June 1, 2014

Land Use: Building And Maintenance Codes, Permitting And Licensing

In Midway, Georgia, police shut down a lemonade stand that was built and run by neighborhood girls for lack of appropriate permitting. On another occasion, the City of Atlanta shut down the Atlanta Food Truck Park and Market, because the vendors were violating their mobile vending permit location requirements. A permitting and licensing lawyer will be able to counsel you on legal requirements for your building project.

Georgia state-wide mandatory building codes

Georgia state-wide mandatory building codes include:

  • Electrical codes
  • Gas codes
  • Mechanical codes
  • Plumbing codes
  • Energy codes
  • Fire codes

Every structure must be in compliance with these codes, regardless of whether the locality chooses to enforce them. Each locality may choose to enforce these codes, even if they were not formally adopted.

Building permits

In Georgia, a building permit is required for the erection of a new building or for making significant modifications on an existing building, with local governments determining the precise permitting requirements for each job. Generally, major mechanical, electrical or plumbing work calls for permits, while work of a cosmetic nature (e.g. tiling, carpeting, painting or cabinet installation) do not call for permits. If you have a question about the land use permits necessary for your building project, consult a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.

Commercial maintenance and industrial codes

The Atlanta Housing Code, the Graffiti Ordinance and the Commercial Maintenance and Industrial Code provide standards for commercial and residential properties to preserve the health and safety of occupants or the general public. Violations of these provisions may include:

  • Roof damage, decay or leakage
  • Holes in floors, pest infestation or unhygienic conditions
  • Broken windows and peeling paint
  • Apartments without heat or water

Code enforcement

The Bureau of Code Compliance is charged with responding to citizen complaints about violations. When complaints are lodged, inspectors are sent to the respective sites. If they find violations, they will notify the owner. If the property is not inhabited, a criminal citation is issued and a notice is mailed to the registered owner, who is given a number of days to comply. If, upon re-inspection, the violations have not been cured, a City of Atlanta Municipal Court hearing is scheduled. The court can impose fines of up to $1,000 dollars per violation and up to 180 days of jail time or community service, and can alternatively order the property vacated, demolished or cleaned and closed for violations that were not repaired.

The knowledgeable attorneys at Hartman Simons and Wood LLP advise clients on permitting and compliance issues that result from the promulgation and enforcement of statutes, ordinances, codes and rule making at all levels of government.

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