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Dear PoP – garage building help

by Prince Of Petworth June 11, 2010 at 3:30 pm 47 Comments


Photo by PoPville flickr user ewilfong

“Dear PoP,

I recently purchased a row house in the city. One of the contributing deciders in buying this house was the ability to build a garage. Many of our neighbors have them, or some sort of car port/concrete pad in their back yard. However, I’ve been doing the research to obtain a building permit and hire subcontractors to build. What I’ve learned is distressing : multiple zoning requirements (some of them conflicting) make the maximum size of the garage that I’m allowed to build about the size of a doghouse.

OK- so maybe some of my neighbors didn’t have permits, or their garages were built prior to some of the more constrictive zoning laws and while I thought I did my homework correctly prior to the purchase, I was reading info for the wrong zone.

How have others in the area addressed this? Do they build without permit (if so, how risky is it? Are we talking a fine, or a tear-down?) Do they obtain a permit for a tool shed then build the garage they want? Do they submit a plan for a full size garage and cross their fingers that nobody will whip out a calculator at the permit office and say “nope, plan will make your lot coverage 62%…your max is 60%.” While their zoning laws are really hard ass, do the people reviewing the plans even care?”

Anyone have a similar problem? Anyway around it?

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