Permits are a Necessity for Carports

Have you ever considered what goes into setting up a carport on your property? Purchasing the shelter is only part of the picture. Many cities and towns consider adding a carport, portable garage, or shed-like building to be the addition of a new structure – even if you don’t set it in the ground. Because of this, a permit often needs to be obtained before the structure is erected. We’ve discussed a few times on this blog in regards to local ordinances for such structures, and, while these need to be consulted before you purchase a carport or similar structure, securing a permit is the next step before the shelter is put into the ground.

A recent article discusses which types of shelters need permits. Shelters, like carports, aren’t the only outdoor projects needing permits, however. As the linked article above explains, nearly all outdoor projects and additions require a permit. This includes adding a fence, shed, patios, porches, carports, and any accessory structures. Additionally, many interior home improvements, such as remodeling or adding a hot water heater, require permits, too. The only exception to this is a playhouse, but every open or enclosed structure added to the back, front, or side of your home needs a permit before being added.

Obtaining a permit isn’t difficult. As the article explains, you need to present your plans for the shelter or other improvements and to pay a small fee. The fee, however, can vary, if it is needed. In the towns used for the article, local laws specify that structures covering an area less than 120 square feet do not need a permit. For your carport, this would be a 12 x 10 square foot building. Structures larger than this may need to pay $50 dollars or more. Not paying a permit will result in a doubled fee.

Zoning Laws for Carports

Installing a carport is significantly more convenient and economical than constructing a brick-and-mortar garage from scratch. Both structures, however, may need local approval, as seen in a recent news item about a man fighting for his carport. For him, as well as others, the carport on his property doesn’t comply with local zoning regulations. This includes the dimensions of the building, as well as having one on his property. But when does a carport, portable garage, or temporary shed constitute as a permanent structure in the same vein as a deck or porch? According to the article, this is generally when the structure is cemented into the ground. If you plan to pull the structure from the ground and not keep it in place permanently, the carport or portable garage doesn’t need a building permit.

For those that want a carport or portable garage on their property, this poses somewhat of a dilemma, but that can be quickly resolved by contacting any local office in charge on zoning regulations. As these temporary structures may count as permanent, contact your local office about getting a building permit anyway for one of these structures. If you do need a building permit, ask:

• Does a carport count as a permanent structure only if you have to put it in the ground? Is it not a permanent structure if you don’t cement it or set it in concrete and take it down for part of the year? As RV and boat canopies may only be up for part of the year, asking this is important, as putting up an RV canopy might end up being a permanent structure needing approval in your area.
• What dimensions are allowed? Where on my property can I put this building? As
carports and other portable storage buildings come in a number of sizes, zoning laws may have limits on how large a portable garage, carport, or RV shelter can be, as well as where you can place it on your property.

As purchasing a portable shelter can be a small investment, asking these questions before you purchase a portable storage building might help you from picking a product that can’t be put up on your property.