Zoning Regulations (17:9-44)

The classic Americana front porch is a defining characteristic on most homes in Plainfield. Porches serve more than just a place to catch a breeze at the end of the day, but are the entrances to your home. Invest in strong, durable and tasteful materials when repairing your front porch. The zoning code does not allow for certain material changes and structural alterations to ensure the longevity of the porch and to protect property values. The following regulations should be adhered to when repairing or building porches:

 

Tongue and Groove Floor

Porch flooring shall not be made of structural lumber/pressure treated decking. Decking generally has spaces between the planks of wood while tongue and groove floors fit together like a puzzle piece, similar to hardwood floors in your home.

Non Pressure Treated Wood for Floor

Woods such as mahogany, fir, etc. are acceptable. This does not apply to the steps, posts or railings (unless you live in a historic district!).

Enclosures

Front porches are not permitted to be fully enclosed. Porches and decks shall not be heated or air conditioned and at least fifty percent (50%) of the exterior wall area shall be open and nonglazed. 

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Setbacks

For all residential structures, porches shall not be located in the required side yard setback area but may be located in the required front or rear yard setback area, provided they do not extend more than eight (8) feet into the front yard setback area. Porches shall not be closer than seventeen (17) feet to the front property line and twenty-two (22) feet to the rear property line. 

Steps

Steps for porches and decks shall not be located closer than six (6) feet from the property line.

Upper story structures on Porches

Upper story structures are not permitted over decks/porches if those decks/porches encroach into required yards. 

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Non-Detached Residential & Commercial Uses

For townhouses, apartments and nonresidential uses, decks and porches may not extend into any required yard setback area. 

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Historic Preservation

Homes in historic districts will need to go before the Historic Preservation Commission. For more information, please contact the Planning Division at 908-753-3391.