Want to build a detached garage, barn or shed next to your house in St Johns County, Florida? You’ll need a building permit. So, before you start drawing up your floor plan, make sure you fully understand the county’s zoning requirements.
From a zoning perspective, structures such as detached garages, pole barns and storage buildings are considered accessory structures. In other words, their purpose is seen as less important than the purpose of your home. In land development codes, accessory structures as described as “subordinate and incidental” to principal structures.
A detached garage is a classic example of an accessory structure: it has an additional use that enhances the primary use of the house (which is the provision of living accommodation).
How Big Can You Build an Accessory Structure?
Several factors determine the permitted size of an accessory structure or not. These include height, floor area, number of visitors, and economic importance. For example, the maximum eave height of your detached garage cannot exceed the maximum eave height of your house. The only exception is if you situate it so it can’t be viewed from the front property line.
Accessory structures such as garages, barns and storage units are subject to the same lot restrictions as principal structures. Here’s a summary of the county’s building permit requirements, with homeowners in mind:
- The accessory structure must be located on the same lot as your house.
- If your house is in a residential district, you cannot build an accessory structure in the front or side yards.
- If your house has a double frontage or corner lot, you can build an accessory structure in the side yard.
- If the accessory structure is going to be at least ten feet away from the house, you can build an accessory structure in the rear or side rear yards, but it must not be closer than three feet from any lot line.
- If the accessory structure is to accommodate people (e.g. a guest house or employee quarters), it cannot be located in any yard.
- All private garages and storage buildings must have a building permit.
If you’re not sure whether you can build a detached garage, pole barn, storage facility or any other type of accessory structure on your lot, contact me. I’d be happy to advise.