Yakima City Hall.jpg

(File photo)

YAKIMA, Wash. -- A Yakima resident is threatening legal action for what he says is an unfair enforcement of city building codes.

Mark Needham was told by city planning staff earlier this month that some storage containers at his West Chestnut Avenue business needed to be set on foundations and three others would have to be removed.

But the Yakima Mini Storage Properties LLC owner says there are dozens of similar storage containers in the area without foundations.

“In fact, I couldn’t find any that did have foundations under them,” he said in his appeal of the mandate he must put some his storage containers on foundations and also get a building permit for them.

Additionally, Needham says he has a right to use the containers on his private property, that they aren’t permanent and have been there for nearly four years with no problems. The city wasn’t notified of the code violation until after an unrelated Yakima Fire Department inspection of his business at 5010 W. Chestnut Ave., Needham said.

Any commercial storage container more than 120 square feet has to have a footing, foundation and a building permit, said city code enforcement manager Joe Caruso. That’s required in both Yakima city code and the International Building Code.

And the city has had at least two recent instances where other business owners either talked with the planning department about these requirements or implemented them at their facilities, said city assistant planner Eric Crowell.

But Needham says the number of storage containers around the city without foundations shows the code isn’t enforced, so the action against him is unfair.

Crowell said the businesses that contacted the planning department are examples of those that followed the rules. Any others the department could become aware of would be held to the same standards.

“We went through the process and approved (Needham’s) storage containers but put conditions on it,” Crowell said. “But he’s basically appealing all the requirements we gave.”

Needham will go in front of the city’s hearing examiner on June 14 for a determination on his appeal.