$$$ impact of no garage



I am wondering if you can help us…our town has turned down our zoing variance request for a garage citing that we did not prove “economic hardship” supporting our needs. It occurs to me that since we live in the Northeast US (Maine to be exact) there might be statictics or information about the financial cost/impact of keeping a car outside in the acid rain, snow, salt water, wind etc. Can you point us to such information that we can use to talk our town fathers into letting us build a garage.


PS> we have two Hondas if that makes a difference.


Actually, in the winter it is more cost effective to leave a vehicle outside rather than in a garage since the road salt doesn’t cause rust until the air warms up. Therefore, by leaving a salt-covered car outside, you are not allowing rust to form. If you left it in a garage, the snow and ice (and salt) would melt and your car would rust faster.

And anyway, cars are designed to withstand the environment. Ford tried to say their paint delaminated back in the 90’s because of the UV rays from the sun. A judge called Ford on this saying what car company builds cars than can’t withstand the expected environment. Sorry, but you’d need to have a real good case as to why you ‘need’ a garage.


Way south of you in Massachusetts, I’m very happy to have a garage in the winter. My car is 8 years old, so it’s starting to show it’s age. When I keep the car in the garage, it stays warm enough over night, so in the morning starting it up is no problem at all.

When I leave my car outside all night, it has a much harder time starting in the morning.

I’m sure the warmer starts, the difference between mid-20s in the garage, as opposed to sub-zero outside, actually will contribute to the car’s longevity.


Not the answer that I wanted, but a good argument…are you on the board of appeals somewhere in Maine by chance :slight_smile:


do you have any “official” sources that we can quote that confirms this? We need proof of “negatived economic impact” to make a case


Are you the only ones that have ever requested a garage? If there are others who have succeded, talk the them about how they went about the process. I don’t think you can actualy prove economic hardship.

Let’s face it, others do without a garage all the time and suffer inconvenience only, not actual economic hardship. Sitting outside in the winter is not the big of a deal as far as the car is concerned. The main thing is being able to get the car off the street so that nobody plows into it in the winter.


Yeah, I’m sure you didn’t want to hear it. I’m in eastern Ontario, so I have similar winter weather you have in Maine. I don’t have a garage, and while I wouldn’t mind having one, I don’t think a garage is a necessity, and certainly not something required due to economic hardship.

And no, I’m not on the Maine board of appeals, although I guess I could have a future if I ever move to Maine :slight_smile:

Good luck, though.


Harder winter starting can be combatted by using a block heater, which costs a whole lot less than a garage. Hell, even a new battery every couple years costs a lot less than a garage.
That’s not to say I don’t like them, garages are great, but they certainly aren’t a fix for an economic hardship, nor would they necessarily prevent it.


Keeping a car under well ventilated cover is better for the life of the paint; keeps rain, hail, bird droppings, branches, sunlight from deteriorating the paint. Tires too can deteriorate from sunlight. You might want to investigate the ruling authorities to determine who has a garage. If most do, how can they in good conscience refuse you a permit to garage your car?

Could a car painter or body shop help you with concrete evidence for your quest?

Consider a roof only type shelter to get your car out of what falls from the sky.


they stated that they do not believe that it is a “right” to have a garage.


good thots…thanks. Tho, even a roof only type structure needs a variance. Wish that reason would rule here…but doesn’t seem to be in the cards


i don’t know how to attach linnks to this but if you go to google.com and type in salt car rust effects you’ll find dozens of sites stating about rust weaking your cars chassis, if you can find a site that states a garage helps keep salt off you should be set, good luck


But a garage doesn’t keep salt off the car, the car picks salt up off the road, and the salt only rusts when the ice and snow it’s mixed with melts. Therefore, a garage will not prevent rust, it will accelerate it.
At any rate, the car will exposed to the elements any time it’s out and being driven, so any anti-rust effect a garage may have (I believe there is none) will be eliminated since the car does leave the garage.

Now, on the other hand, if the garage is being used to store a classic or high performance car for the winter, then that’s another story, but I don’t think this is the OP’s intention.


Might check with AAA. They used to run some stats on advantages of garaging a car. I know auto insurance companys, AARP Hartford, asked if our Town Car is garaged a certain percentage of the time. Not sure but I believe 35%. (for comprehensive ins. Midwest)


I think that might be more for security sake, than car longevity. A car’s harder to steal and/or vandalize when it’s in a locked, private garage than if it was parked in a driveway, or on the street.

To the OP: This might be a good case for you - economic hardship could be caused if the vehicle(s) are vandalized or stolen. You can easily find the car theft and vandalism rates from your local municipal police or government. If there’s a high vehicle crime rate, then a garage could be a preventative measure.


Perhaps you could use a different approach. Instead of concentrating on the effects to your vehicles, you could look at similar homes in your area. Do the majority of homes have garages? If so, then you can argue that your home value is adversely impacted by the lack of a common convenience of having a garage. Speak with a realtor in your area about the valuation of your home and relative difficulty in selling a home without a garage. Perhaps they will write a short note in this respect that you can present to the zoning board as part of your argument.


I don’t see it mentioned, but I think the principle advantage of garaging a car in the winter is that the Windows (usually) don’t freeze over. Realistically, a lot of drivers who park outdoors do not do a great job of ice removal and the often defroster takes quite a while to clear the windows. A few minutes of observing cars in the morning in Maine should make it clear that this is a real safety issue.

I don’t really see how you are going to convert that to an economic issue. But maybe someplace in the town code there is a public safety handle for a zoning variance.


Tried that already…no dice. It has to be IMMEDIATE…and the only thing I can think of is the impact on the car.