Just Because "They" Say It,
Doesn't Always make It So
|Most of you probably are not aware that I am now a
farmer. That's right. I am going to be on the ground floor of solving
the world's energy needs. I am going to be growing
Switchgrass or as we in the farm industry call it, grassoline. I
have signed a contract with The University Of Tennessee to produce
switchgrass for their experimental biofuel plant in Vonore. That
said, here's the rub.
Last year, I built a small shed on the farm to store some of the equipment and supplies needed for the production of switchgrass. It's a small building measuring 16'x16' but just about right for my needs. Last week I received a call from the Loudon County Building Commissioner, Bill Cox, advising me that I needed to come to his office to get a building permit for my storage building. I explained to the building commissioner that this was an agriculture structure on agriculture land and therefore did not need a building permit. Mr. Cox informed me that even though it was was an agriculture structure on agriculture land, I still needed to get a permit. I politely told Mr. Cox I would get with him.
I was sure I remembered in the zoning regulations there was a permit exemption for agriculture structure on agriculture land. A quick look through the regulations proved my memory.
I forwarded a copy of the regulation to the building commissioner hoping to clear up the matter. A week later, I had not heard back from Mr. Cox so I sent a follow up email to get an update.
I received a reply from Mr. Cox that stated:
Apparently, Mr. Cox had ask for and received a legal opinion from an attorney pertaining to the issuing of permits for ag use and the lawyer confirmed the law. No permit required. Obviously past practice has been to require a permit for agriculture structures which was contrary to state and local laws. Hopefully this practice will now end.
Moral of the story? Don't be afraid to ask questions. Just because a government official tells you something, that doesn't always make it so.