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Garage size options

7211 Views 62 Replies 25 Participants Last post by  66GMC

I've started a new thread on this rather than adding on to a post resurrected from 2003.

I have a rather dificult decision to make, based on the limitations imposed on me by the Town of Olds.

Restrictions are:
1.) My lot is 50 x 110 (5500 sq ft)
A maximum of 55% of the lot size can covered by "structures", which calculates out to 3025 sq ft.

My house is 1168 sq ft, and the back wall measures 11 high x 34 wide.
3025 - 1168 = 1857

I'm assuming that a deck would be a "structure".

The existing deck is 6 x 30 (not including a 4 ft formed-concrete step) but my plan is to fill the space between the house and garage completely.(10 x 34 = 340 sq ft) It will be so shady there that I can't imagine having grass or flower beds.
(1857 - 340 = 1517 sq ft remaining.)

2.) Maximum size of an "accessory building" is 753 sq ft (converted from metric)

3.) Maximum Height = 14.76 ft (again, converted from metric) and can be no higher than the primary structure. Luckily, our home is a raised bungalow with 11 ft exterior walls, and appears to have a 4:12 roof slope (cottage roof, I think they call it?)

My original plan was to build 30 x 34 2-storey (19 ft wall - 11 + 8) with a 10 x 10 connector ... but I guess not :(

I was kind of hung up on having the width the same as the house (34 feet), but that limits me to 22 ft deep. I still haven't measured the length of my truck frame ... but 22 ft sounds pretty tight, right?

So now I'm considering 25 x 30, without the enclosed walkway... even though I really want that! No Jacket, no rain, and no snow! (It's -30* C and blizzarding like crazy here today.)

I'm looking for input. Should I keep the 10 x 10 walkway and sacrifice the garage size, or toughen up and build as big as I can?

Oh, and as suggested in that other post, I plan to have 3 ft of concrete and 8 ft of stick walls.

Maybe I'll get approval / inspection for the detached garage, and "sneak" the enclosed walk in later. :mwink:
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in my opp. i say sacrice the garage space..

b/c would you rather have less space.. or freeze to death..

litteraly.. if you got sick or .. dizzy or somethin.. and fell over.. in that.. you'd be screwed

and i've never seen an enclosed walkway.. thatd be badd

but i'm only 14
When I built my garage, I wanted 32x24, but that was more than 10% of the lot size (60x100)....The 10% was what they wanted to go by. They didnt seem to care about the total coverage, although It wouldnt have been near your 55% anyways...House is small. Anyways, I had to make it 24x24..........I did add on an 8x24 foot shed on the back later, but they dont know about that....hehehe. Thats my woodshop.....

I could have applied for a variance on the bylaws back then, and probably should have, but I was stupid at the time. You apply for the variance, pay the fee and as long as the neighbours have no objection, you will most likely get it approved.

My garage is detached.........and I would love a breezeway in between.


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i guess i am lucky there are no rules like that here. I built my garage 32'x60' 2 story and guess what now i need more room! so i am working on an addition thats45'x60' 2 story .so that should about take care of my space problems.
but i think if i were you i would not sacrafice any garage space for a walkway. you will need all the garage space you can get! if its only a few feet walk real fast when you go to the garage in the winter, that and it will probably be too cold for your wife to want to come out and check up on you and nag so it will then also be kind of like an escape area too!
In my opinion, build the garage as large as possible, slide the walkway in later when no one is looking :)
I also go with the build as large as you can. I've got a 30x60x14 morton building being delivered next week. Should be up by the first of Feb. I'am limited to 1800 ft. but can build as many as I want on 2.8 acres. Don't ask we what thats all about but thats what I was told. Can't go 2400 ft but can build two 1800 ft go figure.
66GMC said:
Maybe I'll get approval / inspection for the detached garage, and "sneak" the enclosed walk in later. :mwink:
In circumstances such as this, I believe rules were made to be broken.
poncho62 said:
When I built my garage, I wanted 32x24, but that was more than 10% of the lot size (60x100)....

My garage is detached.........and I would love a breezeway in between.
car craft should feature your garage in the "this guy's garage" page. :thumbup:
detached garage

Here we have minimum side and back yards on a new garage along with 20' minimum from any existing structure to new garage, if it is detached. Bud
Thanks for the opinions guys, keep 'em coming.

We have 3 vehicles, including what will likely become my "garage queen" truck when it's finished. It would sure be nice to have all 3 of them inside on those frosty Alberta winter mornings. I imagine that to require about a 36 x 24 (864 sq ft).

As I mentioned in the original post, the 753 sq ft restriction IS up for review. Maybe they'll go to 864? If they did it looks like I'd still be well under the 55% thing as well ... even if I have to count the deck.

A 30 x 25 doesn't look too bad on paper, and it's certainly better than nothing! Maybe I'll plan on that, and if the allowed size increases ... it will allow for the walkway.

I'm envious of that long, paved, driveway!
Your 24 x 24 obviously fits 2 vehicles and 2 bay doors.
What kind of working space is left over?
Workbench? Air Compressor? Parts washer?

This "variance" that you can apply for ... is it costly? I think I have seen those in the newspaper as a "land use bylaw" thing.

I hear you on the "escape area" ... perhaps a moat and drawbridge, rather than a deck? :D

Seriously, though ... if the walkway didn't have to be counted in the total "accessory building" sq footage, I wouldn't see it as wasted space. I could see cupboards / storage possibilities there as well ... leaving the garage floor available as work and/or parking space.

Here's a rendering of the 30 x 25 ... like I said, it doesn't look too bad on paper.


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deciding to go behind the zoning laws back could nip you in the arse in one of the following ways .

neighbors hate you see you constructing said building , decide to call building inspector to check your paper work - if your paper work says your only allowed to build a 753sq.ft structure then that is what your allowed. it could cost you alot of money in the end if you go build a structure you aren't approved for . Also you could be shut down you have various inspections you have to go thru before you can continue building your structure.

You have :
foundation inspection before and after pour .
framing inspection
electrical inspection
and occupancy inspection .
and i'm probably missing a couple :D

Have you thought :
if your structure is high enough to put a lift in where you can put a car ( say for example a 65 vette) on the lift and put a car or truck under neath said vette in that bay and use the other bay for another vehicle or workspace?
how bout building a workshop on the far end across the bays ?

or another parking idea.
get the wheel dollies put all 4 wheels on dollies and maneuver your car across the bays you should still be able to put 2 more vehicles in if your space allows-

You can build a storage room above the cars for shelfs and storage of extra parts and holiday decorations etc .

is this building a pole building or premaid kits ?

also another thing
if you ever decide to sell and you happen to be lucky no one really cared about u having a bigger then suposed to be structure it could nip you in the butt as well when the realitor sends for a inspector to check the house out for clients. you could be lookin at alot in fines if that were to happen . just some things to consider b4 you build bigger . but reducing its size after you paid for and used materials to build it big is just money down the drain if you have to take it down.
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First of all I don't think that the deck would be considered a "structure". Check it out. The other thing is wouldn't the walkway with cupboards, etc. be considered by you as part of the house and not the "accessory building". Therefore you could make it as big as they will allow.

I just thought of something. Would an attached garage and walkway be considered an "accessory building" or just adding an addition to your house? If you were building it new and it was all together it would be one structure.

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One the local jurisdiction should have available a "permit application package" that outlines all the rules applicable..

I have gotten several variances in the past and it was just a matter of keeping ones cool and jumping thru the hoops to get one..A 24 x 32 woudl be a nice size for a home plety of room for two cars and a nice work area..768 ft which is only a minor variance..the covered walk from the garage to house is a small matter in my view and should go thru..If you can build 10 ft high walls and the area above can be used for storage of various items..I built one like this for a friend who was in somewhat in the same situation and it has worked out just fine..

66GMC said:
I'm envious of that long, paved, driveway!
Your 24 x 24 obviously fits 2 vehicles and 2 bay doors.
What kind of working space is left over?
Workbench? Air Compressor? Parts washer?

This "variance" that you can apply for ... is it costly? I think I have seen those in the newspaper as a "land use bylaw" thing.
I have a good amount of room around the vehicles. My Pontiac is 19ft long, so its a bit tight at the front, but I put it on the side where I have no tools etc. My truck is shorter, so there is all kids of room.

The variance cost me $100. That, however was 20 years ago, and will most likely be more now. The bylaw I had was that I wanted to build in the back corner of the lot, and they had a bylaw about there had to be 25 ft to the back lot line. I built it 12 ft from the line and added my 8 ft shed later................Every town seems to have their own stupid bylaws, so you need to check them out.

You say you want to make a breezeway in between house and garage. I wonder if that constitutes joining it to the house. The rules for foundations when you join it to the house are different. Because my garage is detached, I was able to pour a slab for it to sit on. If I would have joined it to the house, I would have had to put in a 4 ft deep block foundation. I am not sure how the breezeway idea on the deck would affect things.


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Garage Size Options

Things to consider: how close are your neighbors, how friendly are they, would they be okay with a bigger building, do you have a unigue situation that would warrant a variance, would a 3/12 pitch roof help to allow for taller walls, if you attach it to you house it is no longer a seperate building, your taxes and insurance will probably be higher. As long as total occupied lot space it is less than the 55%, they may let you have a variance. Has anybody else in town got a variance, find out how on what grounds thy got theirs, Get your ducks all lined up and go for the variance. You can never have too big of shop.
This is great guys.

I'm going to make a list of "what-if's" and arrange a little meeting with the town development officer in a week or so.

I also thought about polling the neighbors, but I'm thinking that may just open a new can of worms. I THINK I have a good relationship with all of the neigbors, but you never really know. I'll do it the "right" way ... and let the town put it in the newspaper. If the neighbors read it and object in any way, they can voice thier concerns. If they don't read / object until after it's built, I can tell them they had thier chance and missed it.

Maybe I'll also arrange to see my insurance agent before finalizing my plan.
The "attached to the main building" may change many of the rules.
If you are going for a variance, the town polls the neighbours....They are invited to a meeting if they wish. My neighbour showed up and was concerned that I was going to have a body shop or something running out of my garage. I had to convince herb that I would not. I finally convinced her, by saying that I was going to work on my cars no matter what..........She could watch me doing it in my yard, or it could be behind closed doors out of site....her choice.
I guess I have an advantage. I live 4 miles out of town( county) , I can build what ever sizs I want with out a building permit (tractor shed) I cant help if it gets finished om the inside. This spring I am putting up a 30x40x12 yo get started,maybe another one later.
Old Hemi :mwink: :mwink: :rolleyes:
I just got a notice from the Home Owners Association. That's the group of neighbors that have nothing better to do than to drive around and tell you how your property should look. They're telling me that I have 10 days to clear the junk cars out of my fenced back yard, or they will clear out my property at my expense. All 4 of the vehicles in my yard are registered, inspected, and running. They claim that it's an eyesore and that's against the rules. I talked with the land developer and he says B.S. I've seen what you have back there and it's about $50,000 worth of antiques. They can still get you with the eyesore rule. He advised me to buy 2X4's and stick them into the ground and wrap the whole area around the cars in black plastic sheeting. This I did yesterday. But I'll go one better. I'm starting to build a 24' wide by 32' deep 2 bay garage, with a 4' walkway between the house and garage. Since I live 26 miles from the city and only 3 miles from the county line, I can build whatever I want provided no one lives in it. I don't have to get it inspected unless I sell the house. A contractor friend drew up the plans last night. With his connections and my labor, it'll cost about $1100 for the concrete pad and $2300 in materials for the building. The hardest part is keeping the wifes gardening junk out of it.
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More questions ...

I found a Garage King web-site that helps to imagine (in my mind at least) what kid of space to expect with different sized garages. I had ben thinking in multiples of 12 x 24, and thinking that 34 x 24 would be "not quite" a 3-car, but they seem to imply that 28 wide will fit 3 cars. It does make me wonder when they show 16 + 9 (25 ft of door) on a 28 ft wall though ...

I guess that brings up another question.
I had been thinking of ONE 18 ft wide garage door ... but now perhaps 2, 12 ft ... or 1, 16ft and 1, 9ft
What do you guys think?
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