I know zoning laws vary by county and state but I think most are
basically the same. I've tried asking local zoning inspectors these
questions but they all say different things. So I'd like to get an idea
of how things work in other places.
The local zoning laws say that outside storage is prohibited but they
don't really explain any further. Are there items that are normally
allowed to stay outside, and if so, what are these items (hose, lawn
furniture, lawn mower)? I would assume that things such as tires,
tools, and auto parts are not allowed, is that usually true?
in buffalo ny: this will vary widely based on your climate, layer of
government levels, population density, and health regulations.
prohibited here: water puddles and tires, both are breeding ground for
mosquitoes and their west nile virus; and outdoor upholstered furniture
is prohibited as rat harborage. you will be surprised how many cities
have free online ordinances. you might sift thru these online or at the
local government offices for easy answers or all the way thru the
if you feel confined by too many laws in the city, it may be a
surprisingly long drive these days to escape similar ordinances in
other developed areas. many delelopments and homeowners groups have set
quality of life levels for their common health.
Mike S. wrote:
True here. Inoperable automobiles prohibited, and have to have tags to
be operable. Our code is pretty specific and extends to prohibiting
construction material unless there is an active building permit in force.
Also, check with your Home Owners Insurance policy/company. Usually
they insure "appurtenant structures" for 10% of your home value even if
you don't have any. After building a shed, you will have and
appurtenance so will it be insured?
Or, you could say "Screw the Nazis" and move to Houston. We have no zoning.
Several years ago, Shell oil bought a corner lot in a VERY upscale
neighborhood and announced plans to build a gas station on the property.
Several of the neighbors, John Connaly, Hugh Liedke (CEO of Pennzoil),
Michael DeBakey, and others returned their Shell credit cards along with
impassioned letters containing words such as "disembowel" and "cut off your
Shell donated the corner lot to the city as a "pocket park."
All was well.
Use your own judgement. If it's out-of-site (mainly from the street, but
preferably from the neighbors perspective as well) nobody will care. Things
that typically stay outside (hoses, outdoor furniture, etc) nobody's going
to complain about unless it's an eyesore. Lawn mowers, a bit of a gray
area. Probably depends on where you keep it (if it's parked in the front
yard all the time, I'd be annoyed as your neighbor).
Firewood, neatly stacked, is also typically stored outdoors.
Again, since these things aren't typicaly "outdoor items" that is probably a
problem, if your community enforces such things.
The zoning laws within fifteen miles of my area vary so widely you
wouldn't know they're in the same country, much less same state and
If there's wiggle room in the interpretation of zoning laws it's either
put their on purpose or due to incompetence. Your local zoning
official is the only one that can give you a meaningful specific
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