Southwest Columbus Haunted House Owner Spooked By Work Stoppage Order
A southwest Columbus man says he built a haunted house in his backyard so that kids could enjoy a free scare during Halloween. But he got a scare of his own when a zoning inspector arrived at his spooky house and slapped him with a work stoppage order.
The county's zoning department told the owner of the haunted house to stop building after he failed to get a permit.
The owner and others are learning that hard way that if you plan to scare people this Halloween, you'll need more than permits to make your haunted house legal.
Mickey Beckett says he's always dreamed of running his own haunted house. His is called "the Slaughter Yard" on Little Avenue. Admission is free. He says he built it to give kids something to do and keep them out of trouble.
It turns out Mickey is in trouble with the county zoning board for building his wooden maze without a permit - something he says he didn't realize he needed.
“No one has actually came out and said ‘you have to shut down,’ they just said I have to stop working on it," Beckett explains
Anyone who builds something on the ground must first get a certified zoning compliance permit.
Beau Bayliss did before he built his "Walking Dead Mansion" outside his South Columbus home on Jenkins Avenue. His haunted house is legal after passing a fire inspection. “I would say we have almost 16 fire extinguishers, 9 fire alarms,” he says.
Haunted houses must have multiple fire exits, and fire extinguishers every 75 feet. All the plastic and fabric must be fire-retardant so it doesn't catch fire.
As for Mickey Becket - who says he and his son spent nearly $6,000 on their haunted house - he wishes he would have known the rules before he began construction.
He says he's still thinking about opening Friday night. “I plan on running the show even if it's for a little while, until they come out and shut me down.”
Getting the proper permits to run a haunted house can cost a homeowner between $600 and $800.