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Residents in a rural Washington State community are protesting the construction of a 276-foot long steel garage built for the storage of recreational vehicles.
The Daily Herald, Everett, reported that during a Snohomish County Council meeting neighbors demanded that Rick Rice tear down the 10,000-square-foot structure that houses a 20-bay garage.
Each of the 20 recreational vehicle bays is for sale for $35,000 under state condominium laws that allow individual units in a structure to be sold separately, as with apartments, airplane hangars at Paine Field or marina dock slips.
“This building needs to come down,” said Ken Edwards, a general contractor who builds million-dollar houses.
When word of the building spread, county officials proposed emergency rules to close a loophole that allowed stand-alone garages to be built without size or design limits.
Those interim rules, adopted in February, are good until August, and are expected to be revised and finalized.
Defending the right to build large garages was Keith Hoyer for DB Johnson construction, a firm that has built two such garages and applied for permits for three more before emergency rules closed the door.
“We don’t see it as a commercial structure,” Hoyer said. “It’s a clean-looking structure by a reputable builder.”
Neighbor Edward Smith called it a “horrifying structure that is a cancer spot on the face of the earth.”
“I can’t believe the county allowed something like this in a residential neighborhood,” Smith said. “It really needs to come down and go away.”
Interim county rules bring greater scrutiny on buildings larger than 1,800 square feet. Any future large-scale garages could be required to have trees to mask them and architectural designs to fit in with a neighborhood.
Councilman Dave Somers apologized on behalf of the county for allowing the structure to be built, and said the result was an “unfortunate abuse of the code.”
“I consider it a monstrosity,” Somers said. “I wouldn’t want it in my neighborhood. It is a commercial structure.”
The permit was legally issued and the structure was allowed under county rules, said Linda Kuller, chief planning officer. It’s unclear how the neighbors might force the issue.