February 19, 2010

Can I Build a Barn on My Property?

Whether it's before or after you purchase a property, knowing what you can and cannot build on your land is crucial. If you buy a piece of land thinking that you'll be able to build a backyard structure down the road, only to find out that your municipality won't allow it, you end up heartbroken (or worse).

A Reader wrote:

I purchased my house about a year and a half ago with the intentions on building a nice big 2-3 car garage at the rear of the property. There is already a 2 car but it is not at all big enough for my stuff. It is used as storage right now. Anyways my town said I can only have one garage and one shed. But my property is 50'x 300' and I should be able to build another structure don't you think.
I spoke with a friend the other day and he said he knew someone that built a barn or at least called it a barn in the plans and had no problem. I guess there is a loop hole on barns. If you can find any info on this subject it would be great.

Sometimes it all comes down to what you call it ... and how you build it. Is it a shed, a barn, or a garage?

A conventional stick-built garage uses a different construction method than a pole barn or post and beam barn. Depending on the municipality, this can allow you to slip through on a technicality. If your friend has good info, it's best to sound it out with the town. Ask the building officials if it would be permissible to add a barn to your backyard and inquire as to the maximum dimensions and construction details.

With the economy in the state it's in, the building code folks might be downright friendly and helpful.

Don't fear the barn stigma. Barns can be (and often are) quite beautiful ... in many cases far more striking than a typical garage structure. A well-sized post-and-beam barn can be a huge enhancement to the property.

All that said, I'm typing with my fingers crossed, hoping that one of these days I'll get to build that big barn of my own ...

Posted by geekbooks at February 19, 2010 07:24 AM


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