Message - Re: Divide and Conquer: Architecture and the Law

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Posted by  Jim on August 06, 2003 at 07:16:43:

In Reply to:  Re: Divide and Conquer: Architecture and the Law posted by Jim on August 06, 2003 at 06:50:04:

By the way, and just For Your Information, the capitol city of any county in America is called the COUNTY SEAT (seat of county government, which will have its own community name, of course) and is often designated as such on maps of a county. There is a web site: which may help you locate the county seat in an area of interest. The closest that the USA comes to a national gazeteer that would possibly show a county seat by its postal code (Zip code) is the National Zip Code Directory seen at most libraries and all post offices. The local phone books (directories) also often have "Government" pages which list by level of government (USA, state, county, municipal) the offices in that area. If a local municipality is incorporated, it will usually be called either a village (if small enough) or a city, and in most jurisdictions, these have the right to establish local building codes, though many of them merely 'adopt' by statute the National Building Code from the National Fire Protection Association. It is purely advisory, and carries no legal weight unless mandated by local ordinance/statute. If the area of interest is not incorporated by the state, it will be a county divided into townships and building codes in that area are usually administered by the county government. A few parts of the USA have no building codes at all (mostly in the rural South) and your guess as to what goes in such areas! Hope this is of some help.

P.S. The matter of what can protrude over a sidewalk is part of the SETBACK ordinance, if there is one. Most cities, for example, forbid signs and canopies (e.g. theatre marquees) from protruding beyond the curb line. But streets get widened, and so canopies are often "grandfathered" (allowed to acceed to an older law once a new one is published) and thereafter found BEYOND the new curb lines, resulting in many insurance claim photos of smashed marquees/canopies by trucks following the new curb lines! So be careful; a building may be grandfathered, but do you want to follow the old law? If you become involved in some American project involving this, you might do best to consult a real estate attorney to learn the local history and laws.

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