I met with the City today to discuss my project build. The term "Habitable Space" is apparently a huge grey area. It seems that the city is not as concerned with my intentions on how I want to use the studio but rather what it may become in the future.
My detached garage is considered an "accessory building" and falls into uninhabitable space category. By building a music studio in it "might" make it habitable space if one of the one of the following conditions are met: Habitable space is defined as space that you cook in, eat in, sleep in or live in.
I have no intentions of doing any of those things. However, what if I move out and someone else who moves in says, "hey look, another bedroom" or "we have a mother-in-law apartment". You see the city is concerned that may happen and is why they may decide against my project.
It's in the hands of the zoning commission now and in a few weeks I will find out their decision.
If you intend to build as I am, make sure you do the following at your meeting to increase you chances for a favorable decision. Bring good drawings for your project, showing musical instruments and all. Be kind to them and don't argue with them. Thank them for seeing you and get down to business. Get them to like who you are and keep chit chat before the meeting out. Look them in the eye when they talk to you.
Make sure they understand you full intentions for making music and not sleeping, eating, cooking or living in it. Let them know you understand where they are coming from and why they are concerned. Follow your meeting up with a thank you letter or email.
Remember, the people you just met are either going to go to bat for you or cry foul and make sure your project is killed.