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My local says detached building must not exceed the height of the primary structure. They describe the height as measure from grade plane to the average height of the highest roof surface.

My question has to do with grade. What if the grade is slightly elevated in the location of the proposed detached structure? Do you measure to the grade surrounding each structure individually? If this is the case, it could be acceptable for the ridge height of a detached structure to be higher than the primary structure if the finish grade elevations are different for each.

Do I understand this correctly?

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My local says detached building must not exceed the height of the primary structure. They describe the height as measure from grade plane to the average height of the highest roof surface.

My question has to do with grade. What if the grade is slightly elevated in the location of the proposed detached structure? Do you measure to the grade surrounding each structure individually? If this is the case, it could be acceptable for the ridge height of a detached structure to be higher than the primary structure if the finish grade elevations are different for each.

Do I understand this correctly?

Read the local code. There are usually clauses to define what grade is and what average roof height is.

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I would ask for clarification, but I think each structure would be measured relative to the local grade. If you put the outbuilding up on a hill on the property and had to use the grade level at the main structure as a reference you may be building a pancake.

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I would ask for clarification, but I think each structure would be measured relative to the local grade. If you put the outbuilding up on a hill on the property and had to use the grade level at the main structure as a reference you may be building a pancake.

This was my initial thought too.

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I would ask for clarification, but I think each structure would be measured relative to the local grade. If you put the outbuilding up on a hill on the property and had to use the grade level at the main structure as a reference you may be building a pancake.

This was my initial thought too.

BTW, My Brother-in-law lives in Arden-on-the-Severn. Are you anywhere near there?

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I would ask for clarification, but I think each structure would be measured relative to the local grade. If you put the outbuilding up on a hill on the property and had to use the grade level at the main structure as a reference you may be building a pancake.

This was my initial thought too.

BTW, My Brother-in-law lives in Arden-on-the-Severn. Are you anywhere near there?

Directly across the river from me. I could probably swim there faster than I could drive there. When I was a kid my Golden Retriever swam across the Severn River. We picked her up in Arden on the Severn.

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...you are in zoning country now...all about looks, and about imagined "value"...best of luck. Bldg inspection has a basis in reason, but zoning has none at all.

Exactly. Zoning ordinances are bizarre assemblies of contradictory restrictions and requirements.

There's some latitude in how some of the requirements and restrictions are applied; a lot has to do with the local geeks interpretations. Go in an talk to them, get a feel for how deep in the fire they're going to hold your feet.

Then, figure out how to get around it. You may end up going in front of the ZBA (Zoning Board of Appeals) to get what you want. There's all sorts of ins and outs for arguing the "hardship" that you need to get around to build the height structure you want.

No one way around it; it's a negotiation, a hearing, and crossed fingers. Some ZBA's are easy, others are a total PITA.

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There is a house not far from Mom's that has a very steep roof. The trusses were modified at the factory to meet zoning height restrictions, for the top 2' of rise the run is halved. It looks ridiculous.

I am on the ZBA in my town. Our last appeal was for a 12 x 16 shed, pre-built on skids and trucked in. She wanted to place it along her property line, bordering an access road to a cemetery. Her free permit was denied because Zoning says it has to be 10 feet of the lot line. Since the ordinance requires permits for anything over 140 SF, I suggested she withdraw her permit application and install two 8 x 12's anywhere she liked. Instead, the town incurred the expense of an executive session, a public hearing and the required advertising of such, solicited the written position of the Cemetery Board-requiring another executive session, and the recording costs of the variance she was granted over a free permit for a building on skids. Loony.

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