Zoning Requirements for Detached Garages, Pole Barns and Storage Buildings in St. Johns County

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Is Your St Johns County Lot Less Than One Acre?

The first and biggest setback to building a Detached Garage, Pole Barn or Storage Building in St Johns County is the zoning eave height restriction.

Normally if your lot is less than one acre your detached structures eave height cannot exceed the main structure eave height. If your plan on parking a boat with a T-Top or an RV this can be a deal breaker.

You will need to find the correct building department listed at the bottom of this page and give them your lot description to find out if this applies to your lot. I will not be able to answer this question nor will you find it on the internet. You must call the correct building department.

If zoning allows you to put the structure on your property, please proceed with the design drawing.

Building a Detached Garage, Pole Barn or Storage Building on a Residential Lot

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.

Zoning Requirements for Accessory Structures in St Johns County

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.

Important Note:

You will need to call the correct building department to find out all the restrictions for your specific lot.

Building Departments

I do the house plans. This is the design. The plans include floor plans and elevations. Engineering structural plans, truss engineering, contracting and building the home is done by others. The home owner, owner builder or contractor must find out all restrictions from the proper building department. Please make sure you call the correct department for your lot location (and please be very patient):