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Thread: A tough one

  1. #1
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    A tough one

    Has anybody ever assigned zoning and future land uses to property that was un-designated and mostly vacant but platted (half acre lots) and owned by multi-individual owners?

    We are looking at assigning some non-residential uses to a mostly undeveloped platted (prior to planning) area where everyone bought a single-family residential lot. Everyone wants commercial in the area, some even want their lot to be commercial, but no one wants to live next to commercial (I know this due to the public involement process). Any suggestions on how the transitions from commercial to residential without taking the value of the transition lot away? If it were one owner/developer it would be easy, but since it is multiple half acre lots with multiple owners this is a tough task because the transition land could be a loss in value to that owner (i.e. no parks of buffers).

    Oh and there is no where else to put commercial in the rural area because the area is completely surrounded by preservation land and water. There are 8000 platted lots here, so with a 2.5 person per household you could have 20,000 people in an all residential subdivision with NO commercial for 10 plus miles in any direction. Talk about a mess. Again, this was platted prior to any planning angency or requirements.

    Suggestions needed.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Would some kind of mixed-use designation fly? We have a land use category that allows for a range of residential and office uses, with limited retail permitted. Theoretically it is a very useful category and was originally intended to act as a buffer between SF and more intense commercial uses. Of course, it's utility assumes consistent application and interpretation. Good luck!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by H
    Any suggestions on how the transitions from commercial to residential without taking the value of the transition lot away?
    Don't you mean from residential to commercial?
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
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  4. #4

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    A similar, but probably simpler situation, occurs when a residential street gets busy and people begin transitioning to commercial one lot at a time. There can be lots of friction among the landowners. I don't think there is an ideal solution. Some homes probably are going to be adversely affected to at least some degree. I have addressed it using performance standards that require lots of buffering, attention to architectural details, controlling access and parking, etc. In this case, I even required consolidation of lots before conversion. It can be complicated for a small jurisdiction, but I think it is the best path through a difficult situation.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by H
    We are looking at assigning some non-residential uses to a mostly undeveloped platted (prior to planning) area where everyone bought a single-family residential lot.
    Does it have to be a non-residential use? Could you have multi-family housing that would be located between the commercial and single family, to act as a buffer?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    What about regulating the intensity of the commercial use? Permit uses with longer hours, odors (restaurants), hevier traffic, etc. in some areas, but transition to mixed-use, professional offices, day care, and similar uses in the buffer zone.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  7. #7
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    What is the surrounding land use? What makes sense in a larger context? Quite often, lots transitioning from residential to commercial will be a crummy place to live or to work. The transition time often takes decades. In those decades, the value of lots is less than it would be if the property were either residential or commercial.

    Is there a market for either type of use? These days, isolated commercial is not in much demand because of the supercenters. People who think commercial land has more value are often harking back to the 1950's.

    Since property owner perception of value seems to be an issue, one way to make a decision would be to hire an appraiser. (Or make the owners hire the appraiser). Have the appraiser describe the uses with the highest return. Tell the owners you will zone for the highest return unless they want to lobby the city council for a lower return.

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