Christina O'Haver, The Union Democrat

Building a carport in the city of Sonora could get easier.

The City Council on Monday unanimously decided to move ahead with a plan to amend carport restrictions in the city municipal code.

Technically speaking, the council voted to waive the first reading for an ordinance.

Councilmembers will decide whether to adopt it at their April 1 meeting. If adopted, the ordinance will go into effect 30 days after its passage.

Carports within city limits are now confined to 264 square feet and can only be constructed after a conditional-use permit is obtained from the city.

The amended ordinance allows residents to build carports up to 340 square-feet without a conditional-use permit, or larger with a permit.

Carports can accommodate wheelchair-accessible vans under the proposed increase, according to meeting documents.

Community Development Director Rachelle Kellogg said city staff, under the direction of the Planning Commission, developed the ordinance in response to requests from the public.

The Planning Commission recommended the ordinance to the City Council for approval at its Feb. 11 meeting.

The new ordinance still requires carports to be built within 3 feet of the parcel boundary and meet other requirements established by the city.

The parcel must be one-half acre or smaller, contain a home at least 50 years old and have no garage or other covered parking structures.

The carport cannot be taller than eight feet and must be at least six feet away from other buildings.

Although a conditional-use permit will not be required for carports less than 340 square feet, residents are required to obtain a building permit.

Other criteria address the carports' construction materials, appearance, stability and compliance with residential zoning restrictions.