If you’re the type of homeowner who likes to do some up-front investigation on what you’re allowed to build before you start calling for bids, then researching your home’s zoning requirements is one of the first places you’ll want to start. This is where you’ll research your property’s setbacks, allowable square footage, building requirements and restrictions (like whether you can have a detached garage or granny flat, etc.).
As a builder, there’s nothing more heartbreaking than going through all the work of marketing to find a homeowner who is serious about building an addition, having that homeowner make the effort to contact us, only to find out that he/she can’t build because of zoning issues. In many cases, it’s equally disappointing for homeowners looking forward to building an addition, only to find out their local building department won’t allow the project to be built (at least legally) on account of zoning laws. As heartbreaking as it is, it’s just something that comes with the job.
However, if you the homeowner would like to take the initiative and research your own zoning requirements, the information can often be found on your local City or County website, depending on where your property resides. Not to belittle the point, just know that researching your home’s zoning requirements can be a huge, time-consuming, hassle—not to mention confusing if you don’t know how to find the right answers.