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Thread: Non conforming lots

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    Non conforming lots

    A property owner has several contiguous nonconforming lots (platted prior to the current regulations). Collectively they would comply with current regs. One lot is then sold. Now the owner seeks a side yard variance. Is the applicant entitled to this variance?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Tough one. It is a little hard to answer without knowing all of the details, but I am inclined to say no. Setbacks apply to all lots, regardless of dimensions. At the same time, I am aware of neighborhoods in Madison, built under older regulations which allowed smaller setbacks. Residents frequently encountered problems when trying to put additions on their homes. This led the city to revise its zoning codes with regard to certain types of neighborhoods. The point was to make it possible to continue the existing pattern of development (additions or infill). Might this be a consideration?

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    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Re: Non conforming lots

    Originally posted by ROBERT
    A property owner has several contiguous nonconforming lots (platted prior to the current regulations). Collectively they would comply with current regs. One lot is then sold. Now the owner seeks a side yard variance. Is the applicant entitled to this variance?
    I would say no, if the zoning ordinance does not make it unreasonable to construct a home on the lot.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

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    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    We would write it up for denial as a self-imposed hardship.

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Re: Non conforming lots

    Originally posted by ROBERT
    A property owner has several contiguous nonconforming lots (platted prior to the current regulations). Collectively they would comply with current regs. One lot is then sold. Now the owner seeks a side yard variance. Is the applicant entitled to this variance?
    Depends. I had a similar case come up not too long ago, with a single nonconforming lot, and I recommended approval for a side lot variance. This was a corner lot, too, where there were techncially two front yards. Under the current zoning regulations, the lot had a building envelope of about 400 square feet.

    According to my zoning code, if a single owner owns two or more contiguous nonconforming lots, the lots are considered to be consolidated. The act of selling off one of those lots to another party is considered an illegal subdivision, and the new owner of the nonconforming parcel has no implied or vested development rights. If they applied for a variance, I'd recommend denial because the hardship was self-imposed.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    they are legally plated? well then the lots are grand fathered but building anything on them is not. so he could get rid of the lot, but he could not build on any of them at this point-make him sign some sort of letter acknowledging this fact and that he assumes the risk himself

    then when he goes for a waver deny because he caused his own hardship

    we had this come up in Greensboro-some folks just don't GET it I think.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  7. #7
    I wouldn't say they are entitled to a variance, but they are welcome to apply. I have a similar situration where this guy wants to build a new house on a 40 x 120 lot, but he says he can't meet the side yard requirements. I said he can apply for a variance but he would probably be denied since the variance is self-imposed.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

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