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Started by eafrica, 08/22/2006 06:47AM
Posted 08/22/2006 06:47AM Opening Post
Hello all,

I'm a newcomer to this part of town... I wasn't really in a frame of mindset that I would be building an observatory soon.

But last night, with a crystal clear night where I couldn't do any imaging because I needed to get up early this morning sad , my wife goes "If the biggest obstacle is having to set up and tear down every time, would it make sense to build a backyard observatory?" smile grin smile grin grin smile grin smile

The biggest obstacle right now is that we live in a neighborhood with a homeowners' association (HOA) :C . Fortunately, the HOA rules were recently amended to allow external buildings IF 1) the building matches our home, and 2) if it is attached (or I hope looks attached) to the main structure.

I've already sent an inquiry to Astroshed about possibilities, but I thought I'd also drop in here and say "hey" and gather ideas. I'm all ears to anyone living in a neighborhood like I ours *and* has managed to build an observatory.

There's a part of me that wonders if it's even worth it with our light pollution, then again narrow-band filters help a lot. And that's another story....

Posted 08/22/2006 09:42AM | Edited 08/22/2006 11:26AM #1
Enrico, even though my observatory has not been re-built yet, I had to deal not only with my HOA, but also with my City... (2 permits in order to be able to build mine...)

In my case, the "building" does NOT have to be attached to my House, but I have to make sure to be within the limits that the City requires... (meaning, I cannot be too close to my neighbors property or the lake area, which is considered City area)

Nothing beats the comfort of having an observatory, even if your skies are less than perfect... so go ahead and make it happen, you won't regret it. 8)

Clear skies, and good luck!

Ivan Gastaldo 8)
Coconut Creek, FL

Ivan's Observatory
Lat 26N 16' 48" Long 80W 10' 48"
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CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky - Moderator
I like to complain about everything - Moderator
Posted 08/22/2006 10:13AM #2
Dear Eric:

This should be a layup. Your biggest obstacle, the fact that your HOA allows external buildings, has been removed. In my experience Board members of HOA serve out of civic duty and are not on power trips. I imagine if you use a little common sense in your design and build your observatory with elements that match your house (like roofing material, color and trim) and comply with setback requirements you would probably be ok. Commnication is key.


Allen Como

"Sometimes it proves the highest understanding not to understand." Gracian
Posted 08/22/2006 10:39AM #3
Congratulations on having a wonderful wife! I have no experience with HOA's but as has already been said just keep it like the HOA wants it and you should be fine. Nothing beats having all your gear ready to go on a moments notice!you will find that you are doing 10 times more observing than you did before.(I hope your wife won't mind that!) grin
Posted 08/22/2006 01:48PM #4
Thanks for the encouragement, everyone! I don't know how long this will take (three possibilities: really slow, really quick, or never), and I hope you don't mind me poking around and asking the occasional (or frequent) question or two.

Posted 08/22/2006 06:04PM #5

Check out the possibility of putting the structure you want on an attached deck. In my area the rules for deck mounted structures are less stringent than grade mounted ones.


Bob Schnitzer
Grenville Base Observatory - Haymarket, VA
16" f18 Royce Conical Dall-Kirkham
10" f16 Parks/Coulter/Novak/Cave Classical Cassegrain
127mm Orion Starmax Mak-Cas
80mm f15 Meade refractor
40mm Tasco variable power tabletop refractor
Posted 08/25/2006 09:32AM #6
Thanks again for all the tips and hints, folks! I have a lot of reading to do! Nice to see that some of you have indeed been able to work with your HOA! And even construct a dome!

We don't have a deck (we'd rather avoid having the maintenance headaches), but we do have a patio and a nice, flat backyard.

What I'm currently envisioning is placing the shed right at one edge of the patio. The roof rails/supports will be placed such that the roof will actually roll over the patio instead of over the lawn; that way, there will be no rails sticking into the lawn. Maybe we can even disguise the rails a bit to make them look like a trellis/canopy?

I'm toying with contacting our HOA. Or should I hold off until I have a better idea of what I want to do (plans, sketches, etc.)?

Thanks again!