Urban planning community

1. ## Aggregate side yard

Please give me your interpretation (or the true meainig) of aggregate side yard.

Sample Ordinance Req:

Side Yard = 10'
Agg. Side Yard = 30'

Does that mean you need a ten, next to a 20 (or 2 x 15), or does it mean you need a total of 30' of side yard on each lot?

I've been seeing this interpretation going both ways. Not sure which is correct?

2. I would say you need at least 10 ten on either side of the house, but the total of both side yards must be at least 30 feet.

I think these kind of standards are stupid. Just make it 15 feet minimum on each side and leave it at that.

Sometimes there seems to be complication for the sake of complication. Unless someone can give a sensible rationale.

3. So you're saying the total building separation is 30'??

4. I agree with mendelman.

From my fair city code we have this as a FOOTNOTE to the minimum side yard.

On lots smaller than 40 feet in width which were platted before the effective date of this ordinance, a percentage computation will apply: Every yard shall have a side yard on each side, each of which shall be at least 10% of the width of the lot in width, and the aggregate width of both side yards on any lot shall be at least 25% of the width of the lot in width.

5. Originally posted by Jeff
So you're saying the total building separation is 30'??
Yes...maybe. It either is 30 feet for the total of both sideyards for one individual property or a total of 30 feet for the space between neighboring houses.

6. And the vacant infill lot gets screwed when both abutters are at 10'

7. In my last planning job it read like this:

Side yards must be a total of 16 ft with no side less than 6ft.

8. So, with my example, it is possible to have a building separation of 20'??

Are we in agreement/disagreement?

9. Originally posted by Jeff
So, with my example, it is possible to have a building separation of 20'??

Are we in agreement/disagreement?
Sure, then the other side of the house would have 30 or 40 feet between buildings, depending.

10. Originally posted by Jeff
So, with my example, it is possible to have a building separation of 20'??

Are we in agreement/disagreement?
With aggregate side yards it doesn't matter how far back the neighboring building is. You could have a minimum separation distance of only 10' if the neighboring building is right on the property line. Its just a total side yard of 30' (for both sides) with the minimum on each side being 10'. At least it gives you some more flexibility than strict setbacks.

11. Originally posted by mendelman
I would say you need at least 10 ten on either side of the house, but the total of both side yards must be at least 30 feet.

I think these kind of standards are stupid. Just make it 15 feet minimum on each side and leave it at that.

Sometimes there seems to be complication for the sake of complication. Unless someone can give a sensible rationale.
I agree with everything you say. Our code has aggregate side yards that have always been interpreted as a total of the property's two sides.

Every now and then, I need to explain this to someone for a minute.If it can be 10 feet on one side, then why not ten feet on both.

I can provide no sensible rationale.

12. Originally posted by SideshowBob
I agree with everything you say. Our code has aggregate side yards that have always been interpreted as a total of the property's two sides.

Every now and then, I need to explain this to someone for a minute.If it can be 10 feet on one side, then why not ten feet on both.

I can provide no sensible rationale.
ditto this.

ours is minimum of 10, total of 25. from the building to the property line.

13. It doesnt matter what we think, if the ordinance language is vague or unclear, have your ZBA provide an interpretation.

14. Originally posted by Cityscape Dreamer
It doesnt matter what we think, if the ordinance language is vague or unclear, have your ZBA provide an interpretation.
That's not the way it works in my jurisdiction. The Planning Manager makes the interpretation and the decision is appealable to the Board of County Commissioners.

15. Aggregate side yards suck. Chet has obviously been there. It can kill infill develoopment. Last one in gets the shaft.

16. Originally posted by mike gurnee
Aggregate side yards suck. Chet has obviously been there. It can kill infill develoopment. Last one in gets the shaft.
Plus, if one house needs a variance from the aggregate amount does the neighoring house also need to be party to that variance request? Therefore, forcing a party into the request that has no reason to be there apart from a silly code provision.

I've run into this situation in a previous job and we just ignored it because it was easier for everyone and the board and electeds didn't really know the code as well as us anyways.

17. I am a little confused by this thread. I'm not sure if you guys are marring the line between setback lines, which is a zoning/land use issue, and building separation (on abutting lots), which is a building code issue. I think most building codes agree that up to a certain height (I believe it's 35 feet, but I'm not sure), principal building separation need be only 10 feet, regardless of property lines/ownership.

Take three side-by-side lots: How can you say that if the house on the left side is 10 feet from the center lot, and the house on the right side is 10 feet from the center lot, the center lot gets screwed? How does the position of those other two lots have any bearing on where you place the center house? Place the center house 10 or more feet off of either property line, and the rest of the distance from the remaining proprty line. There's no conflict, no matter the order of construction.

Just design zoning ordinances that don't conflict with building code and you should be OK.

This still does not answer the earlier question: why have aggregate setbacks in the first place? I'm not sure. But it's sure fun trying to explain them, especially to ESL builders.

18. Originally posted by WhenIGrowUp
I am a little confused by this thread. I'm not sure if you guys are marring the line between setback lines, which is a zoning/land use issue, and building separation (on abutting lots), which is a building code issue. I think most building codes agree that up to a certain height (I believe it's 35 feet, but I'm not sure), principal building separation need be only 10 feet, regardless of property lines/ownership.