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Edward, Home Seller in Wicker Park, Chicago,...

Carport Issues in Chicago

Asked by Edward, Wicker Park, Chicago, IL Fri Apr 18, 2008

We own a condo in a three flat in Wicker Park and the condo association is trying to install a carport with garage door in the parking area in the rear of the building. We all feel that this will definitely add value to the building on a sale. The issue is that we need to put the posts at the edge of the property line for all three cars to fit easily. If we install a garage door, we have to leave several feet of space on one side (maybe install a gate) so there's a way out of the building in the rear other than the garage door to get a permit. The builidngs on either side are so close that you can't count the space between the buildings as that second way out. We really can't afford to lose a couple of feet on either side of the carport and the association does not have an appetite for a carport without a garage door.

Has anyone on this board encountered a similar issue? Have you seen garage doors in Chicago that also have a residential door built in? Any ideas?

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Edward, I am trying to build an open carport with a deck on top. Can you tell me your cross streets so I can check yours out for ideas, what architect did you use? Chris
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 3, 2014
You should check out the property at 2306 W. Chicago and it will answer all your questions. It is the best way to have a carport with the door.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
Thanks for all the responses. We did get an architect and he originally delivered plans with several feet of space on one side per the code. We told him that would not work with the space we had and he agreed to eliminate the space. However, when we submitted the plans and tried to get the permit, the city would not grant a permit without the space or a second exit in the rear of the building. It's very frustrating given we've walked the alleys of Wicker Park and found numerous garages without an apparent second exit. Note that if there's sufficient space between your building and your neighbors, you could count that space as the second exit. Unforntunately, our builing only as about two feet between it and the neighboring buildings. Has anyone here had any luck getting a variance from your alderman in a similar situation? The worst part is that the association (our poor association president bearing most of the load) has spent money on an architect, lined up a contractor, ran back and forth to the city permit office and worked on this for a couple of months, and now we are back to exactly where we started.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008

Have you consulted an architect? I'm a Wicker Park resident and the majority of garages have no way of getting to the alley other than opening the garage door itself. Plenty of new construction uses the full width of the lot (standard 25ft wide) to build a 3 car garage for a 3 flat. I can't see why you would be required to build a door into the garage door to obtain a permit as I've never seen it in the city. I don't know all the details but to me it doesn't seem necessary based on what I see on a daily basis. I'd like to know more.

Best of luck, Ken.
Web Reference: http://www.KDRchicago.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 20, 2008
Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds as though you have already contacted the Building Department and they indicated that you can build this carport, with a garage door. If I read you correctly, they have asked that you include a "Man Door" at the rear of the now enclosed lot. I would assume they want this door to be a minimum of what? 32" ? 34"? 36"?

It appears you are indicating that you would not have room for a 3 car garage door and the required "Man Door" or gate. This sounds like a pretty straight forward problem for an Architect. A local Architect should be able to advise you on the local code, and design a carport and entry system for you and your cars as required by the city.

I am making an assumption that you have a 25 ft wide lot. You probably need 7 feet per car. which leaves you only 3 feet. Since the "Posts" you mentioned take some space, you do not have the room for all the things you need across the back. So you're thinking, how can I design a door that will satisfy the requirements of the city, and get me the three parking spaces for the cars. Right?

The problem you will have with your creative idea of incorporating a "man door" into a "garage door" is that if there is 3 cars parked, there is no unobstructed egress from the back yard to what I assume is an alley.

How do you get out and the firemen get in? How does the garbage get collected? Are your garbage bins stored and removed from this area? How do you handle this now with three cars parked? Do you have to move a car, or do you just make it all fit because you are not obstructed?

This is an interesting question and maybe there is a solution out there that will allow you all the things you need. How about an elevator? Really! I think talking to an Architect is your best bet.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 18, 2008
Installing a garage door may also change the definition of the structure, causing it to be subject to property setback regulations. You'll need a variance to build all the way to the property line, so I would start in your alderman's office, because a variance won't happen without the alderman's blessing. -Inspector Mike Savage
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 18, 2008
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