Okay. So my guesses and opinions are . . .
If we take away some regulatory laws, doesn't that mean municipal inspectors have less laws to enforce wrongly, thereby making it easier on you?
I don't see why it would. I mean, the laws for grab bars are unambiguous. Doesn't mean we weren't required to put in five, rather than one. Why? Because fuck you, that's why. What you're not understanding is the laws, as written, often say "to the maximum extent practicable." That's a judgement call. The local guy gets to make that judgement. And fuck you.
Are there case laws that affect how regulations are interpreted, thereby making these people follow a stricter, more literal interpretation of these laws?
Why yes. Yes there are. In fact, I had a boss who used to work with one of the guys who drafted the Americans with Disabilities Act. This guy was very proud of how spare and sparse the ADA was when it was initially adopted because that meant that the particulars could be established by caselaw. Basically, the mechanism for determining what was or wasn't law was "lawsuits against business owners." Fuckin' libertarian paradise right there. To the lawyered go the spoils.
Here's a great example. There used to be a strip club in Bellevue, WA. And while you can pass ordinances that prohibit strip clubs from opening up, you can't regulate an existing strip club out of business. Which galled the shit out of the Bellevue City Council. However, one of the things offered at this strip club was a "shower dance." Yeah. Up on stage there was running water.
So the City of Bellevue charged the strip club with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act because, you know, it was a shower and it wasn't ADA compliant. Because, you know, you can't prevent paraplegic strippers from working at your strip club under law and just in case one decides to work there, you need a ramp and grab bars. Oh, what's that? You can't put up a ramp or grab bars? Well, then you're in violation to the tune of thousands of dollars a day until you remedy your noncompliance. No, you can't take the shower out because that's just an attempt to skirt the law another way! BAM. Out of business. Truth Justice and the litigious way. No more strip clubs in Bellevue.
If appeals don't work because the inspectors are corrupt, incompetent, whatever, what course of action do you take? Do the courts even hear situations like this?
What appeal are we talking about here? The inspector is the alpha and the omega. He judges compliance, he judges "maximum extent practicable." I mean, we threatened to sue. Sue for what? Doing his job? Fortunately for us he's so incompetent he doesn't know we can't. but not so incompetent that he knows he can drag his feet by claiming his computer is broken.
Lastly, I'm getting the feeling from you and cgod that half the time these people say one thing one day, and another the next.
We literally had a "yeah, I reconsidered about that permit I issued last week and you don't get your work permit on the HVAC and electrical. Go get them signed off by a medical HVAC engineering firm."
How normal is that and why does it happen in the first place.
I've only done this once. From what I understand, there are four municipalities with building inspectors who think our building inspector is off the rez. One of our contractors told us that ten years ago, in our municipality, he put a third story on a home without so much as a permit.
It happens because oh holy fuck if something goes wrong THE WORLD MIGHT KNOW YOU'RE AT FAULT. And despite the fact that we've got about a page and a half more regs than, say, a real estate office, the inspector has convinced himself we're a Tier 1 trauma facility. And also because fuck you, that's why. Buddy of mine with a restaurant in Santa Monica was required by the City of Santa Monica to pay an architect $2000 to create architectural drawings of the tree outside his building. Which belongs to the city. Which he has no responsibility for. Because fuck you, that's why. And also because that architect is probably somebody's friend. cgod has his Garbage Palace. I've got fuckin' 1.5" hot water feed lines. And a $10,000 fire alarm system. And medical grade conduit. And and and.
If you ask me, rules are rules. There shouldn't be so much uncertainty.
There is no uncertainty. They have 100% authority, they give two shits what you think, you'll do it their way and fuck you.