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RPA Building Waivers--Anyone ever done it?
Posted by: Jeff87956 ()
Date: December 06, 2018 01:27PM

Live on a large lot that would be perfect for building a free-standing garage, which would be well with the requirements, except my entire property is on a RPA (resource protection area).

There is a waiver process listed on the county website that requires a public hearing and about $1000 after you furnish the required tests, paperwork, hoop-jumping.

I don't want to blow a grand and waste my time going to town hall if they're guaranteed to say no.

Has anyone successfully gotten the RPA waiver to build a free-standing garage or structure on their property ?

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Re: RPA Building Waivers--Anyone ever done it?
Posted by: Free Dom ()
Date: December 06, 2018 01:46PM

Ignore the bureaucrats and just build it!

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Re: RPA Building Waivers--Anyone ever done it?
Posted by: Engineer Needed ()
Date: December 06, 2018 08:18PM

You can develop the lot and build what you want within reason. Just need to jump through the hoops like you said.

Sometimes the County maps are incorrect as to where the RPA is and maybe you don't have as much RPA as you think.

It might be worth it to consult with a civil engineer and find out how much it would cost to have him or her come up with a plan to submit in order to get on with building! Good luck.

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Re: RPA Building Waivers--Anyone ever done it?
Posted by: 7mxyh ()
Date: December 08, 2018 08:06AM

There are very specific guidelines to follow when the entire lot is within the RPA. Keep it less than 10,000 sf of disturbed area exclusive of the driveway and septic and you will only have to follow the standard RPA Waiver/WQIA process then submit a grading plan.

If you exceed that 10,000 sf disturbed area figure or encroach into the 50' seaward of the RPA, then you will need to go in front of the RPA Exception Committee. Try to avoid that, it's a pain in the ass and takes a lot longer.

Other option is to hire someone to re-delineate the RPA, maybe it isn't as bad as the County has it mapped. Call TNT Environmental and talk to them about it. I don't work for them, but my office does a few projects a year with their help. Avoid Wetland Studies, they suck. Also, avoid the larger civil firms, go with a small to mid-sized engineering firm. They won't try to make ALL their profit for the year on your project and you will actually be able to get someone on the phone. Go to the 1st floor of the Herrity Building and talk to the Engineer of the Day. If you aren't a total douche, they will usually give you a recommendation for a firm to go with (even though they aren't supposed to). Ask them who they work with often if they won't give you a name or two outright.

Having been in the industry for over 20 years, my advice is to do it right. The county will catch you because your neighbors are going to report any violation they see. Pay the money. If you are balking at paying the fees to do it the right way, maybe you should reconsider doing it at all.

Your problem is that a detached garage is an accessory structure and the rules are a little different. Too complicated to explain here.

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Re: RPA Building Waivers--Anyone ever done it?
Posted by: Jeff87956 ()
Date: December 08, 2018 07:49PM

Thanks for the sage advice! My plan is to go completely by the book for the reasons you all listed.

My lot would probably require me to build within the 50 feet of the creek itself due to the trees and location of the house.

Glad to hear it is actually possible to do.

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