Issues with Existing Carports or Garages

Issues with Existing Carports or Garages

Garage Addition to House

At Change of Plan, I’ve had a lot of people ask me why they run into trouble when they put in a planning application to build an extra unit or house on a block of land that has a separately approved garage/carport in the frontage.

Recently, a home owner contacted me when their planning application was refused by the council because when you submit an application for a second dwelling, everything, including existing structures such as carports are on the table for consideration.

How we get into trouble

May be common sense to assume just because the carport was approved once upon a time, it’s still bound by the same approval. They believe there shouldn’t be a problem because there was no initial objection to it and they got a building permit. Or people may just build a carport without notifying the Council and run into trouble at a later stage.

How the council sees it

In the eyes of the Council, the development is a totally new development which means everything must be taken into consideration, even legal structures.  A similar view has been taken by VCAT (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal) when such refusals have been appealed.

Factors to consider

When considering the potential to build a second dwelling on your property there are many things that need to be considered including providing for both houses to have somewhere to park and to have a small open space as a backyard.

Many people are unaware of this requirement and find the new dwelling simply cannot fit in the rear area when space has to be made for backyards and two carports/garages.

If that is the case, adding a new carport to the front setback (the space between your front wall and the front-most boundary of your property) may alter the character of the neighbourhood and would not be allowed.

What you can do

It’s easy to think that once you’ve got a carport or you go ahead and build one regardless you’re “home free.” You may end up spending a lot of money and time only to find out you can’t proceed with the rest of your project to build a second unit.

My advice is to get proper planning advice prior to putting plans in practice. That means getting planning advice from a town planning or building professional to guide you through.

If you are in the middle of a sticky situation dealing with a two dwelling development on a property with an existing structure, I would be happy to discuss it with you.