Are you dreaming of building a detached garage plan?

First published in The East Nashvillian Volume 1, Issue 5, May – June 2011

Over the years, I have answered many questions about building garages. (in Nashville, TN) Garages can be an asset to a property and provide much needed space for homes with little storage. There are so many variables when deciding to build a garage, so this will give you a start for the process.

First, you will need to determine your zoning and overlays; for example, Urban Zoning Overlay (UZO), Historic Conservation, or Historical Preservation Overlay. You can find this information on the property maps at the Metro government site. The smallest two-car garage I recommend is 24’ x 24’. In the UZO, the maximum square footage of your garage is 700 sq. ft. or half the square footage of your home, whichever is greater. Usually you can build a garage no taller than your house with vertical walls rising no higher than twenty-four feet. If your property is located outside the UZO boundaries, the maximum square footage of your garage is 700 sq. ft., and garage vertical walls may rise no higher than sixteen feet tall. Otherwise, you will have to apply for a variance at the Building Codes department.

Garage Plan #G102
Garage Plan #G102

Of course, before you start building a garage, I highly recommend you at least get your property lines “pinned” by a surveyor. It’s best to have a complete survey done on your property locating all property corners, buildings, easements, trees you may want to keep, fences, flood plains, etc.

Building code restrictions are subject to change even as I am typing. This information is meant to get you started thinking about what questions you will need to ask your  residential designer and the building code official.

Don’t forget to CHECK OUT our FAQs for Garages, Outbuildings & Tiny Houses!


UPDATE: Recently this ordinance passed in Nashville, TN – ORDINANCE NO. BL2011-900

– (Enacted 05/17/2011) An ordinance amending various sections of Title 17 of the Metropolitan Code, Zoning Regulations, to modify Section 17.04.060.B (Definitions of General Terms), by adding definitions for “Accessory Apartment” and “Accessory Dwelling, Detached”, modifying Section 17.08.030 (District Land Use Tables – Residential Uses) to add “Accessory Dwelling, Detached” as a use permitted with conditions (PC) within Historic Overlay Districts within the R, RM, OR20, OR40, and ORI zoning districts, and modifying Section 17.16.030.A (Uses Permitted with Conditions: Residential Uses) to add standards for an “Accessory Dwelling, Detached” (Proposal No. 2011Z-005TX-001).

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