Family in Geist faces $75,000 decision over patio that city wants them to tear down

INDIANAPOLIS -- A family’s patio in Geist is now considered a violation of city code and one that was installed without a proper permit, but the homeowner claims he wasn’t notified until after he spent thousands of dollars on the project.

Ray and Kim Peck said they saved up to build the patio, so they could have a place for friends and family to gather along the water.

“This is our American dream, we worked hard to get this,” said Ray.

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The couple says they had a patio but decided last year that they wanted to replace it. Ray says they didn’t apply for a permit because they were planning to build on the same spot and didn’t think it would be a problem.

Shortly after he began construction, Ray says city inspectors showed up after an anonymous complaint, but after talking to the inspector he thought everything was good.

“We thought at this point, a city inspector has come down. If they’re saying it’s okay, we’re okay,” said Ray.

TIMELAPSE | Watch Geist Reservoir develop from 1984-2016

More than a month after the couple finished their patio, a city employee showed up at their door with a “stop work order,” but Ray says the reasons they’ve been given have varied based on the city inspector they’re speaking to.

Initially, they wanted him to show them how well I was built and that the structure was up to code.

“We did all of those things,” said Ray.

The patio runs from property line to property line, but a city ordinance says any above-ground structure in Geist must be 22 feet from the property line – counting the room on both sides.

“According to that interpretation, we can’t have anything down here other than maybe a three-foot-wide walkway,” said Ray. “That’s wrong.”

In order to come into compliance, the city says the Pecks need to modify their current patio to meet that requirement or restore their yard to its “original condition.”

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“We bought it because it had a lakefront and a patio. Even before we moved in, we were down here having a drink sitting on the first patio we had here. They’re telling us we can’t have that,” said Ray.

Ray says 15 months after finishing his patio he’s still receiving fines from the city.

The city’s Department of Business and Neighborhood Services declined an on-camera interview, but a spokesperson says the Peck’s patio is a “straight-forward open and close case.”

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