Published on August 27, 2019

Carports and measuring tapes don’t mix

By Edward A. Forbes / The Bulletin

I needed a carport and decided to venture into the convoluted world of getting one, deciding which one to buy and dealing with subcontractors, city codes, permits and one very uncooperative tape measure.

I enclosed my garage and converted it into a computer/family room. It’s been great for my children and grandchildren, but it’s been 16 years without a garage, or more importantly, a shelter for my vehicles. I have two that I would love to stretch their longevity as far as possible. My quest had begun.

I started at a local business that sells a fairly large selection assembled at their lot. Everything from plain Jane to large ones with buildings attached, and all were metallic buildings. I quickly found that there were many considerations that hadn’t occurred to me - how tall, how long, how wide and what pitch did I want roof to be? Did I want gabled ends and side half-panels? What color, what color roof, and what color trim did I want?

I also discovered that permits were in my domain, and another company would be the subcontractor to my contractor status.

My status as a builder of anything is well known by how epic the failure was. Fortunately, I had only to tell them what I wanted, and they would modify their standard structure to fit. I went to the Building Service Department in Angleton, where permits are issued. I was lucky they treated me with helpfulness and kindness.

The building inspector and code enforcement officer even came to my home to show me the city easement. We measured 25 feet from water meter, and this only left enough room to cover half the length of my cars. He told me I would need to get a variance for 10 feet into the easement. He also gave me advice on how to fill out the necessary forms.

I called my grandson, and we drew different colored chalk lines on the driveway showing easement for the 10 feet of easement I needed and where carport would start, so 17.5 feet would be the length I would need. We took photographs of the labeled chalk lines, carports already in neighborhood, and a view down the street, demonstrating that it would not block any lines of sight. Now I needed to measure the height of roof in center of driveway and at the eastern side of drive. I would do this on my own.

It started to rain, and I was in the driveway with my Stanley Powerlock 25 foot measuring tape trying to extend it to the roof of my house. If you’ve never done this, I highly recommend it as a form of exercise involving stretching, contortions, verbal expletives and throwing for distance.

The tape measure would extend to less than 4 feet, and then it bent or twisted and dropped by my feet. It only took 45 minutes to measure the roof height from center of drive and the edge of house: 12 feet and 8 feet respectively. I then took a two-hour nap. I felt I had earned it.

I scanned the completed forms for the variance, the photographs of the driveway with labeled chalk lines, photographs of all existing carports in neighborhood and all the construction specifications of the carport. I emailed this to Building Permits Department.

They then forwarded the email to the Board of Adjustments, which handles variances and adjustments to city code. I received a call from Scott Albert, city manager, that the Board of Adjustments would have a hearing on my request for a variance.

What did they decide? I’ll continue it next week.

(Send comments by email to editor John Toth at john.bulletin@gmail.com. Or send regular mail to The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX 77516)