$100 permit to take down century-old coop is nonsense

To the Editor:
My chicken house was well over 100 years old and about to fall down and was becoming an eyesore so I took it down.

The town of Berne should be grateful that l had painted it several times over my 40 years of ownership, tried to keep it looking good, and now was ready to remove it.

Instead I got a certified letter that I needed a demolition permit at a cost of $100, which could be doubled if I didn’t comply.


The building was perhaps 12-by-20 feet, 100 yards from a property line, and should have been of no concern to the town. I object and I think others should too. 

Ralph Miller


Editor’s note: Berne’s zoning law requires permits for any fundamental change (constructions, demolitions, relocations, enlargements, etc.) to most structures, with exemptions for “one-story detached structures associated with one- or two-family dwellings or multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) which are used for tool and storage sheds, playhouses or similar uses, provided the gross floor area is less than 144 square feet (13.38 square meters)” among some others. 

Fees for permits are set by the Berne Town Board, with the fee schedule published on the town’s website. The cost for a residential demolition permit is $225, or $100 for any structure up to 240 square feet. All fees are doubled if work is performed without a permit. 

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