Remodel & Renovate in 95050>Question Details

tverdosky10, Home Owner in San Jose, CA

I live in Santa Clara, California. Can I convert my detached garage to attached? I will lose one of my two sideway access by doing so.

Asked by tverdosky10, San Jose, CA Wed Apr 10, 2013

I currently have a detached garage where there's an opening to the backyard between the front of the garage and the back of my house. I want to make my garage attached which means I will lose one access to the backyard. Does anyone know if this is allowed in Santa Clara, CA?

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Have you checked with the City yet? Many guidelines are online, and they are usually helpful even when you just walk in. I've seen homes done both ways in Santa Clara-you just want to ensure you are in compliance and have a permit before you start.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 20, 2015
The building code generally requires an emergency exit from bedrooms in addition to the main exit. This is usually met by having a window of an appropriate size and location. Attaching the garage may block windows?

Most cities have maximum lot coverage formulas. These have changed over the years. Attaching the garage may put you over the maximum lot coverage.

There are setback requirements from property lines which pretty much guarantee outside access to your backyard but I've never come across a specific requirement for providing access to a backyard. There is no requirement that you have to provide access to your backyard directly from the inside of your house at the back or side.

Garages have stricter fire resistance requirements (typically thicker sheet rock and fire resistant doors) if they are attached to a house.

There is a good chance you could attache your garage. Talk to the Santa Clara City building department. Links useful to Santa Clara City homeowners are at:

Juliana Lee
Top 2 agent nationwide at Keller Williams Realty
Cell 650-857-1000

Over 30 years experience
Over 1,000 homes sold in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
Sounds like a great idea. Benefits: take your groceries in directly from your garage to your dwelling. Make your backyard more privately accessible and secure. Given that you still have side access this shouldn't be a major issue.

To give you a broad answer: If what you're proposing is just making an interior hallway between the garage and house there shouldn't be any major planning objections from SC. As mentioned before, only knowing actual details about your property can fully answer your question. There are plenty of tricky details that require consideration for this kind of addition.

We are a construction company located in Santa Clara and can provide a design/build quote for you.

Whatever you do, always get a permit and do it right the first time. Once you sell your property the buyer & mortgage company will want to see proof of your final permit signatures.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013
Hi tverdosky10:

Good advice below; here's how to follow-up with finding out what you can do:

City of Santa Clara Permit Center

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013
It depends... Go to the building department in Santa Clara and ask. The shape of the lot, the location of the house on the lot, setbacks, zoning and many other factors may affect the final outcome.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013
The issue you may run into here is encroachment of your home's setbacks. If your detached garage is less than 5 feet from the property line and you want to attach it then you will likely need a variance from the planning department. This has to do with fire safety. The 5 foot setbacks on each side help prevent fires from spreading to nearby properties.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013
This should not be a problem, however, without actually seeing how your property is laid out on its lot it is possible that there can be some challenges. There are many homes that have had detached garages in which the homes or garages have been remodeled and connecting the two. The city Panning department will be glad to help you with your specific property. You will find that the City of Santa Clara Planning Department is very helpful to the citizens of Santa Clara. I personally interact with them all the time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013
It will be up to the Building Department. You can go to the city and meet with an inspector to discuss the scope of your work.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013
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