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Now You Can Build Your Shop Before Building Your House

MADERA COUNTY — When you buy a piece of property and plan to build a home, you may want to first put up a shop or storage building.

Until now, that has been illegal in Madera County.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-0 to amend Ordinance 18.04.015 to allow for the construction of one accessory structure on a vacant piece of property.

“As it is written now, if someone has a parcel and they want to put up a building to store their materials to build their primary structure, we can’t allow it,” said Deputy Director of Planning Becky Beavers.

“This change would allow owners to have one accessory structure prior to construction, subject to an approved zoning permit. The permit would mean that neighbors would be notified and have the opportunity to comment, and allow us to ensure that it doesn’t turn into a living quarters.”

County staff says they would look at each request individually to make sure the citizens of Madera County are being protected.

“If for some reason the building is being used for a purpose that it was not approved for, the zoning permit could be revoked.”

Brad Ditton of Century 21 Ditton Realty, says this change is many years late in coming.

“This has been a nightmare for people coming from other areas,” Ditton told the Board at last Tuesday’s meeting. “Good people who have all the equipment they need to build their house, and have to leave it all in storage somewhere else because they can’t store it here while they build their house. You’ve got people who have acquired tools and equipment over their whole lives, and now they can’t use it.”

The accessory structure must be located on the same parcel as the primary structure to which it is related, with noted exceptions; it must comply with setbacks, and is subject to the building permit process.

The Board voted 3-0 to approve this amendment, with District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler abstaining, and District 3 Supervisor Poythress absent.

For details on this ordinance, click here and scroll to page 154.

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