Sign in to follow this  
trfindley

Garage size and zoning

Recommended Posts

My goal when I get rich is to move out in the country to a house on a 1+ acre lot and have a 40 x 60 metal barn built to keep the cars in. I have looked at the building codes for Polk County, GA.

I have found some trouble with this plan:

"The area of the accessory building's footprint may not exceed 50% [of] that of the
principal structure".

 

I expect to live in a house no bigger than 2000 sq. ft.

Houses that are zoned A(gricultural) don't have this limit.

 

Has anyone on this forum ever run into this problem?

 

Is there any solution besides buying a house zoned as Agricultural, with a lot of labd that I won't use?

 

 

 

 

Edited by trfindley (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just buy a bigger property.  You will need the room by the time you get everything built if you want it to look nice.  You don't want a tin shed twice the size of the house right on top of it.  For fire as well,  it's good to have the house a little away from the garage.  Mine is 300 feet through the woods.  You may also want room to park a truck and trailer.  Property and buildings seem to be you never have enough space.  

Not sure of your zoning,  but you may also be able to get a variance,  which involves board meetings and brown nosing to make the officials feel important. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a link to my unfinished build with costs and why I used the materials I did as well as the whole process including zoning and dealing with the planning boards.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depending on what state you live in, it’s not necessarily a problem. First off, you need to know if you are a “right to farm” state. Seconed, you NEVER,NEVER,NEVER go to the town hall or building inspector or Planning board  and ask questions, NEVER! I spent twenty five years as an elected official in Massachusetts, and most of the left wing whaco states are similar......you need to know how to play the game. You ALWAYS need help either from an advocate in town (read as a builder, developer, past board member,ect.) or a professional site plan engineer. Words such as barn, car barn, garage, hobby shop.......are always a “NO” answer. An accessory agricultural outbuilding, chicken coop, and assorted other structures with appropriate names are often allowed by right. Side yard setbacks, parking restrictions, ect,ect,ect,  all need to be understood. Lot coverage and building to building percentage restrictions are common. Trust me, the best way to go about this is using a local person who knows the town like the back of his hand. A few bucks up front will save tens of thousands of dollars, and months to years of delay. If you like, PM me with your phone number and I will give you some help over the phone. Ed

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I second the agricultural approach, as Ed as stated.  Buy a cheap tractor and call it a barn, and plant ten stalks of corn and call it a farm.

 

I was involved in working on an old farm, changing it to an industrial site. Building a $100 million dollar + dairy facility for H.P. Hood in the town where I live. There was a spring and the resultant creek running through the property, it was a little over 80 acres.  Once it went from "farm" to "industrial" classification, then anything around that little creek became incredibly involved.

 

To even put a gravel road in the area, and do some land modifications,  the Corps of Engineers had to be involved, since it was no longer agricultural use, but rather a "wetlands".  Some of our requests were denied, since it would supposedly affect the flora and fauna associated with the spring.

 

There's a spring and the resultant creek running through our subdivision, which originates on some adjacent cattle grazing land.  A couple of years ago, the owner started digging a big pond, thus diverting water from the spring fed creek.  I called the Corp of Engineers and asked if there was correct permits and so forth, they called me back, said it was deemed "agricultural" so the land owner could do whatever they pleased, with no permission and no permits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some good suggestions in the posts above. One needs to do IN DEPTH research into the CURRENT codes and laws where one plans to build. ASSUME NOTHING, RESEARCH EVERYTHING. With all due respect to other posters here, some municipalities have gotten wise when it comes to work arounds home owners have used in the past. Their current codes and laws reflect their learning the hard way (and getting burned by home owners) and these places DEFINE EVERY TERM very precisely. IE, what is a "farm", what is "agricultural" all types and descriptions of permissible "buildings", "roads",  what is a "junk car" and where/how it can be stored, etc. They also update their codes and laws and restrict "Grandfather Clauses" for some things which can tighten the screws on a homeowner as well. Where I live currently is one such place (and there are others I know of) :( so don't tell me they do not exist. 

 

I do agree with those here who say do not ask local government officials too many/any questions. The Internet is your friend. Google all the local codes and laws regarding properties and building codes, etc. Some local municipalities are CONSTANTLY updating these things. What was true a couple years ago could easily have changed by now and could create a headache for a homeowner. If you do not understand these documents seek out local contractors who deal with the municipality for their thoughts and guidance. They will be a BIG help.

 

Also, be VERY, VERY CAREFUL when it comes to thinking that getting a "variance" can solve a problem easily. In some areas filing the paperwork for a variance can cost 100s or 1000s of dollars. (ask me how I know) It can take as little as ONE neighbor who objects to the variance to kill it (ask me how I know). Once again research how variances work in your community to understand if & how you can employ them to help your project.

 

Charlie

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really appreciate the answers provided to my questions. I have learned more about what NOT to do than what TO do.

If I want to have a metal barn on a lot in Polk County, I must buy a lot zoned A-1 for Agricultural use. Here's the type of barn I'd like to get:

020.jpg

I checked the zoning rules for the adjoining county, Haralson, and found the rules for R-1 to be less restrictive:

http://haralsoncounty.elaws.us/code/coor_apxid153442_ch50_artiv_sec50-108

http://haralsoncounty.elaws.us/code/coor_apxid153442_ch50_artiv_sec50-109

 

Polk and Haralson counties are 50 miles west of Atlanta, and have missed the movement of people from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt over the past 40 years, due to the lack of high-paying jobs in the counties. The median family incomes are $43 - $45 thousand a year. Rural land cost $6,000 an acre 5 years ago, but it has dropped to $5,000 an acre.

 

Here are the reasons to get a bigger garage:

 

http://www.trfindley.com/pgcars.html

 

Here's a nice house on 8 acres:

 

https://www.georgiamls.com/762-macedonia-church-rd-buchanan-ga-30113/8401825

 

 

Thanks for your help.

Edited by trfindley (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right to farm laws are a powerful tool in over regulated areas. Converting a building with no floor, no power, and no bathrooms once built are virtually unstoppable by the locals. It’s always better to build “as of right” not asking for ANY permission of waivers, having a set of stamped plans that meets all requirements means even if the neighbors or board doesn’t like it, it gets approved. In new subdivisions deed restrictions also come into play. Fact is you will always need professional help to make things go smoothly. Sad but true. If you don’t need a large repair shop, but just car storage, building a three car garage attached to the house with a roof high enough to install lifts is the way to go. You get a six car garage without almost any additional building or tax expense. Think about it, six cars is more than MOST need, and the long term cost of buildings matainance, taxes, and insurance will mean huge savings over the years. Agricultural buildings are taxed lower, so they are a good option. Figure on needing multiple acres to build something large. In Massachusetts anything over five acres in an agricultural zone IS a farm if you file paperwork for 25 dollars, as of right. Then MOST zoning rules go out the door. Only issue is five acres in Massachusetts is probable 175k in the hills of the Berkshire mountains to seven figures in the center of the state......if you can find it.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nearly every municipality of any type has zoning and land use  regs. Some are quite liberal and some are quite restrictive. They also may have over lapping state and home owner regs. Some state rules may over ride local rules, or not.

Any SPECIFIC advice given here is worth exactly what you paid for it.

Go to your municipality's  office and buy a copy of the zoning and building regs. Research what local/state codes and carve outs may apply. Do your due diligence and decide your options BEFORE making a costly mistake.

An informal talk with the code enforcement officer may be a good idea. When I built my last building his guidance helped me go from a residential structure requiring  red $eal architectural drawing$, multiple in$pection$, & univer$al building code compliance, to only a trip to the municipal office to buy a $50 building permit........... Good luck..............Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Read my garage build thread and don't believe a whole lot of what the code officer believes he knows unless he has been at his job for a long time.  Mine had been their a few years and screwed my whole process up costing me a bunch of time. I do agree with asking local builders about stuff that has been allowed as it gives you ammunition to go in front of the planning board if necessary. Satellite images work nice as well as they clearly show large structures.   I had trouble getting approval to build my 60 by 72 foot garage on 7 acres of land where it can't be seen because of the trees and geography,  yet literally at the bottom of my driveway is a huge supermarket with a separate shopping plaza that was just built and the adjacent property to mine has several barns and a riding arena(considered agricultural of course) yet because they rezoned basically to right behind my house recently as High density retail I wasn't allowed to have an agricultural endeavor. I guess they don't want the shoppers from down state smelling cow poop.

Really read my thread.  It discusses alot of what you might run into.  One of the reasons I started the thread. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 trfindley ,  Is your principal structure a garage or a house??

 Think about it.

 

 A friend in Fla built a garage/ barn and ran into a lot of trouble when he tried to use it. It was on farm land and the town decided that it was a garage after it was built.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

    Hi all my take on all b/s they give us is that they just want to be boss put the building up ask for forgiveness . Then tell the let's see how deep their pockets are ( most towns do not have money to take you to along drawn out court battle) they know when to hold and when to fold just my opinion not any legal advice. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Mikefit said:

    Hi all my take on all b/s they give us is that they just want to be boss put the building up ask for forgiveness . Then tell the let's see how deep their pockets are ( most towns do not have money to take you to along drawn out court battle) they know when to hold and when to fold just my opinion not any legal advice. 

The question is do you have the fortitude for a long drawn out court battle because someone wants to make an example out of you?  Or the resources to do so,  knowing in the end they could make you tear it down?  

All they have to do is get a federal or state agency involved because you encroached on some wetland you didn't know existed or they made up.  You need really deep pockets to fight on the state or higher levels as they collect plenty of your tax money to pay for their attorneys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/21/2018 at 2:28 PM, Mikefit said:

    Hi all my take on all b/s they give us is that they just want to be boss put the building up ask for forgiveness . Then tell the let's see how deep their pockets are ( most towns do not have money to take you to along drawn out court battle) they know when to hold and when to fold just my opinion not any legal advice. 

Bad advice.  They will win and take down the building, and charge you to do it.  Happens all the time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this