A half dozen structures ranging from a horse barn to a wind shelter were built at a West Bountiful equestrian center without building permits or inspections, according to a Davis County planner.
The structures were found when a county building inspector visited the center and found a stable expansion project that was denied a building permit was nearing completion.Fines and investigation fees on the projects total more than $2,000, planner Barry Burton told the Davis County Commission last week.
Universal Equestrian Center owner Don Christiansen is appealing the fines, saying he doesn't believe most of the structures require building permits. And the stable expansion project was built on the assumption the building permit had been approved, Christiansen told the commission.
The equestrian center is adjacent to West Bountiful, in the unincorporated portion of the county, so is subject to county building and zoning ordinances.
Christiansen told the commission he applied for a building permit for the stable expansion project on March 1, leaving a copy of the project's plans with the county planners and building inspector.
He never heard back, Christiansen said, so assumed the project's building permit had been approved.
Burton said the county building inspector took an emergency medical leave around that time and the planning office lost track of the project briefly, until a substitute inspector was brought in.
When that inspector visited the equestrian center, he found the addition all but complete, with no interim inspections, and then discovered several other structures at the center that were also built with no permits.
The commissioners agreed the county is partially at fault on the stable annex and agreed to waive $400 of the $800 investigation fee.
But Commissioner J. Dell Holbrook, a commercial contractor, was critical of how the addition was built. Even assuming the building permit was approved and on file with the county, the contractor should have requested the required inspections as the project progressed, Holbrook said.
As for the six other structures built at the center, Christiansen said he wasn't aware that building permits were needed. The structures include a three-sided wind shelter in a field, a metal storage building, portable stalls with a roof, and a roof over a pile of sawdust.
Burton said under the Universal Building Code, which the county enforces, all the structures require building permits. The code also mandates a penalty of half the permit fee for each building put up without a permit, which Burton said totals more than $2,000.
Although agreeing to waive half the penalty fee on the stable addition, the commissioners declined to waive any of the others, requesting the planning staff study the problem and make a recommendation.