Lions Realty Group brokered by eXp Realty California Inc DRE#01878277
Taunee English, Lions Realty Group brokered by eXp Realty California Inc DRE#01878277Phone: (310) 770-8018
Email: [email protected]

Zoning: Things to Remember When Building an Outbuilding or Fence

by Taunee English 11/14/2021

Property owners typically think of zoning regulations concerning building placement as a form of land use. In some ways, the idea of gaining permission to place or erect a structure limits how a property owner can use the parcel. But regulations concerning specific measurements between other elements take this notion a step further. Even when a type of structure is allowable under local zoning guidelines, it still must conform to placement guidelines. The following examples highlight how zoning affects building placement and construction.

Where Should You Place An Outbuilding?

Consider the hypothetical situation in which a homeowner purchases or builds an outbuilding that conforms to zoning regulations. At some stage of the process, the contractor or property owner will secure a permit. The application will probably show precisely where the structure will live. Most times, local guidelines allow outbuildings to sit relatively close to property lines. It’s not unusual for the distance to be as close as 5-15 feet to the abutter’s lot.

Now consider the property owner’s desire to upgrade that same code-conforming structure to an in-law apartment or tiny house for a family member. It’s entirely possible the outbuilding cannot be upgraded and gain an occupancy permit because it rests too close to a property line or street. Formal living spaces may require setbacks of upwards of 25 feet or more from boundary lines in some areas.

When Is A Fence Too Close To A Property Line?

It’s essential for homeowners to get fact-based information regarding fences and walls from local building officials. Going online and running a search can lead to distances that may not apply in your area.

It’s widely agreed upon that any fence must be erected on the property owner’s land. But the fencing may need to be set back far enough for a homeowner to make reasonable repairs without standing on a neighbor’s land. The conventional wisdom behind this stems from not limiting another person’s use. By that same token, some municipalities include codes that expressly give fence owners the right to walk on the abutter’s property to maintain and repair a fence.

In some states, a stone wall represents a permanent boundary regardless of what the land survey shows. The essential point is to never build a fence without knowing the correct distance in your community.

Like outbuildings and fences, items such as private wells and septic systems also come with minimum distance regulations. These examples highlight the fact that positioning buildings and structures on a property requires thoughtful consideration and planning.  

About the Author

Taunee English


2019 Beverly Hills/Los Angeles REALTOR of the YEAR!

Taunee English is third-year award winning Real Estate Broker. She is the new Branch Manager of Beverly Hills, Lions Realty Group of eXp Realty California Inc a ResiMercial Brokerage serving Greater Los Angeles and the 2019 winner of Los Angeles Real Estate Agency Award!

She is an U.S Navy Veteran, and she is as devoted to entrepreneurship and professional development as she is to our country. Taunee serves as 2021 Treasurer and Chair of Professional Development Committee at Greater Los Angeles REALTORS® Association.

She also serves as a State Director and 2021 Chair of the Communications Advisory Committee at the California Association of REALTORS®.

Taunee English is strong supporter of Women In Leadership and is one of the founding members and 2021 President of LA/Beverly Hills Women's Council of REALTORS®.

She is very committed to increasing more Diversity, Inclusion and Equity in the Real Estate industry and is the founding member and the 2021 Treasurer of the California Association of Black Real Estate Professionals.

And most of all she devoted daughter to her parents - a mother that she plays Twinsie with fashion photo shoots at least three times a year and a father who has the onset of Alzheimer which prompted Taunee to obtain her certificate in Fiduciary Management from UC Riverside and to further her work with families in establishing trusts and avoiding probate.

Broker Associate of eXp Realty of California Inc. License ID: 01878277