What if my shed needs a building permit?
If your shed is over 256 square feet you will need a permit, but the process is pretty simple.
- Fill out an application at the office. Those are not available online as of this writing. (They do have worksheet for you to fill out before you come. Rockingham County Building Permit Worksheet
- Pay the permit fee. Fees grow as your building gets bigger. For a storage building, those fees start around $50.
- Ask when to schedule the inspection. You want to be sure that you get your building signed off.
- Permits are usually available within 10 days of application. But remember that summer is busy season for building.
Jay Carter is the Plan Reviewer with the county. As we talked, Jay pointed out the advantages of going with a reputable company like Byler. If a DIY builder is “building from scratch,” the county will have to ask for more specific details, and the inspector is going to look at the building more closely. The advantage of Bylers is that the entire process should go faster, and there’s little chance of inspection failure. He says, “You all have done a lot of work — it takes the guess work out of it. I love the pre-fab sheds because there’s not a whole lot to go wrong. We like them.”
In fact, Byler Barns has the engineered drawings of all our standard sheds on file at the Rockingham County offices. They have been pre-approved, making your job easy.
Jay suggests, however, that if you need a permit, you should still bring in a drawing of the building. This allows them to stamp it and give it back to you, so you have your own copy of the approval. Your Byler sales rep can give you that drawing.
Even if your shed doesn’t need a building permit, you still need a zoning permit. This deals with 3 primary issues:
- Utilities. You want to avoid setting your shed on top of gas lines, cable, water, sewer, electric, and so on. If the gas company comes to repair a line, and your shed is sitting on top of the leak, a few earnest conversations will follow, and they’re likely to win.
- Easements. This is similar to the first issue. Easements are the land that you get to seed, fertilize, and mow because you own it. Easements are also the land utility companies can dig up as though they owned it. It’s a great working arrangement.
- Setbacks. Setbacks are the distance your buildings sits from your property lines. Minimum setbacks are 5 ft. from all property lines in your backyard. But depending on where you are in the county, or or if you have a large building (over 580 sq. ft), your setbacks will be higher.
Don’t neglect the zoning permit. Jay is clear: they aren’t driving around the county and policing the placement of your shed. But when you go to sell, the bank will probably do a survey of your property. If you haven’t placed your shed correctly, you may need to move it. Or worse, remove it. As Jay says, “It’s unpleasant when we have to tell people to move a building.”
Getting a zoning permit is easy.
- Sometimes it takes only a phone call (540-564-3030).
- Other times, you may need to stop by the office at 20 E. Gay St., Harrisonburg. (Map this.)
Either way, it’s not usually a lengthy or difficult process.
As of September 2016 this information was accurate. And the links worked! Please — let us know if anything needs to be corrected, updated, or expanded.