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Zoning, Building, & Bringing Your Dome to Life

  • 6 min read

Adding a geodesic dome to your property can provide additional flexibility and allow you to use the extra space how you’d like. However, many cities and counties have different building and zoning regulations that residents have to follow. By working closely with your local zoning department, you’ll be able to get an understanding of what’s required before setting up your geodesic dome.

One thing to keep in mind is that building and zoning laws vary widely across the country; even neighboring counties can have entirely different regulations and restrictions in place for geodomes and other accessory dwelling units. We recommend getting an idea of the size you’re hoping to make your geodesic dome home, talking to the zoning department, then purchasing the geodesic dome kit of your choice.

Why Does Zoning Exist?

Zoning laws and regulations are often passed in local elections, so if you have an opinion on the matter, that’s the best place to make yourself heard. Most of the regulations are based on safety, but they’ll also focus on property lines, building size, and even the aesthetic of new construction. For instance, some towns only allow one specific material, such as brick, to be used in certain areas. Perhaps your municipality requires new builds to be under a certain height or have specific structural mechanisms for common weather patterns that may come through.

Preparing for Zoning Issues

Though the popularity of geodomes is booming all over the world, some zoning offices may not be as familiar with these structures. If you go into the conversation immediately asking questions about geodomes, you may spend more time explaining what they are than actually getting the answers you need.

Some customers find it easier to ask about zoning for additional structures on your property in a broader sense, then switch to accessory dwelling units or semi-permanent structures, before finally, leading into the conversation of geodesic domes specifically.

Zoning Requirements

Geodesic homes are much smaller in width and height than most permanent homes, so usually, size isn’t an issue when it comes to zoning. Still, the zoning department may want to see blueprints and details of exactly what structure will be added to your property. There may be certain fire safety or weather safety issues you run into with geodomes, but we’ve found that those are fairly minimal in most areas of the U.S.

Zoning Loopholes

Because geodomes are not fully permanent structures and don’t require a foundation, you may be able to get around many different zoning regulations. Most zoning laws exist for permanent structures in the area and are not as concerned with semi-permanent structures. Either way, you’ll have to get approved by the zoning department before you can bring your dome home, so be sure to start the process early and involve the right people during the beginning phases.

Building a Geodome

If building permits are required, getting your hands on them can be a bit more difficult than the zoning process. Usually, the zoning department works closely with the process of granting building permits, so they can give you an idea of what the investment will be and who you need to get approval from in the next phase – the building phase!

The cost and stipulations on building permits will vary depending on where you live, just like zoning. In some areas of California, building permits can cost thousands of dollars, whereas, in other parts of the country, building permits could be free or only require a small fee. The need for a building permit will depend on many factors, such as:

  • The design of the structure and whether or not it will be considered a permanent structure. Usually, structures that require a foundation will be considered permanent in most areas. Ekodome’s geodesic domes do not require a separate foundation, so you may be able to get by without a building permit.
  • Planned location in relation to property lines. To avoid property disputes and issues with building too close to property lines, building permits will only be granted if they are well within their boundaries.
  • The size of the structure is important as well. As the domes get bigger in size, counties may require an active building permit to be in place prior to assembly.
  • One of the last main factors is the purpose of the dome. If you’re going to use it as a greenhouse, you may have a different experience with building permits than if you’re going to try and rent it out as a short-term rental.

When it comes to new structures, the respective government offices will look at many factors. You may find yourself having to explain over and over again what a geodesic dome is and how it will be used because building geodesic domes is a much newer trend in many places.

You Can’t Avoid, but You Can Simplify

We never recommend the approach of “do it now and ask questions later,” because this is a large financial undertaking, and you’ll want to have all your ducks in a row before purchasing one of our geodesic dome kits. Much of the process will likely be simplified once it’s clear that this is not a permanent structure, but rather, an incredibly sturdy semi-permanent structure.

One of the best ways to simplify all items related to zoning and building is to get your city or county office involved early. For the most part, the employees at these offices are extremely knowledgeable and happy to help.

Contact Our Team Today

While we can’t get the zoning and building legwork done for you, we are happy to help provide our experience together with all the documentation needed. Keep in mind that the help we can provide will not be specific to your location, so you’ll have to work with the respective offices in your area to get the necessary assurance regarding zoning and building permits. Once the logistics are taken care of, you can place your order and start assembling your dome!

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