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Build first, ask permission later?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis April 16, 2014 09:33 AM

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It's best not to get on the bad side of your local building inspector, as one Newton homeowner is finding out.

Albert Pinkhasov plunged ahead and built a $240,000 retaining wall in the backyard of his house in Newton's Oak Hill section section, claiming he didn't realize he needed a permit, the Globe West reports.

Or course, only in Newton, where the median home price is $841,900, would anyone spend $240,000 on a retaining wall. (Numbers from The Warren Group.)

That's enough to buy you a whole house in Attleboro - median price just over $230,000 - but that's a subject for another day.

Back to the unfortunate Pinkhasov, who bought an older house on Lovett Road in 2012 in Newton, tore it down, and built something more to his liking.

He put in a three-tiered retaining wall against a hillside in his backyard to both to spiff things up and prevent flooding in his basement, the Globe West reports.

But the city's building department caught wind of the project and now is demanding that Pinkhasov tear down the wall and revamp the design.

The Newton homeowner has pegged the cost at $100,000, but so far, Pinkhasov's pleas for clemency appear to be falling on deaf ears.

City officials say they are upset about what they see as a long-standing problem of homeowners building first and asking permission/forgiveness later, the story notes.

The moral of this story isn't hard to puzzle out, really: Don't mess with the building inspector.

When you are planning to renovate or add onto your home or yard, be a little paranoid about making sure you have all your permits lined up.

Otherwise what just went up may have to come down again!

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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