Accessory Building



Attached Garage:

A Building Permit is required to construct an attached garage. Attached garages must be setback 30 feet from the front and rear property lines. The side setback shall be five feet from the side property line. If adjacent to a public street (corner lot), the side setback shall be 20 feet from the side property line. Note: In most cases the front property line is located 13 feet from the curb. The maximum size of an attached garage is limited by the size of the dwelling. Plans may be referred to the Planning Department for determination of maximum size. Note: Frost depth footings and foundations are required on all structures attached to the principle structure.

An attached garage wall shall be separated from the residence and its attic area by not less than 1/2” gypsum board applied to garage side. Horizontal framing members 16” on center require 5/8” type x drywall. 

Detached Garage: 

A detached garage (intended for parking vehicles) is considered an accessory building. Requirements and restrictions are the same as for an accessory building of the same size; see requirements below. A concrete or asphalt driveway is required for all garages.

Accessory Building:

An accessory building is any structure not attached to the principle structure on a lot. The maximum height for all accessory buildings is 16 feet, measured from the finished grade around the building to the peak of the roof. All Accessory buildings shall be suitably anchored to the ground. The structure must be bolted to a concrete slab or secured with approved ground anchors. Accessory buildings shall not be located in the front yard or in a public drainage or utility easement.

Accessory Building: 200 square feet or less

A building permit is not required for detached structures (sheds) that are 200 square feet or less in floor area and no more than one story in height. Small sheds (120 SF or less) must be located in the side or rear yard areas a minimum of 5 feet from the side and rear property lines or 10 feet from the rear property line if you have a 10 foot easement. On corner lots, adjacent to a public street, the setback must be 20 feet from the side property line. 

Accessory Building: OVER 200 square feet

A building permit is required for all detached structures over 200 square feet. A building permit application, legal survey and building plans shall be submitted to the City. All accessory buildings exceeding 120 square feet in area shall be setback a minimum of 30 feet from the front property line, 5 feet from a side property line (20 feet on corner lots) and 10 feet from the rear lot line. Accessory buildings should be set back 5 feet from the house, less than 5 feet can be approved if appropriate fire protection is provided. Contact a Building Inspector for the specific details. The maximum size for all detached structures is 750 square feet of floor area and the maximum height is 16 feet.


If a gazebo is being attached to a porch or deck that is attached to a house, it is not considered an accessory building. If the gazebo is larger than 120 SF, one other accessory building less than 120 SF is allowed. If the gazebo is less than 120 SF in size, one other accessory building larger than 120 SF will be acceptable.

Maximum number of Accessory Buildings:

Only two accessory structures are allowed on each lot. One structure shall not exceed 750 square feet of floor area and the second one shall not exceed 120 square feet.

Natural Resources Management Permit (NRMP):

If any excavation is done, the Natural Resources Department will determine if a NRMP is required. A NRMP Permit Application must also be completed for each project. 

Setback Requirements:

Residential properties located in “PD” (Planned Development) or other “R” zoning district may have different setback requirements that require Community Development Department determination. 


Additional documentation may be required if your proposed improvement will cross the property line onto Common Elements.

What are “Common Elements”?
Common Elements are parts of the townhome development owned by the association. Let us explain more:
At the time property is subdivided, the property lines are drawn by a surveyor. This document is known as a “plat” and defines the boundaries of each parcel of land, often including one or more parcels that the developer intends to convey to the townhome association as Common Elements for use by all townhome owners for recreation or open space. The side lot lines of townhomes often are drawn as zero setback lot lines, so the townhomes can be constructed right up to but not crossing the lot boundary line. Parcels of land for townhomes may include additional land on either end or an open side of the structure, providing space to construct things such as a deck, stairway, patio, or porch. Typically a Certificate of Survey is issued for each parcel showing the lot boundary lines. When a structure is proposed to be built that crosses a lot boundary line and encroaches onto the Common Elements, generally, an easement must be granted. Your association’s Declaration and Bylaws may outline the specific legal requirements for your development and what must take place to grant you this easement.

Who decided that this rule would be in place?
The developer likely made the original Declaration and Bylaws. They may or may not have been amended by your association’s board and members since then.

What if the association will not grant me an easement to build my project?
A building permit cannot be issued to you for construction on property that you do not own or have a legal right to encroach upon.

What happens if I build over the property line without obtaining an easement from my association?
This encroachment would be illegal. An association could require its removal and it opens the door to a multitude of other legal issues for the property owner and association.

What is the process going forward?
The requirements for approving an encroachment into the Common Elements vary from association to association, depending on the governing documents and the statute(s) that apply to that particular association. In some associations, a Resolution by the Board of Directors is sufficient to create an easement, but in other cases the approval of a certain percentage of townhome owners (association members) is required.

You will be asked to provide to the City, copies (not originals) of your association’s Declaration and Bylaws and documentation showing that you have obtained any necessary easement(s) from your association. The inspection department will most often have these reviewed by the City Attorney to determine if all of the requirements have been satisfied to grant you an easement to encroach upon the common elements. Additional time may be required for you to obtain the necessary easement from the association before the permit can be issued.