A town can end up with some strange house-outbuilding pairings when any building within six feet of the house is considered an attached garage, and the code has no limit on the size of said garage.

Safety and consideration for the hypothetical neighbors are two reasons officials in the May Township are contemplating narrowing the rules governing garages. 

Namely, an attached garage must be attached to and no larger than the footprint of the house. 

According to town planner Nate Sparks, a maximum size would ensure a pole barn type attached garage does not become the principle structure of the property. 

Sparks noted, however, that even a very small house should be able to have a 1,000 square foot attached garage. 

The town’s building inspector, Jack Kramer, said Nov. 1 that large unattached garages carry risks from drainage problems to increased chance of fire that can spread to the home.

The proposed ordinance would eliminate the “within six feet” definition for attached garages. 

Further, as Town Chair Bill Voedisch has pointed out, the town has limits on the size and number of detached accessory buildings, but not on the size and number of attached garages. 

The proposed ordinance limits the number of attached garages to two, and a footprint no larger than the house’s.

Other limits may also be considered at a planning commission meeting this Thursday, including that attached garages be no higher than the roof of the house, and that the garage be finished to look like an extension of the house. 

The May Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to discuss the proposed ordinance this Thursday, Nov. 29, at 7 p.m. at the May Town Hall.

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