a
building department doesn't like (because I did not get their permission), a
signed and sealed letter is like my get-out-of-jail free card. It may seem a
little big headed of me, but how many decks have calcs done and then built
by that same SE? Those rules are for mere mortals, (evil laugh) who ha ha ha
ha ha!

 But things may be different in the land of politicians :)

Andrew D. Kester

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