Zoning Basics to Consider When Remodeling Your Home
Planning to build a home addition, convert a basement or garage into an in-law apartment, or renovate a historic home? You’ll want to make sure you understand the zoning regulations in your Northwest DC, Chevy Chase MD or Bethesda MD neighborhood as these could dictate many of the decisions for your home remodeling plans.
Zoning regulations tend to impact construction related to the exterior of your home. Neighborhoods want to protect the overall quality of the community, property values and if relevant, to make sure home remodeling fits with the historical architecture or other styles and characteristics of other homes. Zoning also ensures that residential neighborhoods are protected from commercial construction.
Setback requirements govern the distance your home must be from the property line. Thus before beginning any home renovations, it’s important to understand exactly where your property lines are located. These distances will vary on each side of the house. The setback requirements from the main road may be 20 feet and only 5 feet on each side of your house. This defines the total foot print that your house can have on the property, as well as makes sure your construction doesn’t encroach on land that belongs to your neighbor.
Home Additions and Converted Space
Some neighborhoods may have different requirements for multiple story houses and restrict building plans for additions. Often clients will be interested in converting the garage to additional living space for renters, parents or in-laws but find zoning laws require off-street parking or that neighborhoods are zoned for single family dwellings only.
Best practice is to find out about zoning restrictions in your neighborhood prior to developing your architectural plans so that you don’t face big challenges getting your plans approved. If your plans do conflict with the regulations, you can make an appeal to the planning board for a variance to the existing regulations.
There may be other restrictions specific to your property that will need to be considered when planning your home renovation. Hanlon will work with you understand the regulations in your neighborhood and create a custom plan design team ensures that meets your family’s needs while also meeting zoning regulations.