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Accessory Stuctures

Accessory structures can include sheds, gazebos, arbors, trellises, pools, decks, patios and patio covers, satellite dishes, solar equipment, pergolas, shade canopies and the like. These structures are clearly incidental and secondary to the primary use of the property, usually a single-family home.

Do I Need a Building Permit?

The answer is, "it depends". If the accessory structure is 120 square feet or more, and/or you want to have electricity or plumbing in the building, you will need a building permit. However, if the building is under 120 square feet, and it does not have electricity or plumbing, you do not need a building permit.

Where Can I Place My Accessory Structure?

If you would like to put an accessory structure on your property, the allowable location can vary based on a multitude of factors. If the accessory structure is attached to the primary structure or residence, then the setback and height requirement are determined by the applicable Zoning District in which you live.

Check your zoning

Structures located in the rear or side yard and less than 7-feet in height are not subject to setback requirements. Structures located in the rear or side yard and over 7-feet in height must maintain a 5-foot setback from all property lines. The combined maximum square footage of all detached accessory structures exceeding 7-feet shall not exceed 1,000 square feet.

How Tall Can it Be?

If the proposed accessory structure is detached, then the maximum height allowed by ordinance is 15 feet. Front yard entry features, such as trellises, arbors, and arches, cannot exceed a height of 8-feet and a width of 7-feet. The entry feature should emphasize the front door to a residence and is not attached to the building.


Residential Estate (R-E) lots:
  • Rear yard: 10-feet from property line
  • Interior side yard: 10 feet from property line
  • Corner side yard: As required by the zoning district
  • Front yard: As required by the zoning district

When a detached accessory structure is taller than 7 feet and abuts a 20 foot public alley, the rear yard setback may be reduced to zero feet (0') for a length not to exceed 1/3 the width of the parcel.

For more information or concerns about a building permit, please contact:

Building and Safety Division
156 S. Broadway, Ste. 130
Turlock, CA 95380-5454
(209) 668-5560
Monday - Friday, 8AM - 5PM

For more information or concerns about a setback requirements, please contact:

Planning Division
156 S. Broadway, Ste. 120
Turlock, CA 95380-5456
(209) 668-5640
Monday - Friday, 8AM - 5PM

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