City receives complaints, inquiries on shed setback requirements
KINGMAN – The Planning and Zoning Commission is looking at shed placement in the City of Kingman after receiving inquiries from residents regarding setback requirements and the absence of development appearance criteria for accessory structures less than 200 square feet.
“If an accessory structure, including sheds, is less than 200 square feet in size, property owners do not need to attain a building permit or meet the development appearance criteria,” explained City Planner Sylvia Shaffer.
However, since property owners don’t have to obtain a building permit, Shaffer said many are unaware they still have to meet setback requirements.
“Basically, they can be up to 4 feet to the rear and then they’d have to meet all the side setbacks,” she said.
The cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Flagstaff, like Kingman, do not require building permits for accessory structures less than 200 square feet. But Scottsdale requires Planning Services staff to review the site plan prior to accessory structure placement, and Flagstaff requires a zoning permit.
After addressing accessory structure regulations in other Arizona cities, Shaffer provided the commission with a few options to help mitigate the issue. One would be to revise the zoning ordinance to require a Planning and Zoning permit or review of all accessory structures prior to placement on lots within City limits.
Commissioner Scott McCoy asked staff how many complaints or inquiries the City has received on the issue. Shaffer said there have been about a dozen in the past year, with building official and Assistant Fire Chief Keith Eaton later adding that the building department gets three to six questions on the issue each month.
McCoy asked for confirmation that there is already an ordinance dealing with setback requirements, which he received from Shaffer. The city planner explained that the matter before commissioners was less about changing any regulation and more to do with ensuring the public is aware of the ordinance already in place regarding setback requirements.
Commissioner Terry Shores believes requiring reviews for accessory structures less than 200 square feet would negatively impact City staff.
“You all are already stretched very thin, and I think that would impact the City greatly,” she said. “I think, if there is concern over the sheds, just put a flash bulletin on the website. Sheds: these are the requirements and you must observe the setbacks.”
She said local suppliers should be made aware of setback requirements. McCoy also supported an “informational campaign.”
“It’s an informational issue because the ordinance already exists,” McCoy said. “So why create another one?”
But Commissioner Laurie DeVries is not opposed to a quick “5-minute review” by the Planning and Zoning Department to ensure setbacks are met.
“It gives our community an opportunity to go ask and get exactly what they need so they do it right the first time,” she said.
Another issue before the commission dealt with prefabricated sheds and metal buildings, and the proposal to get rid of appearance criteria and roof requirements, respectively.
The City could exempt prefabricated sheds from the development appearance criteria for accessory structures larger than 200 square feet. Metal buildings used as accessory structures, like garages, would not be exempt from appearance criteria. This change would do away with the current requirement for stucco or siding over metal sheds.
“If we get a shed that’s over 200 square feet that does require a permit, and they come in, they are required to meet the development appearance criteria and sometimes these metal ones don’t,” Shaffer said. “So we were asking to exempt those types of sheds from the development appearance criteria.”
Commissioners declined to vote on permits relating to sheds and appearance criteria for prefabricated sheds Tuesday, instead asking staff to bring back additional information. However, commissioners did unanimously approve an exemption of metal buildings from roof requirements in the development appearance criteria. Commissioners Terry Hunsicker and Elizabeth Goss were absent.