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'They can have all their toys': As 'barndominiums' become more popular, regulations could change

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Posted at 5:56 PM, May 20, 2024

OCONTO COUNTY, Wis. — Construction of some "barndominiums" would be restricted in certain areas of Oconto County under a proposed zoning change.

  • A "barndominium," in general, is a building with living quarters and an attached garage with room for "toys" like boats and ATV's, said Ryan Beaber, owner of Beaber Construction
  • A proposed zoning change in Oconto County would prohibit an attached garage's footprint from being larger than the dimensions of the living quarters in the building in certain residential areas
  • The attached picture is an example of a barndominium

(The following is a transcript of the broadcast story.)

A home for people, and a home for big toys like ATV's - all in one building.

You can call it, a "barndominium."

"It might be somebody that's single that's doing it, it might be somebody that's just into outdoors that's doing it. The thought of them having a big building that they can have all their toys in, appeals to them," [said Ryan Beaber, owner of Beaber Construction].

But Oconto County is considering a zoning change in some areas that says an attached garage can't be larger than the building's living quarters.

...[Beaber] says his business could potentially lose work if the change goes through.

His company built [a barndominium in the Town of Lakewood area].

"This [building] is what would not be allowed in the proposal on an R-1 [zoned] lot, [it has] 4,000 square-feet of garage area, and...1,500 square-feet of living area," [Beaber said].

A County zoning official declined to go on camera, but said the goal of the change is be proactive and try to prevent "barndominiums" from being used as something like an auto shop in a residential area.

Beaber says barndomiums like [the one he showed NBC 26] can be part of a way of life in Oconto County.

"It goes along with being tucked into the woods."