Friday, January 9, 2015

Planning to build a garage at your cottage, make sure you’re not too close to the water

Planning to build a garage at your cottage, make sure you’re not to close the water

If you are planning to build a garage at your cottage this year then one of the first things you will have to do is establish where you want the garage to be located on the property.

This might sound like an obvious and easy thing to do but you have to realize that there are setbacks and size limits to the garage (secondary out buildings) that are determined by the local municipal government and enforced by the building and planning department.

A setback means the distance from certain points on your property to the proposed area where you want to build the garage, the measured distance is usually from the outside walls of the building to the points of reference.

The setback limits apply to the following;

There are minimum setbacks to the side yard (this is the two sides of your property that border other neighbours) from the proposed garage outer walls.

There are minimum setbacks from the existing buildings on the property. Depending on what that building is will depend on the amount the setback must be from your new proposed garage.

There are minimum setbacks from the municipal road, this is also usually where your property intersects with the municipalities property that is allocated for the road.

There are minimum setbacks from any road right (a road right is an undeveloped road that is owned by the municipality but has never been developed). Road rights will be shown on the municipalities official plan, a lot of road rights have never been developed and on a visual inspection of the property there will be no physical markers that show that it exists. Road rights might never be developed but planning departments still adhere to the setback rules around them.

There are minimum setbacks from the high water mark (the high water mark is the historic highpoint of what the lakes or rivers have risen to usually in the last 100 years, this is set by the local municipality). This point is usually set as an elevation level number from sea level and found by surveyors.

There are minimum setbacks from your septic system (usually the septic bed and the tank).

There could be other setbacks that apply but they would be specific to the municipality that you are attempting to building in, the best thing to do is to go directly to the building and planning department and ask them for a list of rules and regulations.

The second thing that you have to do is determine the size of the garage that you want to construct.

The size limits to the building will be affected by the following;

The size of the piece of property that you are building your outbuilding on.

The size of the existing other buildings including the primary residence on the property (you can only cover a certain percentage of the property with all buildings) This percentage is set by the local municipality.

If you don’t have enough room for your setbacks to make the building the size you want.

The use of the building (if you plan to have livable space in the building you might not be allowed to have over a certain amount of square footage).

There could be a limit to the height. A lot of municipalities do not want garages with second stories.

There could be size restrictions on secondary buildings in certain municipalities.

When you are submitting your documents for the building permit you will be asked to make an overhead drawing that shows the size of the building and the placement of the building on the property with all the relevant setbacks listed on it. This drawing will be one of the main things that they look at to determine if you will receive your permit. Do not be surprised if you are ask to change certain things before they will approve your garage.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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