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Thread: Opinion about reduced street side yard on corner lots

  1. #1

    Opinion about reduced street side yard on corner lots

    your opinion please. what are your thoughts or allowing the structure on a corner residential lot to encroach 10 ft into the side yard ( otherwise the front setback on the side street) ie; front yard set back 25 ft front yard on the side street 15 ft? thoughts and comments appreciated.

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    May 2003
    Staff meeting
    Is this residential? Will the encroaching improvement adversly affect driveway sightlines of adjoining proeprties? Will it reduce visiblity of pedestrians for motorists? Will it reduce/impact the sightlines of the intersection to which it is adjacent? Will it neagatively impact the visual character along the sidestreet.

    Use these questions to analyze your problem.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Aug 2001
    South Milwaukee
    I dont like it. While I like articulated street lines, having this only at corners results in a bad aesthetic. Most places I've worked require two street yards, and require corner lots to be platted with extra width to accomodate the extra setback.

  4. #4
    Jul 2003
    Who cares.
    A couple of other things to consider are whether the adjacent street is proposed to expand at any time. 15 feet is not a huge amount, especially for suburban lots, and the expansion of the right-of-way could have a big impact. Also, what is the purpose of the encroachment? Is there absolutely no other place they could expand (like up)? Is there a hardship on the lot, or would they be creating one if they expanded? And what is the typical development pattern? If all of the other structures are set back at least 25' and this one is set back at 15', it's going to look funny, aside from any easement/expansion/clear view triangle issues.
    Just my 2 $ (no cent key on keyboards anymore).
    I don't dream. I plan.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
    Sep 2001
    skating on thin ice
    I am suggesting to our council to amend the by-law with respect to setbacks for corner lots. The proposal is to require one of the 2 setbacks to meet the minimum setback from the streetline and allow the other one to be reduced from 25 ft to 15 feet. This will only be permitted on local streets in residential neighbourhoods. For collector and arterials the required setbacks from both will be required.

    The reason, we've done 10 variances in the past 2 years on this item and every one of them made sense. (ie no sight line problems, road will never be expanded, lot size etc)
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    A street yard is a street yard. It may create some problems for older lots, but the street should be consistent. Do you want to consider reducing the setback to 15 feet for the entire block?
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
    Jul 2002


    What are the minimum lot dimensions? In my neighborhood, 15' would put you on the curb.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
    Dec 2001
    West Valley, AZ
    In typical suburban density you have this.

    66' foot row, then 20-25' front yard setback. (house is about 30 feet from the curb) If I'm at yeild or stop sign at this intersection, I still believe that I'll have no problem seeing a sufficent distance down the residential street even with the 15' corner side setback.

    Consider the speed rated sight triangles too. at 30 mph, you don't need to see particularly far down the street to recognize and gauge the oncoming traffic.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Feb 1998
    Greensburg, Kansas
    We permit a reduction, primarily because it was the established pattern when I got here. But I did get the wording changed:

    When a residential development is designed so that no residence faces a side street within a block face with no curb cut access to the side street, the side street setback may be considered a side yard, and shall be one-half of the otherwise required front yard.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Emerald Coast
    Keep in mind that the face of the garage should always provide the deeper setback so that vehicles parked on the garage apron don't extend onto the sidewalk.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  11. #11
    Cyburbian permaplanjuneau's avatar
    Jul 2004
    Juneau, AK
    We actually adopted something we call a "street side yard setback" last year. It applies to second (and third and fourth etc.) frontages, and is 2/3 of the required front yard setback, except that in districts with front yard setbacks of 5' or 10', the street side yard setback is the same as the front yard setback.

    Oddly enough, we leave the decision of which yard is the front and which is the street side to the property owner, except when an existing structure's location on the lot dictates which is which.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
    Aug 2005
    in a meeting

    the front lot line is connected to the...

    Our ordinance, which I just changed so I like this baby step I did, (lol to the planner in Alaska) basically requires 2 fronts, 2 sides for the setbacks of a corner lot with 2 other lot lines- it's fair (they get what their neighbor gets) and balanced (the front line is held), imho

    this is the wording, which is screwy but it was an edit of a screwy way to do things, so to fix it, you'd have to unscrew just about everything, well, you know the story, lol :

    LOT LINE -- A line bounding a lot which divides one lot from another or from a street or any other public or private space, as defined below: [Amended 11-2-2004]
    A. LOT LINE, FRONT -- In the case of a lot abutting only one street, the street line separating such lot from such street; in the case of a double frontage lot, each street line separating such lot from a street shall be considered to be the front lot line. In the case of a lot with no road frontage, the front lot line shall be considered to be the line parallel to the front of the building.
    B. LOT LINE, REAR -- That lot line which is parallel to and most distant from the front lot line of a lot. In the case of an irregular, triangular, or gore-shaped lot, a line 20 feet in length, entirely within the lot, parallel to and at the maximum distance from the front lot line shall be considered to be the rear lot line. In the case of corner lots there shall be no rear lot lines.
    C. LOT LINE, SIDE -- Any lot line other than a front or rear lot line.

    slightly OT: the next baby step is to change the setbacks to be from certain streets and not their side street - we have a 75' front setback for our historic district which is fine for the main street but then on the side street, it doesn't work because the side streets are more densely developed, yet the district line goes down it to cover the lot fronting the main street - but it's one hting at a time, we can only do so much...

  13. #13
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
    May 2004
    depends on lot size. In many older cities without that provision you may be creating a hardship for corner lots due to smaller lot sizes.

    Also- I take strong exception to the people who say that they like articulated street lines (sorry Chet) and more uniform setbacks. I love older neighborhoods where there is a big variety in how the lots are developed. I despise neighborhoods where every house is 20 feet (or whatever) off the street and they all look the same. No creativity. Allowing for flexibility in setbacks is always a good idea IMO (provided visibility, fire safety and air/light and open space are provided within accepted limits.)

  14. #14
    Cyburbian IlliniPlanner's avatar
    Jan 2005
    Don't forget that the setbacks should be seen to provide safe off-street circulation as well. Whether it be cars driving down alleys, cars backing out of garages or people walking, jogging or riding their bikes.
    One lot of redevelopment prevents a block of sprawl.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
    Mar 2006
    Machesney Park, IL
    I really don't like the idea of treating a side yard abutting a street like any other side yard. #1: it would look bad when that corner house has it's side closer than the street than everyone else along the block. #2: it would increase the likelihood of a car collision taking out a part of the house. #3: it could increase the likelihood of a car collision happening because of poor sight clearance, which has already been addressed. What is the point of reducing the setback? Just to make one guy happy cause he bought a bum corner lot? I never understood why corner lots are the first to sell.

    A similar issue... where I live we have a lot of rear yards that abut roadways, and usually those people want to put up a 6' fence to shield them from the traffic. But the code says it is a front yard, so the fence can only be 3' high max. Discussions have been ongoing about changing it to say that is isn't a front yard, as long as ingress/egress will never be granted from the abutting roadway to the property.

  16. #16
    Mar 2006
    Husker Nation
    I think that this kind of flexibility should be provided for older neighborhoods with narrow lots. We already have a provision that allows a corner property to match their neighbor's setback if it is less than that required (they also need to match it when it exceeds that required). However, enforcement by B&S often creates questions for homeowners, i.e. does a surveyor need to establish the neighbor's setback, how to get permission to conduct measurements, etc that I do not have clear answers for. You could tweak this idea to work better. However, I think a clear requirement in the ordinance would be a good idea. Of course, consideration must be given to pedestrian and vehicular sight requirements.

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