Central AC unit in front lawn now or 4 month permit process?????

Hello everyone. I recently bought a home in a florida in a city with a lot of zoning rules. The house does not have central air conditioning which is pretty standard in most homes. We want to upgrade the home and install a central AC because we are thinking of selling the property in about 5 years or so. Because of the zoning requirements, The only place to put the AC is right in front of the house at the edge of the front porch. This means that we would have to hide the unit with hedges on two sides but would still be visible to the people coming into the house when they step into the porch on their way to the front door.

The other option is to get a city exception which takes about 4 months and spend about $3000 in the process in order to put it on the side of the house. The ac is not allowed on the sides or the back side because its too close to the neighbors.

The question is, what would you do? Would you try for an exception and wait four months or would you put the Ac in the front of the house? My main concern is that if we put it in the front when we go to sell the house, it will not appraise as highly or Turn off buyers because of the unsightly Ac.


I would just install it in front as there is no guarantee even after spending the money and filing papers and attending city council meetings that you would even get approved. 

Try taking and putting two 4x4 posts on two sides, cantalever an even length piece of wood on the top using a Simpson 4x4 post bracket, make your finished height about 15 to 18 inches above the top of the AC unit and then lay a piece of Trelles material cut and finished on top, even though there is more open air than trelles it makes the eyes focus to the trelles and not on the AC unit below it.

Today new AC units are so quiet you can barely here them run, combined with planting around it and you won’t even know it’s there. Make sure you install the unit properly with the access panel toward an area where there is not a post and don’t put any bushes to close, look at what size the plant becomes after you plant them and consider spacing and distance.

The AC unit needs air to circulate and stay cool.


Install a roof-mounted unit. Easy. Legal. (On the backside of the house)

A roof unit is a great suggestion. You might also look at mini split systems cantilevered on a bracket on the side of the house. Those will likely stick out less than the roof overhang and have the benefit of not needing expensive ductwork.

What an elegant solution.

Thank you all for the suggestions. I cant install it in the roof because it requires a ten foot setback from all sides and the roof is a perfect square of 20 feet so no room for the unit. I spoke to the city and they consider it an uncessary hardship to not have a central ac unit so they would recommend to the zoning board that an ac unit is approved for the side patio. However this would take until mid novembe to get.

So in the meantime we are still evaluating whether to place in the front or to go through with the exception.

OK, really?

Just install the thing on the roof and forget it. Nobody is going to know, or complain, or check. And a 10’ set back is just over-kill, if not nonsense. Evidently, somebody doesn’t like roof units. Because that’s a huge amount of space.

You could simply extend the roof line by five feet on one side (or both).

There’s a time to follow instructions, and then there’s just getting things done. It’s easier to ask for forgiveness, (and evidently cheaper, too) than to ask for permission.

It’s not like you’re gonna paint the house purple and orange and become a nuisance owner.

Frankly, putting an air-conditioning unit at the front entrance of any home, not only devalues the subject house, but actually negatively effects neighborhood values in the long run.

Thanks for the inout javipa. I agree on not putting it in the front as well. I’ll check again on the roof option this week and see if its doable.

That’s plan “B” if they complain about the AC in the backyard!