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Ripon tinkering with accessory building rules covering homes
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The City of Ripon is looking to change the zoning code relating to accessory structures, patio covers and recreational vehicle covers.

But first things first – an amendment to the “Dimension Regulations” to the Development Code is required.

“The North Pointe Specific Plan kicked off new zoning and so we need to look at our regulations for accessory buildings and shade structures,” said Planning Director Ken Zuidervaart at the Ripon City Council meeting on Jan. 8.

The North Pointe Specific Plan is the residential / commercial mixed-use development along Jack Tone Road and Fulton Avenue.

At the public hearing, he noted that the current code says that an accessory structure can be no closer than 10 feet to the rear of the property line. The proposed changes, if approved, would allow for these structures to be placed within five feet of the rear of the property line, if backed up to non-residential, without use of a permit.

“This would apply to all residential lots except Medium and High Density lots,” said Zuidervaart, with the latter being required to come before the Planning Commission for approval with a site plan.

The height limit for homes would be 12 foot when measured by the type of roof line.

“If you are trying to match the house, it could look different if you limit the height,” Councilman Daniel de Graaf said.

Added Mayor Leo Zuber: “A structure should not exceed the height of the main house,” he said.

The current size for an accessory structure will remain at 720 square feet. For lots in the excess of 10,000 feet, Zuidervaart indicated that the accessory structure may exceed the 720-square-foot limit but only if it doesn’t exceed the overall lot coverage or the rear yard.

Zuber pointed out that the patio and shade structure have remained the same with the exception of the rear yard area coverage not covering more than 30 percent of the rear yard.

“If they have five feet left within the allowed building area and have a 13-foot setback, what can they do?” he asked.

Zuidervaart responded by saying: “They can take up half of that 13-foot area for a patio cover.”

He added that a detached patio covers can be within three feet of the side property line and are limited to 12 feet in height and no closer than three of the rear property lines.

Staff will bring back changes to this ordinance for next month’s meeting for an introduction and a first reading.

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