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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Angry Denied a Permit for a Garage, but Required to Park Commercial Vehicles in a Garage

    My question involves personal property located in the State of: PA

    Hi all. Lets just start off with the fact that our neighbors do not like us, so they are calling the township on anything they can to get us in trouble. Back in 2015 my husband applied for a detached 30"x 50" garage for our yard. Our yard is 90"x 125" so we have the room. We have 1 trailer, 1 camper, 2 trucks (one being my husbands commercial truck), 1 quad, 1 skid-loader, 1 mini excavator, and a jeep. We applied for the garage because we are not allowed to park on the street because there is a fire hydrant in our front yard, so we wanted to keep everything contained, clean, and neat. Well, after fighting with our township for 2+ months we were denied for the permit for the garage because it "wouldn't fit in with the neighborhood". We now have everything parked in the yard (neatly, so it isn't an eye sore) and we are hearing that our neighbors are calling the township because we have a commercial vehicle and the skid-loader/excavator clearly visible. According to our township, the only way you can have a commercial vehicle and others is if it is in a garage. We do not have a homeowners society. We own this property. The commercial vehicle is for my husbands self owned excavating company that he is just starting up. He has no employees, so we don't have anywhere else to park them. We do not make noise, we just mind our own business. I just want to be one step ahead in case we start getting fines. There are many other houses in our township that have commercial vehicles and excavators without garages. And there are many houses in our township that have garages bigger than 30 x 50"

    Any suggestions? Thanks for the input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: Required to Have Garage, but Aren't Allowed to Build One

    You'd have to consult a local land use lawyer as to what you might do to allay the concerns in order to build, whether there is an appeal for the decision, or if you can get a variance. This is pretty much a bunch of local details so we aren't going to be able to answer.

    Alas, in most places, the trend for a variance is that you don't get one unless all use of the lot is precluded under the "by right" rules. You aren't "required" to have a garage. You can park your commercial vehicles elsewhere. This isn't a "necessity."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Re: Required to Have Garage, but Aren't Allowed to Build One

    Ashley, Whether you can build your garage or not would be a matter of law and not some whim the town fathers come up with. It is controlled by the zoning ordinance of your town. If the performance standards in the ordinance are met, then you should be able to build your garage. If any of those standards cannot be met, then you would need to apply for a variance. The variance can be denied.

    First you need to look at permitted uses in your zone. That might include home occupations or not. It may allow the parking of a commercial vehicle or not. It may say that you can't park a trailer or a camper in a front yard. It will say what accessory uses are allowed.

    Then you have maximum lot coverage, side, front, and rear yard setbacks, the height and size of an accessory building. And the list goes on. But it is all contained in the zoning ordinance.

    So I doubt the reason you were denied the permit was just because it wouldn't fit in with the neighborhood.

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