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Thread: Nonconforming lot coverage question

  1. #1
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Nonconforming lot coverage question

    Would you say that the allowances and limitations for non-conforming lot coverage are their own type of standard and would not be considered a non-conforming structure or a non-conforming lot?

    Lot coverage is a percentage of the lot that can be covered with impervious materials and buildings

    Non-conforming structures are non-conforming because of setbacks, height, bulk

    Non-conforming lots are non-conforming because of frontage, area or lot width requirement

    My Code Enforcement Officer adamantly feels that our current ordinance is correct that non-conforming lot coverage is part of the definition of a non-conforming structure - so basically right now, you need a Board of Appeals finding if you move around non-conforming lot coverage

    I say, it's either a stand-alone situation (this is my past experience) or possibly you could see it as an element of a non-conforming lot because lot coverage is a lot standard - but not the structure -

    But I'm open, really I am, to arguments otherwise, I haven't heard a convincing one yet -

  2. #2
    I think you've already answered your own question:

    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian
    Non-conforming lots are non-conforming because of frontage, area or lot width requirement
    Or am I missing something?
    Je suis Charlie

  3. #3
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    If the lot coverage is over, then it would be a non-conforming structure(s) in my opinion. If you removed the structure(s) I would assume the lot would still be conforming.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nerudite
    If the lot coverage is over, then it would be a non-conforming structure(s) in my opinion.
    Agree.

    If you know you will be encountering this issue frequently you may want to include something similar to the following in your zoning by-law:

    EXISTING UNDERSIZED LOTS
    3.1.9 Nothing in this By-law shall prevent the use of a lot provided: that the use of such lot is permitted in the zone in which said lot is located; and that the setbacks, height, coverage and all other relevant requirements of the zone are maintained.

    EXISTING BUILDINGS
    3.1.10 Where a building has been erected on or before the effective date of this By-law, on a lot having less than the minimum frontage, area, or depth, or having less than the minimum setback or side yard or rear yard required by this By-law, the building may be enlarged, reconstructed, repaired or renovated provided that:

    a) the enlargement, reconstruction, repair or renovation does not further reduce any yard that does not conform to this By-law; and

    b) all other applicable provisions of this By-law are satisfied.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  5. #5
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nerudite
    If the lot coverage is over, then it would be a non-conforming structure(s) in my opinion. If you removed the structure(s) I would assume the lot would still be conforming.
    right, but lot coverage also includes sidewalks, driveways, accessory structures too - not just the principal building

    so it's not the building alone that made the lot coverage non-conforming, it's the whole development of the site -

    so isn't that different?

    I agree with you if lot coverage just meant building, but here it means everything impervious

  6. #6
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Lot coverage includes sidewalks? That's just weird (in my opinion). I would agree that if you have multiple structures, that each of the multiple stuctures is non-conforming. Both the principal and accessory structure would be non-conforming then.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nerudite
    Lot coverage includes sidewalks? That's just weird (in my opinion). I would agree that if you have multiple structures, that each of the multiple stuctures is non-conforming. Both the principal and accessory structure would be non-conforming then.

    my whole ordinance is weird - but I can only make baby steps - LOL

    but you then agree with my CEO, which is fine, that says non-conforming lot coverage is related to each structure and not the lot as a whole

  8. #8
    Cyburbian permaplanjuneau's avatar
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    I agree that when an existing structure (or structures) result in lot coverage over the limit, this makes the structures (not the lot) nonconforming. Whether you consider any impervious surface to contribute to lot coverage or not is beside the point, as you would either count them or not (and they would either be part of the nonconformity or not, depending on whether or not you counted them).

    We have an odd mathematical word problem in our code regarding substandard (nonconforming) lots and the allowable lot coverage (applies in two zoning districts only). This is in the Dimensional Standards section of code, not the Nonconforming Development section of code...

    "...if the area of a lot is less than the minimum lot size, the corresponding maximum lot coverage for a dwelling may be increased in the same proportion as the inverse of the ratio of the actual lot area to the required lot area, except that in no case shall lot coverage exceed 50 percent." (and here I got into Planning and not Engineering because I don't understand math)

    So in this case non-conforming lot coverage may conform. (?!?)

    And Luckless Pedestrian thought that THIER ordinance was weird.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian IlliniPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nerudite
    Lot coverage includes sidewalks? That's just weird (in my opinion). I would agree that if you have multiple structures, that each of the multiple stuctures is non-conforming. Both the principal and accessory structure would be non-conforming then.
    You'd be amazed by the number of people who want to put a huge "sidewalk" all around their house so that their basement "won't leak." UGH!

    I agree with your Code Enforcer. I can see "driveway" or "sidewalk" falling under the category of "structure", "Anything which is erected or constructed which requires permanent location on the ground.". And whenever anyone comes in for a permit to dig up and lay a new driveway, if the previous driveway exceeded the lot coverage, they could not construct the same driveway but revise the size to meet code.
    One lot of redevelopment prevents a block of sprawl.

  10. #10

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    Well, it may depend on the exact wording of your regulations, but I tend to agree with your CEO. The building may only contribute to total coverage (and total impervious cover is obviously the proper measure of coverage in an oceanside resort where water quality and fisheries are so important), but once a property is over the total limit, everything on it is nonconforming, and you can't increase the degree of nonconformity.

    The way I write nonconforming language you could dig up some of the asphalt and move it, or add on to the building (if you still complied with the parking req), but you can't change the building in a way that increases the degree of nonconformity.

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