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Thread: When does an accessory structure become the primary use?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    When does an accessory structure become the primary use?

    This article was in today's paper.

    Summary: 4,300 sq ft of garages, and only a 2,600 sq ft house. Is the house now the accessory use? I would challenge the permit and argue yes

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    From the article, the garages are actually attached, so they are part of the prinicpal building (residential home).

    Sounds like Mr. Garageman found a nice loophole for his gearhead ways.

    I guess there can be some advantages to living a town versus a city in a certain parts of Wisconsin.
    Last edited by mendelman; 07 Sep 2007 at 11:40 AM.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yeah....timely post Chet.....

    We are dealing with this issue right now, structures that exceed 5,000 square feet and are metal buildings in a residential zone. The kicker here is that they build an efficiency unit (300-800 sf) in the back of the barn to meet the residential requirement. That loophole will be closed soon enough, but the damage is tremendous to the neighborhood where this is taking place.

    I don't understand what's so difficult about the concept of an accessory attached structure being subordinante to a primary residential structure and that it should naturally cover less area than the home. Its even worse when you don't have a design standard for homes.
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  4. #4
    My girlfriend just moved into a new apt. in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago.

    The house across the street is under construction (re-hab and nice job too) and I noticed the attached garage with access from the alley (thank god. Why we allow street access to the garage is beyond me) is damn near 1/3 of the house!

    Why anyone would devote that kind of sq. footage to CARS! never ceases to mystify. Its got to be a $100,000+ garage.

    Ugh.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    I'm a rural planner so the issue is harder for us. Lots of farmers have legitimate reasons why the accessory structures need to be bigger than the principal- but we have no limitations at all on accessory structures as long they aren't in the front yard. We have 8,000 square foot pole buildings going up all over the place- and not just for farmers.
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    I don't a Town could consider the garage the primary use unless the regs specifically have a size limitation. The guy's residence is the main use of the property even if he wants to store 5 BMW's. If he's operating a business out of it that's a different story.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    But is the garage habitable?

    Plumbing, heat, etc?

  8. #8
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    This is an issue we deal with frequently.

    A portion of our definition of "accessory building or use" includes the phrase:
    ...(2) is subordinate in area, extent, or purpose to the principal building or principal use served...
    Thus, this garage would not be allowed as a matter of right by our regulations.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jeff View post
    But is the garage habitable?

    Plumbing, heat, etc?
    Here, a lot of people like to live in one house while they build the one they want. At that point, they are required to make the old building uninhabitable- have to remove either a kitchen or bathroom. We don't allow accessory buildings to be habitable either.
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  10. #10
    Our code aligns with Jake's - e.g., the code requires that the accessory uses be subservient to the principal use, foremost in area (square footage).

    A 5,000 sq. ft. accessory building is akin to a 25-car garage!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Just like RJ and Gedunker from my fair city's code -
    Residential Accessory Structures -
    Be subordinate in height, area, and purpose to the main structure or use.
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