Is This Balcony Garden Illegal?

by Fern on May 26, 2011

in General

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After three years in law school and a lifetime of contrarian thinking, Mike Lieberman’s post about a building inspector suggesting his balcony garden violated LA City fire code (or possibly building codes) raised the hair on the back of my neck. Something similar happened to me when the woman who manages my condo’s home owners’ association (HOA) tried to suggest that my balcony garden was in violation of our community rules. Yeah right. Nice try lady. I’ve actually read our rules, and nothing on my balcony is in violation of them. Actually, my balcony railing planter is a violation, but I figure I can keep it so long as the president of the HOA is violating the same rule. But I digress.

I researched LA City Fire and Building Codes to see if it is possible that Mike’s balcony garden (and the thousands of other balcony gardens in LA) did in fact violate some sort of code. According to Section 57.12.03, “No person shall cause to be placed, stored, or maintained upon any roof or balcony… any material or object which may interfere with egress or Fire Department operations in case of fire or other emergency.” Considering that the local fire department stopped by and they said it was fine, I think Mike can rest assured that his plants are not violating city fire codes.

Whew. Balcony garden crisis averted.

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