Zoning Deviation

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Old 10-17-16, 08:20 PM
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Zoning Deviation

I'd like to add a single car garage on my single family residence, but the lot is so small that it would be impossible to do so without deviating from the county's setback requirements. Any addition must have a setback of 30' from the front and 10' from the side. To build a small 14'x22' garage, there would be a setback of 23' in the front and 5' on the side. Even with only 5' on the side, the structure would still leave more than 25' to the neighbors home. Also, the property line runs at about a 15 degree angle to the garage, so 5' would be the minimum setback and the max setback at the front corner of the garage would be about 10'. Question is, are the county's setback requirements set in stone or will they sometimes allow deviations on a case by case basis depending on the type of structure, surrounding structures, etc? County is Prince William in Virginia.
 
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Old 10-17-16, 08:29 PM
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Municipalities grant variances all the time. Some areas make it almost impossible; other areas are more accommodating. Your local zoning board can advise you about procedure. You may want to go to a zoning meeting or two (they are usually open to public) to get an idea of how it goes.

Do you have any idea how your neighbor is likely to react? If neighbor is dead against it you will have a tougher time in almost any area.
 
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Old 10-17-16, 09:03 PM
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My neighbor will be fine with it. I just dug out my plat and there are storm drain easements as well that I forgot about, but if I can go right up to them I'll be happy because that would still allow me to build a 14' wide garage. The setback at the front right corner would be 10' and the rear right corner would be 5'. Front setback would be 29'. Looks like this may be doable after all! Moving the driveway and apron to the right side would be an added expense, but hopefully only $2k or so if I get the same contractor to do it that is doing the addition. Gonna give the county a call tomorrow.

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Old 10-18-16, 05:14 AM
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Locally you have to submit an application for a variance which is then presented to the zoning board for their approval/rejection. When I applied for one 17 yrs ago it was a $100 non refundable fee.
 
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Old 10-18-16, 05:50 AM
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Any issues with building a wooden structure around the chimney like I have shown? That extra four feet is crucial. I don't want the garage to extend any further into the front yard because that starts eating into my driveway. I'll probably extend another foot in front in case I need it.
 
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Old 10-18-16, 06:38 AM
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Houses are built all the time with chimneys enclosed in the structural. I'm sure there are rules that govern how it can be enclosed .... but I don't know what they are.
 
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Old 10-18-16, 07:07 AM
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I tried to do something similar and failed.
The city used the closest point to measure setback, your 5'. I complained, but didn't try to fight it, and doubt if I could.
 
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Old 10-18-16, 09:03 AM
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Just got off the phone with the county. Turns out the setbacks for my lot size are 5' for the side and 15' for the front. That means no special deviation required. I just need to get approval from the county for the driveway expansion (technically relocation), which they said shouldn't be an issue. My main concern now is getting HOA approval.
 
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Old 10-18-16, 09:56 AM
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Excellent, you dodged a hassle, maybe a big hassle! But I would consider have a surveyor mark the side boundary precisely; you don't want to find out down the road you only have 4 1/2 feet setback. Plat maps are notorious approximations...
 
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Old 10-18-16, 10:03 AM
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If you can locate the existing pegs you might not need a surveyor.
The 5' set back might also include the roof overhang.
 
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Old 10-20-16, 09:47 AM
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Just got back from the county and whoever I spoke with the other day was wrong about the setbacks. It's 10 feet, not five feet for the side setback. The woman I spoke with thinks the person was likely thinking of deck setbacks. I'm still okay though. They gave me a form to get signed by my neighbor to approve the encroachment. The only restriction is that I maintain a distance of at least 24 feet between homes, which won't be a problem. I'm just about right at 24 feet at the closest point, and can shave off a few inches if I need to.

If you can locate the existing pegs you might not need a surveyor.
Found the pegs. Exactly where the plat said they would be.

The 5' set back might also include the roof overhang.
Correct. The county confirmed that the setback includes the roof overhang.
 
 

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