Before you buy: building permits for Mechanicsville, VA

If you’ve landed at this blog post you have already asked the question “what kind of building or zoning permit do I need for a shed, pergola, pavilion, or gazebo?” Most of us have a general idea that permits are needed for new construction, but for buildings pre-built and then delivered things get a little fuzzy. Adding a small 8 x 10 garage or 12’ octagon gazebo isn’t a big deal, and since we own the property we get to decide what to do with it, right?

Do I need a permit to build or buy a shed - Mechanicsville, VA

Well, yes, and no. Adding an 8 x 10 garage shed wouldn’t require a building permit, but it may need a zoning permit. Suppose that new building gets placed on a gas line, and that gas line leaks? You will soon find out from the city or county that it would’ve been better to check first before installing the new building that is making your life so much easier, until now.

Much of why you may need a permit is common sense, however the process may look daunting, so we called up the Hanover County office (also the offices for Mechanicsville, VA) and got some stats for you.

Shed Permit signs

QUICK STATS

Shed Permit Requirements for Hanover County (Mechanicsville, VA)

The 10 Second Version:

  • Sheds or garages under 256 sq ft. do not require a building permit.
  • Anytime an electrical package or heating system is added you a type of building permit is required.
  • Zoning may require you to get a permit to make sure the building location is fine.
  • Setbacks in Mechanicsville require that any new building must be installed at least 5’ from rear property lines or 3’ from side property lines with possible variations that depend on locale.
  • Pergolas, Pavilions and Gazebos do not require a building permit if they are under 256 sq ft.

When do I need a Building Permit

If you are in doubt whether or not your building comes in under the 256 sq ft. size there is a simple mathematical formula to help out: multiply length x width of the building you are looking at buying and you will come up with the square footage of the structure. Most common building sizes such as 8 x 10, 12 x 20, and 14 x 18 come in under that threshold. If you’re going for a larger structure check this list to see what will be needed for a building permit.

Building Permits for buildings over 256 sq ft.

  • Get two plans of the building from manufacturer (salesman should be able to provide these).
  • Fill out this building permit application.
  • Prepare to pay fee of $99.25, and any applicable charges for especially large structures.
  • Submit plans, application and fee to the Hanover County Building Inspection office.
  • Contact information is phone #: (804) 365-6040, and location is at 7516 County Complex Rd, Hanover, VA 23069.

Hanover County also has a handy place to check the status of permits online.

When do I need a Zoning Permit

Most of the available spaces in the east are crisscrossed with property, gas, water and electricity lines, so the answer is that you will probably need a zoning permit. Because this varies so much by address it is necessary to find out from the Zoning office what the permissions are for your property. Check out the list below for how to do that:

  • Call the Zoning office to find out what the specific zoning is for your address at phone #: (804) 365-6171, or email planning@hanovercounty.gov.
  • Keep in mind that setbacks in Mechanicsville are that the building must be 3’ from the line on the sides and 5’ from the rear of the property line.
  • If the building will house any animals you may need special permissions.
  • Tip from the Hanover office: remember that your community may have organizations that decide on colors, styles, and placements of buildings.
  • Honorable mention: the building office pointed out to us that accessory structures are usually not allowed to be place in a front yard.

Building and Zoning Permits for Pergolas, Pavilions and Gazebos

The good news for outdoor living structure permits is that if you are buying a gazebo, pergola or pavilion you probably won’t need to buy a building permit. The only exception to this would be if the building is over 256 sq ft. or you are planning to use it for a commercial venue.

Permits for pergolas, pavilions and gazebos

  • Residential – any building under 256 sq. ft. does not require a permit.
  • Commercial – any accessory structure plus or minus 256 sq ft. will need a permit, regardless of size.

Do I need a permit? - Mechanicsville, VA

That’s it, and happy shopping to all you Mechanicsville VA/Hanover County folks!

Do I need a permit? - Mechanicsville, VA

Want more shed options to dream about? See our photo gallery!

As of  December 2016 this information was accurate. And the links worked! Please — let us know if anything needs to be corrected, updated, or expanded.