Yurt dwellers face permitting problem

A couple of yurts tucked away in a remote corner of Okanagan Falls, were under discussion at this week's Regional District of Okanagan Siilkameen board meeting.

According to RDOS staff, the two structures on Allendale Road were assembled without building permits. On Thursday the board voted to put the notice on title and proceed to injunctive action on both.

"In a nutshell every structure requires a buiding permit as long as it's over 10 square metres," said Laura Walton, building inspection services supervisor for the RDOS. "The yurts exceed that so they need a building permit."

It was back in January of 2010 the RDOS first noticed the larger yurt, where a family currently lives, was assembled on a platform on the property without a building permit.

Then in November of 2012, it was observed a second yurt had also been constructed.

The people living in the first yurt own it,  but not the property it is on. The second yurt is owned by other tenants, but they are not living in it.

The larger structure needs both the proper permit and to be signed off by an professional engineer for health and safety reasons. The second is not being lived in so it just needs a building permit.

The engineer is needed to confirm the tent portion of the yurt is strong enough to support the snow load in the area.

Furthermore, according to Walton, when you add a residence into the structure you need to have insulation and plumbing that meets code and an adequate septic system to dispose of waste.

The couple living in the yurt  could not be reached for comment on Friday.

They have applied for the necessary permit, said Walton, but they still need to get an engineer in and decide if they want to get a septic field put in, which can cost as much as $40,000.

There are other options, however, such as taking the residence out and making the yurt a temporary structure, or building a home that is up to code.

Because steps have been taken by the tenant, Walton doesn't anticipate their being legal action.

"But the board did make the resolution Thursday, and we can do that if necessary," she said.

With files, Oliver Daily News





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