Ask a Question forum: Greenhouse Permits

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JensMidthun
May 16, 2016 4:33 PM CST
Hello,

I am looking for information about building permits and greenhouses:

- If somebody wants to build a private hobby greenhouse in the USA, do they need a building permit?
- Is there a certain size or type of greenhouse that does require building permits?
- Are these local laws or is there a nationwide standard?
- Where would you suggest that I look for more information on this subject?

Thank you,

Jens Midthun
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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
May 16, 2016 5:12 PM CST
Since I am originally from Connecticut I searched for information from the University of Connecticut (UConn) and found some information which may partly answer your question.

http://ipm.uconn.edu/documents/raw2/Securing%20a%20Building%...

Many people in the US don't bother to check if a permit is required but it would be advisable to always check with local building codes requirements. Better to be safe than sorry.
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Name: Dave
Southern wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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Nhra_20
May 16, 2016 5:17 PM CST
It would all be up to your area building codes and variances. Some towns stipulate you can only have a building so many feet high and total square feet. Or so many feet from your property line. Things like that. Check with your local municipality
Name: Rick Corey
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RickCorey
May 16, 2016 7:06 PM CST
I agree - most such regulations will be local. Town, or county, or both.
Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
May 16, 2016 7:10 PM CST
I agree. Most areas have their own codes. My greenhouse is smaller than I had planned. In our area if it's 200 sq feet or larger, it requires a permit and inspections. We stayed under that because anything that requires a permit, also is taxed. We pay enough taxes already, and didn't want to add to the load. If I run out of space, I'll just build another small one.

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Name: Dee Moore
Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a)
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DomehomeDee
May 16, 2016 7:13 PM CST
Check with your local Planning Department. Here in my area you can have a hoop house without a permit as it is considered "temporary" for a more permanent structure you need a building permit. I opted for a hoop house as I was able to get a bigger greenhouse for less money. I built wooden ends with double doors on both ends, and "windows" for fans in the ends too.
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Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
May 16, 2016 11:04 PM CST
Yes, it depends upon your local code. Are you really in Belgium?

In Nevada, a free standing greenhouse that is less that 200 sq. ft. (10' x 20') needs no permit. Over that, permits required but not everyone bothers to get them and nobody checks.

If it is attached to a building, even if there is no opening from the building to the greenhouse, it needs a permit. My greenhouse is attached to my house but there are no doors into my house. My permit requirements were that my greenhouse could withstand winds of 100 MPH and 130 MPH ultimate. In some places, there are also snow load requirements.

It all seems silly but, my greenhouse has withstood 90 MPH winds. I have a friend who has built 3 free standing greenhouses without permits and every one of them has blown away.

I had a surprise visit from the city a couple weeks ago. They saw on aireal photos that we had an extra piece on our house. The building permit said it was a greenhouse but they came out and personally inspected to make sure that's what it really was.

Daisy
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
May 16, 2016 11:52 PM CST
Cities have their own local building codes but also often individual home subdivisions have what are called a Home Owner's Association that often trump the laws of the City. An HOA is something usually agreed to simply by signing your deed for the home in that area. Another name fir this is called, "deed restrictions" can can hold up in a court of law if not abided by.
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Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
May 16, 2016 11:52 PM CST
Oh, I forgot to say, Welcome! Welcome!
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
May 17, 2016 12:11 AM CST
City law trumps HOA, Country trumps city, state trumps county and so on. My HOA says says no solar panels. My city says Yes on solar panels. I have a solar system heating my greenhouse even though my HOA says no solar panels. I am the VP of my HOA. No, no special benefits but I did do my research.

The only hiccup is that the solar panels can not be offensive to others. If you are standing 3 houses down hill, you can see my panels but no one has had a problem with them.

Daisy
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
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ShadyGreenThumb
May 17, 2016 1:27 AM CST
Interesting. @daisyl City of Houston TX doesnt care about free-standing basketball hoops in frint of homes or parked cars on the street for any length of time unless there is restrictive signage. However, our city deed restricts the basketball hoops and parking in the street for more than 24 hrs. But we can have "pretty" solar panels, too.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
May 17, 2016 8:49 AM CST
Less regulation is better for my temperament; I would not be a good HOA member. E.g., what the heck differentiates a pretty solar panel from an ugly one? That would drive me bonkers. But, to each their own.
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Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
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AnnaZ
May 17, 2016 9:34 AM CST
We live in the country and have a farm. When we made the greenhouse, we utilized a building that had been our breeding/gestation building for our sow herd. We finished off half of the 30x120 building that is now my greenhouse. No problem since it was a building we already had, and we were way far enough off of the county road that it wasn't a problem. WRONG...................some imbecile reported us to zoning and we had to go before the county zoning board.........this was AFTER it was completed and I already had plants in it. Letters had to be sent to all the landowners that had land/property adjoining ours, allowing them to appear before the board when we did to voice their complaints. Oh, yeah, you can believe that EVERYONE was going to bitch about going from a bunch of stinkin', noisy pigs to a greenhouse full of pretty, scented plants. Bottom line was that zoning only wanted our $400.00 for the hearing. Oh, and we were, in their words, "using the building for a purpose that wasn't the ORIGINAL intent". Never mind the fact that the building was built and there were no hearings or permits needed for THAT when we constructed it for hogs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And we think that the snitch was someone that was just jealous.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
May 17, 2016 10:37 AM CST
My sympathies, Anna. When we built, our first structure was an outbuilding. Depending on which inspector was harrassing us, it was sometimes a barn and sometimes a garage. One told us if it's a barn it must be on the back half of our property (across a wetland and stream, on a forested hillside - real practical). For that guy, it was clearly a garage. I think the garage guy wanted the house to be built first, or some such nonsense, so then it became a barn. If animals too close to the intended house were a problem, perhaps it was a storage shed. Whatever got them heading out the driveway... I also learned and perfected my stock answer to everything said: Oh. One can put lots of different inflections on that simple word, and in the end you can't really be quoted.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

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