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City Eases Requirements for Small Home Improvements

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LAWTON, Okla_Homeowners looking to make some changes to their property will have one less hurdle to tackle thanks to a vote from the Lawton City Council.

They voted unanimously Tuesday night to no longer require permits for fence repairs, or placing non-permanent structures, like storage sheds that are smaller than 200 square feet, in back yards.

Don Patterson, owner of Patterson Enterprises, a local construction company, is happy to see these codes put to bed. He said the old rules just didn't make sense.

He, like many others, ignored the permit requirements for so long and is now relieved that the city has caught up with their logic.

Don Patterson builds everything from fences to houses. He deals daily in getting permits on big jobs, but...

"I haven't for replacing fences and things like that because I just didn't see I needed to, " Patterson said.

City officials said the permit requirements were put in to place for safety reasons, but said most didn't even know they needed a permit. And of those who did, few thought it was necessary.

"You didn't change anything. Except something that's newer and better quality, " Patterson explained.

In addition to his construction company, Patterson himself has a storage shed in his backyard. He said he knew the city required him to get a permit, but simply thought it was a waste.

"I didn't think about it. It's a temporary building. It just sits there. It's moveable. You know if the wind blows it may go somewhere, but it's okay, it's been there for 2 years now, " Patterson said.

Along with the permit changes, the vote also okayed the construction of a front porch as long as it extends no more than 10 feet into the front yard, is open on three sides and is of the same design and aesthetic as the rest of the house.

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