I'm looking at building a 150 square foot workshop / storage building in
the backyard. It won't need power or plumbing for what I'm doing and as
long as it's at least 5-ft from the house or property line, no permit is
required. Otherwise, it would add $700 to my annual property tax bill,
which is would be more than the shed would be worth to me.
Next step would be to connect it to an existing door to the house with
something that the city would not labeled a "structure" but would let me
go in and out without opening either one to bugs, etc.
Any ideas about how to make some kind of connection like this and still
Since you seem to know what the town will accept as a "non-taxable property
improvement" why don't you ask the town what they will accept as a
non-taxable passageway between the 2 buildings?
Here's an idea...with this passageway you can get from the house to the
shed and even get into/out of either building to/from your yard. I doubt
the town will tax you if you use this...
It depends on your local taxation stupidity.
Locally, an attached garage is taxed at a higher rate than an unattached garage.
But if you build a house and a garage separate and then 2-years later build a food-producing greenhouse between them, the food-producing greenhouse is tax exempt and you still enjoy the lower tax rate of an unattached garage.
This happened to me. There was a small panel to access attic space
above my attached garage and I put in a pull down stairs and added some
composite board to take advantage of the storage space.
I was having a septic field addition done and when an inspector came out
he looked in my garage and tacked on a tax assessment to include my
"loft". Took a call to his boss to come out and actually look up the
steps to see if there was a loft to take the assessment off.
building in the backyard. It won't need power or plumbing for what I'm
doing and as long as it's at least 5-ft from the house or property line,
no permit is required. Otherwise, it would add $700 to my annual
property tax bill, which is would be more than the shed would be worth
with something that the city would not labeled a "structure" but would
let me go in and out without opening either one to bugs, etc.
still be legal?
build a food-producing greenhouse between them, the food-producing
greenhouse is tax exempt and you still enjoy the lower tax rate of an
Or maybe make it out of solar panels and get a tax break.
ends, butt those to the house and shed. Or get a 10'x20 and not worry
about the shed.
Thanks, good idea! In fact, a portable garage instead of the shed might
work in this case. Also thinking ahead to whenever I see the house.
I've seen professional but unpermitted construction in this neighborhood
kill a sale.
Also, are there any regulations in your area limiting the amount of
time a temporary structure can be in place, or even where it is
located on the property? My town ended up creating rules on these
after too many people put them into their yards for permanent storage.
They are unsightly; too many make a neighborhood look low rent.
Yep, the county officials make mistakes sometimes.
Years ago our county assessor came by to put a value on our old mobile
home. They pulled in the driveway, looked around without even getting out
of the car, and filled out some paperwork. I caught them before they backed
out of our driveway. They put 3 bedroom/2 bath on the paperwork, even
though our mobile was only 2 bedroom/1.5 bath. If I hadn't been there to
catch them, I probably would never have known they had made an inaccurate
A few years later we sold the mobile home and was having it moved off the
property. That's when they told us we did not have a valid occupancy permit
for the mobile. We lived there 13 years and I distinctly remember the
inspector coming out and giving us the OK to move in, but somehow it never
made it into the official paperwork. :)
We have a neighbor down the hill who has a large shed next to his house.
The shed has a small gable roof over the shed door. The house has a larger
gable roof over the house door that extends over the top of the sheds small
gable. Officially, the two buildings are not connected at all, but he can
walk from one building to the other in the rain without getting wet.
If you wanted to, you could easily add some removable screen panels to this
kind of setup to keep out bugs. You could even use retractable screens so
it's all open until you need them.
Years ago one of my building inspectors told me I could build a roof
between our house and standalone garage. As long as it didn't have walls, I
wouldn't need to worry about self closing doors, fire ratings, etc. I never
pursued it, so I don't know if the rules would be the same now, but I
always found that an interesting loophole.
A call to your county or city building department would probably be the
best way to find out the best way to handle the situation.
Good that you got it corrected. You should contact the city and be sure
that it was removed from the records. I was checking on the city
records of my house and noticed a violation by a previous owner was
still listed. Took several phone calls to get it removed.
Only regulations are that structures over 6-ft in height must be 5-feet
from another structure or a property line. Still can't be connected to
the house, though.
PS - A city worker told me that people around here rarely report their
neighbors. Mostly it's done by the real estate agents.
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