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Private Garage Policy

Proposed Private Garage Policy as an supplement to Zoning By-law 97-50

Purpose

Section 6.3 of the current Zoning By-law addresses the zoning requirements for the establishment of Accessory Buildings within the Town.  Provision (j) of this section specifically speaks to a size restriction for detached private garages.  In many circumstances this provision has been unclear and restrictive for residents.  This proposed policy is meant to provide clear interpretation and guidelines for municipal staff to provide to the residents regarding this provision in the Zoning By-law.

 Background

Section 6.3 (j) of the current zoning by-law restricts the total maximum floor area of all detached private garages on a lot to 80 m2.  This is interpreted to mean that the total square footage of all private garages on a property cannot exceed 80 m2.    Confusion occurs in the determination of what type of building is considered a private garage.  The current practice is to judge each building individually based on structural components (door openings) and the definition of  GARAGE, PRIVATE in the current zoning bylaw to determine if section 6.3 (j) pertains to a proposed building.

 Complaints that we have received in the past include:

  1. when a personal workshop (woodworking etc.) requires a garage door for access of materials in and out
  2. part of the building is going to house vehicles, but part will be used for storage and they want one building instead of two because of cost concerns
  3. the home owner wants to store a large motor home or boat inside a building and the allowable size is too small for all of their needs
  4. the home owner has an existing building that is derelict that they would like to replace, but the current building is bigger than the allowable replacement

Two tactics that have been encountered in an attempt to circumvent the size restriction are i) to call the proposed building a “farm building” and ii) attachment of the oversized building to the house with a breezeway so that it is considered part of the main building.

 Proposed Guidelines

The following guidelines are being proposed to clarify the confusion surrounding the issue of the size restriction of a private detached garage and provide consistent direction to applicants on what is allowable.

 The definition within Zoning By-law 97-50 for GARAGE, PRIVATE reads as follows:

 GARAGE, PRIVATE:  means a building or structure or part thereof, having a roof, which has more than sixty percent of the total perimeter enclosed by walls, doors or windows used primarily for the parking or storage of private passenger motor vehicles, trucks or vans, or commercial motor vehicles in conformity to this By-law, and wherein neither servicing nor repairing of vehicles is carried on for remuneration.

 As per the definition of MOTOR VEHICLE within Zoning By-law 97-50, any vehicle propelled or driven otherwise than by muscular power is considered a motor vehicle, with the exception of a motorized snow mobile, railway vehicles, traction engine, or farm tractor or road building machine within the meaning of the Highway Traffic Act.  For the purpose of this guideline, the following vehicles are also not considered motor vehicles: lawn tractors and all-terrain vehicles.

 When reviewing building plans for an accessory structure, the use of the building is considered a private garage if there are any doorway openings into the building greater or equal to 8 feet in width, and the building does not qualify as a farm building.

 Farm Buildings

In order for a proposed building to be considered a “farm building’ the following criteria must be met:

  1. Property must be zoned ‘Rural’.
  2. Property must either be equal or greater than 10 acres in size or the owner is a bonafide farmer as defined by the Income Tax Act.
  3. A Letter of Intent is provided indicating the use of the building is for farming purposes.

 Breezeway Connections

If a breezeway connection is proposed to connect a private garage to the main dwelling structure on a property, the following criteria must be met:

  1. The breezeway must be physically attached to both buildings.
  2. The breezeway must connect through a doorway opening into both buildings at each end.
  3. The breezeway must be at least 6 feet in width and can be no more than 30 feet in length.
  4. The breezeway must consist of a roof, with more than sixty percent of the total perimeter enclosed by walls, doors or windows.

Existing Detached Garage

In an effort to improve the aesthetics of the community, an existing private detached garage can be replaced with a similar building if the following criteria are met.

  1. The existing building is either demolished prior to or within reasonable time of completion of the new building.  The timeline of demolition will be determined at the time of permit issuance and deposit collected to ensure demolition occurs.  If the timeline is not adhered to by the applicant and no reasonable explanation can be given for the delay, the deposit will be retained by the Municipality and the matter of zoning compliance will be dealt with through by-law enforcement.
  2. The replacement building is less than or equal in size to the existing building and the use of the building will not change.
  3. All other requirements of the Zoning By-law 97-50 comply.