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Thread: Dealing with flag lots

  1. #1
    Member DRJ's avatar
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    Dealing with flag lots

    In the jurisdiction I am currently working for, we have an ordinance that allows clustering on properties with environmentally sensitive areas in an effort protect the environment. Plans are site plan specific. I have some "creative" landscape architects in the area that are trying to cram in as many lots as possible into the development to maximize density, even if they have to create a slew of flag lots and other undesirable lot layouts. Besides the loss of privacy for future tenants and the difficulty of dealing with repairs when multiple individual property owners have long shared driveways, what are some other arguments I could use to get the board to deny this request? Thanks for your help!

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    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Here are a few negtives for flaglots

    911 numbering and services
    separation distance between driveways - when 2 flag lots share a common property line, but have their own driveways. I would not suggest allowing shared driveways, make them do a cul de sac
    minimum frontage may not comply
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    We have minimum frontage requirements for each lot, and lots can not have a greater than 4:1 depth:width ratio.

    But we still have lots that meet the requirement.

    I like the idea of limiting a shared access agreement instead of a public right-of-way.
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

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    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    don't laugh

    There was actually a really good discussion in the alt.planning.urban newsgroup about flag lots in 1996.

    Click here to read it.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Why not.....

    You might consider a cluster subdivision with conservation easement on the adjacent open spaces. There may be tax breaks available if there is enough property. Shared access into the cluster development with the remaining land kept together and not divided by driveways and lots.
    Skilled Adoxographer

  6. #6
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by donk
    Here are a few negtives for flaglots

    911 numbering and services
    separation distance between driveways - when 2 flag lots share a common property line, but have their own driveways. I would not suggest allowing shared driveways, make them do a cul de sac
    minimum frontage may not comply
    Those are the first ones I think of besides the privacy issue. It creates a nightmare for access management. Flag lots here must go through somewhat of a modified variance process in which the applicant must prove that the flag lot is necessary due to the physical lay of the land. I've yet to see one approved in the two years that I have worked here. Most applicants down here won't bother because those flag lots are more difficult to market.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    One of the biggest problems I come across with flag lots actually comes years later if your community allows the further division of lots. My township only allows two homes to share a driveway. Therefore, I am discovering 10 years later that many of my residents are interested in dividing their property and they are held back by shared driveway ordinance that allows only 2 homes.

    Flag lots also reduce access management and create a mess or haphazard parcel divisions that could very well end up causing even more environmental damage in the long run. Percentage of accidents and traffic delays will definitely increase with a number of flag lots. People should be required to have road frontage.



    Quote Originally posted by DRJ
    In the jurisdiction I am currently working for, we have an ordinance that allows clustering on properties with environmentally sensitive areas in an effort protect the environment. Plans are site plan specific. I have some "creative" landscape architects in the area that are trying to cram in as many lots as possible into the development to maximize density, even if they have to create a slew of flag lots and other undesirable lot layouts. Besides the loss of privacy for future tenants and the difficulty of dealing with repairs when multiple individual property owners have long shared driveways, what are some other arguments I could use to get the board to deny this request? Thanks for your help!

  8. #8
    Cyburbian DCBuff's avatar
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    911 and Fire protection can be big deterrents if you require fire rated walls/sprinklers when property are within a defined distance.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Maybe I am misunderstanding what others are saying, but we require flag lots/deep lots to share an access and record cross access agreements. If the second house is more than 150 feet from the public ROW, then it needs to have a fire dept. approved turnaround and be engineered to support the weight of fire trucks.

    All flag lots go through a conditional use process and architecture, setbacks, and any other requirement may be placed on the application as a condition of approval in order to mitigate the negative impacts on the surrounding property. Because we see mostly infill development, we see a lot of applications. It is a problem in areas with very deep lots and you do run the risk of having a large area with a lot of flag lots. In one area of our city we created a small area master plan to foster a sensible development pattern for the area, isntead of having so many deep lots on one street.

  10. #10
    Member DRJ's avatar
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    Thanks for your input. The emergency service issue is a good addition to my list of negatives. I appreciate your comments!

  11. #11

    flag lots

    Quote Originally posted by DRJ
    In the jurisdiction I am currently working for, we have an ordinance that allows clustering on properties with environmentally sensitive areas in an effort protect the environment. Plans are site plan specific. I have some "creative" landscape architects in the area that are trying to cram in as many lots as possible into the development to maximize density, even if they have to create a slew of flag lots and other undesirable lot layouts. Besides the loss of privacy for future tenants and the difficulty of dealing with repairs when multiple individual property owners have long shared driveways, what are some other arguments I could use to get the board to deny this request? Thanks for your help!
    In a previous jurisdiction we ran into a similar problem and only allowed two lots per flag and required the flag to be done as a joint use driveway (with a recorded joint use access agreement) and constructed with a paved surface. If there were extenuating circumstances whereby more than 2 lots were going to access then they were required to build a street - public or private all had to be built to public street standards. Basically we saw it as "if it walks like a duck, it is a duck". Multiple flag lots are nothing more than ways to avod putting in a street so you write your regs to make them build those joint use driveway to a street standard and only allow one point of access on the existing roadway. Does that help?

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