Marshall changes deck ordinance

MARSHALL — A change to city ordinances means Marshall residents may be able to build bigger decks at their homes.

After a short public hearing Tuesday night, Marshall City Council members voted to approve proposed changes to city ordinances, which allow decks or uncovered porches to extend further into a residence’s front yard. Decks can now project up to eight feet into Marshall’s required front yard space of 25 feet.

Marshall assistant city engineer Jason Anderson explained the ordinance change at the hearing. Marshall’s current zoning ordinances require houses to have front yards that extend at least 25 feet back from the street. Under the ordinances, decks or uncovered porches were allowed in front yards, but they could only extend up to six feet into the required 25-foot front yard space.

City staff said there are other Minnesota cities that regulate decks in residential front yards, but the requirements vary. Some cities allow bigger or smaller decks than Marshall, while others don’t allow decks to extend into required front yard space.

In December, both the Marshall Planning Commission and the Legislative and Ordinance Committee voted to recommend allowing decks to extend further into required front yards — up to eight feet. Other requirements of the ordinance were that the floor of the deck or porch be no higher than the entrance floor of the house, and that open railings on the deck be no taller than three feet, six inches.

In discussion of the proposal, city council member James Lozinski asked how the new ordinances would affect houses set back further than 25 feet from the street. For example, he asked, if the front yard was 30 feet, would the deck be allowed to stick out up to 13 feet from the house?

“Yes,” Anderson replied. As long as the deck only extended eight feet or less into the required yard, it would be allowed.

Council members unanimously approved a motion to adopt the amended ordinance.