Stories and Half-Stories
We're getting ready to submit plans in Contra Costa County, California. It's a highly developed county, with no shortage of regulations and regulators. But we're having trouble getting clear answers to what seem like simple questions, such as "how many stories is this house?"
Zoning restricts us to 35' or 2.5 stories. Local code defines:
“Half story” means that portion of a building under a gable, hip or gambrel roof, the top wall plates of which on at least two opposite exterior walls are not more than three feet above the floor of such building portion.
The top story we have planned is a gable roof with 3' walls, but with a "cross gable" perpendicular to the main gable. Something essentially like this (unrelated) picture: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/428053139552281282/, with the cross gable extending through to both sides. The preliminary response we got at the counter, based on the interpretation of 2 out of 3 people called in to consult at the counter, was "clearly 3 stories".
The reasoning was that since there are no two opposing walls that are less than 3' in their entirety, this is a full story. It may just be that I want a different answer, but since the 'entirety' part isn't specified in the code, it seems like an odd interpretation. The 3rd person at the counter seemed to agree, but unfortunately she was the trainee.
This wasn't an objection we anticipated. Fighting for a variance is not an option we want to follow. We're wondering whether we should push forward with the current plan, and hope to find an amenable plan checker, or whether we should redesign (and redo structural, etc). Or go forward with what we have and change it only if required. What would those with more expertise interpreting code language advise?
Posted Fri, 12/13/2013 - 16:37
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