Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 36

Thread: Single family or two family

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Southeast US
    Posts
    530

    Single family or two family

    How does one keep Single Family districts from deteriorating into two-family districts if your ordinance allows "mother-in-law cottages," "guest houses," or "pool houses," and the like?

    One could say that the economics and space on the lot should limit it practically, but I suspect that wise developers could see an opening to take advantage of the situation and actually begin putting two houses on every Single Family lot (while meeting the letter of the law) - effectively turning Single Family into Two-Family or "Duplex" classification.

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    8,247
    Well, you could change the code to limit the maximum square footage of the "second" or accessory unit. Put a maximum of 500--800 sqft for the accessory unit. That would limit it to studio or small one-bedroom units and not be a problem.

    Many munis. that allow such units generally put a maximum size limit.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 1997
    Location
    Clowns to the left, jokers to the right
    Posts
    1,438
    I have seem some cities try to control this by setting a maximum of one utility service for each property, like one water meter, one electric service, etc. This isn't perfect, as someone could still rent out the second unit (or both units) and just include the cost of the utilities in the rent(s). But, it would mean that service can't be turned on or off for each unit separately.

    Similarly, I suppose you could restrict the number of driveways or curb cuts to just one per property, so again the units have to share. Or, you could set a relationship between the size of the main house and the second unit, something like the second unit can't be more than 25% of the size of the main house. Then you'd at least have a mix of building sizes throughout.

    I've seen relationship criteria for the occupants of a second unit, but I'm a bit weary of how well those stand up in court.
    JOE ILIFF
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Debt is normal . . . Be weird!
    Dave Ramsey

    "Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think."
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2006
    Location
    in the midwest
    Posts
    744
    We also require that a) the homeowner lives in the main residence and b) the "granny flat" has to be occupied by a relative. That helps a good deal.
    Do you want to pet my monkey?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    9,028
    Blog entries
    2
    Quote Originally posted by KSharpe View post
    We also require that a) the homeowner lives in the main residence and b) the "granny flat" has to be occupied by a relative. That helps a good deal.
    How would one enforce this?
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Ocean to the east, land to the west
    Posts
    1,068
    Not sure I agree with the term "deteriorate" for two-family houses, but putting that aside, I have struggled with the issue of in-law apartments. In Massachusetts we can't limit ownership so we often have to back into making apartments "in-law" through limiting size, or other factors. The City of Newton, MA, has a pretty good in-law apartment ordinance, I hear.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2005
    Location
    The Gig City
    Posts
    2,655
    Our second unit (guesthouse) accessory structure limitations are only 25% of the principal use, it also counts against the total accessory use allowance (either 50 or 65%) and can be a max of 800 SF. Resident must be related to the primary owner OR cannot give the primary owner any monetary compensation (to cut down on rental of these units).
    @GigCityPlanner

  8. #8
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2006
    Location
    in the midwest
    Posts
    744
    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN View post
    How would one enforce this?
    It's not as bad as you might think. Very few people want to live in such a small apartment, so it will usually be some kind of dependent relative. Also, (I forgot to mention) they are required to be either above the garage or actually in the principle structure. You are therefore basically forcing the homeowner to have a lot of interaction with the tenant, which is more palatable with a close relative. I'm not sure if we worry about how "related" they are- we aren't doing DNA tests or anything. It actually rarely comes up.
    Do you want to pet my monkey?

  9. #9
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,319
    We do the following to avoid what you describe:
    • accessory dwelling cannot exceed the lesser of 50% of the size of the principal residence or 650 square feet.
    • Principal residence must be inhabited by the property owner
    • single utility service
    • only permitted in certain districts (due to impervious cover & environmental issues in some areas of the city)

    In a college town, this seems to be an effective way to provide affordable rental housing while avoiding some of the problems you get when student ghettos of apartment complexes are built. Having the property owner live on-site helps with noise & nuisance issues because they don't want trouble-maker tennants. I have nothing to back this up, but it seems the second dwellings are usually occupied by young married/committed college student couples and graduate students.
    Last edited by Suburb Repairman; 14 Jun 2007 at 11:24 AM.

    "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)

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Southeast US
    Posts
    530
    Thank you.

    Those are all good helpful points.

    I might also point out that our ordinance defines Family as one or more persons living together "as a single housekeeping unit."

    A house keeping unit is not defined, but I would imagine that means basically one kitchen facility with all rooms having access to it - or "Guest Houses" etc, would not have cooking facilities. What about microwaves?

    What else would constitute a "house keeping unit?" Bathrooms would have common access from any room? Utility ("house keeping") rooms would be accessible from all rooms?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    137
    Ours says the same thing, then seems to expand on that:
    1.lives and cooks together in a residence as a "single housekeeping unit"
    2.shares expenses for food, rent, utilities or other household expenses
    3.is, "to all outward appearances, a relatively normal, stable, and permanent family unit"
    4.is not "a temporary living arrangement as would be a group of college students sharing a house"
    5.will inhabit a dwelling which does not provide "a framework for transients or transient living.”
    6.shares the entire house
    7.includes one or more adults domiciled in the residence
    The quotes, I think, are from some court opinion.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Posts
    7,295

    Hmm.....

    I seem to remember taking a tour of a neighborhood in SW Weld County that had a great two unit setup. The main detached home and a second unit above the detached garage......very cool.....very expensive.....

    The 2006 International Code considers single family, two family duplexes and attached townhomes under three stories. I don't think duplexes are that bad and can add a lot to a mixed development.
    Skilled Adoxographer

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    1,150
    WTF?? WHy does a plot of land with two instead of one house constitute a 'deterioration'????

    Why is it ever important for a whole area to be made up of single-family dwellings?? Isn't this euclidian zoning at its worst?

    Maybe the need to change the Cyburbia kicker to "The meddling, unthinking bureaucrat community".
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  14. #14
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2006
    Location
    in the midwest
    Posts
    744
    Quote Originally posted by Luca View post
    WTF?? WHy does a plot of land with two instead of one house constitute a 'deterioration'????

    Why is it ever important for a whole area to be made up of single-family dwellings?? Isn't this euclidian zoning at its worst?

    Maybe the need to change the Cyburbia kicker to "The meddling, unthinking bureaucrat community".
    Well, Luca, its less about reality than perception. Most people looking to buy a house want to do so in a single family neighborhood. Therefore, property values are somewhat lower in an area of two family dwellings than in one. I don't think you can blame the bureacrats...part of the American Dream, and all that.
    Do you want to pet my monkey?

  15. #15
    Cyburbian craines's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles, California
    Posts
    578
    Its all about the dollar!!!

  16. #16
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,319
    Quote Originally posted by Streck View post
    Thank you.

    Those are all good helpful points.

    I might also point out that our ordinance defines Family as one or more persons living together "as a single housekeeping unit."

    A house keeping unit is not defined, but I would imagine that means basically one kitchen facility with all rooms having access to it - or "Guest Houses" etc, would not have cooking facilities. What about microwaves?

    What else would constitute a "house keeping unit?" Bathrooms would have common access from any room? Utility ("house keeping") rooms would be accessible from all rooms?
    I believe most jurisdictions use kitchen facilities as the trigger--most often the presence of a stove, range or oven.

    "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)

  17. #17
    maudit anglais
    Registered
    May 1997
    Location
    Odd-a-wah
    Posts
    6,586
    Quote Originally posted by Luca View post
    WTF?? WHy does a plot of land with two instead of one house constitute a 'deterioration'????

    Why is it ever important for a whole area to be made up of single-family dwellings?? Isn't this euclidian zoning at its worst?

    Maybe the need to change the Cyburbia kicker to "The meddling, unthinking bureaucrat community".

    I heartily agree with you Luca (well, maybe not on that last bit). As an aside, I think "two family" (semi-detached) houses are much more common in the UK and Canada and are therefore not seen as being "undesireable".

  18. #18
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,689
    Quote Originally posted by KSharpe View post
    Therefore, property values are somewhat lower in an area of two family dwellings than in one.
    Is this actually true? I hear this all of the time, but I've never seen any kind of study to reinforce this common "belief". It goes along with the assertion that density=lower property values, when there have been studies that have completely put that notion to bed. It's about quality, not single/multi family.

  19. #19
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Middle of a Dusty Street
    Posts
    6,386
    Quote Originally posted by Luca View post
    WTF?? WHy does a plot of land with two instead of one house constitute a 'deterioration'????

    Why is it ever important for a whole area to be made up of single-family dwellings?? Isn't this euclidian zoning at its worst?

    Maybe the need to change the Cyburbia kicker to "The meddling, unthinking bureaucrat community".
    While you may be correct about the choice of wording, I know I wouldn't use "deteriorate" if it were me. However, I think the main question stands regardless of that particular word.

    Most cities have areas for duplexes... it's R-2. What I took from the original post was how we keep an R-1 (low density rez) from becoming R-2 (medium density rez), while still allowing for small apartments and granny flats that are often associated with smart growth. I think others have provided very good answers to the question.

    Taking a shot at Cyburbia itself was silly, and by now you should know that a) we do think about what we do (Streck was asking a legitimate question even if he used a word you didn't like.), b) we aren't all beaurocrats in here, and c) those who are "meddle" where we are directed by administration and government.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    C'mon and get me you twist of fate
    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
    If you don't so what cause you don't scare me

  20. #20
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Posts
    7,295

    Strange.....

    It seems to me that townhomes and duplexes often sell for about the same as detached homes that are just a few years older......if there is an appraisal difference, it must be related to a slighlty lower privacy level and shared risk for fire?? The size of home, age, upgrades and physical condition are much more likely to determine value.
    Skilled Adoxographer

  21. #21
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2006
    Location
    in the midwest
    Posts
    744
    Quote Originally posted by CJC View post
    Is this actually true? I hear this all of the time, but I've never seen any kind of study to reinforce this common "belief". It goes along with the assertion that density=lower property values, when there have been studies that have completely put that notion to bed. It's about quality, not single/multi family.
    Again, its not reality that matters...its perception! Most bourgeious (sp?) types assume that multiple family residences are not worth as much and that the type of people who live in them aren't as well off as the single family residential types.
    Do you want to pet my monkey?

  22. #22
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,689
    Quote Originally posted by KSharpe View post
    Again, its not reality that matters...its perception! Most bourgeious (sp?) types assume that multiple family residences are not worth as much and that the type of people who live in them aren't as well off as the single family residential types.
    That's true about the perception thing (in most areas of the country), and in some areas it might even be true. Numerous studies have been done in California to disprove the link (in this state, at least).

  23. #23
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2006
    Location
    in the midwest
    Posts
    744
    I don't know how anyone in California can buy a home. The real estate prices are astounding! In Iowa, where I live, almost everyone can afford a modest single family home.
    Do you want to pet my monkey?

  24. #24
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    8,247
    Quote Originally posted by KSharpe View post
    In Iowa, where I live, almost everyone can afford a modest single family home.
    That may be true, but then you have to live in Iowa.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  25. #25
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,689
    Quote Originally posted by KSharpe View post
    I don't know how anyone in California can buy a home. The real estate prices are astounding! In Iowa, where I live, almost everyone can afford a modest single family home.
    There are a multitude of reasons for the high prices in California, but a lot of it goes back to building soooo many single family homes on 1/8 to 1/4 acre lots in the 40's-70's. Now, the population increases haven't stopped, and we're out of land in the areas that are still creating jobs (and auto congestion in most areas is mind-boggling). This may not ever happen in Iowa, but probably will in other places that now have decent prices - if job growth continues in those areas and the current policies of pursuing only single-family detached housing on large lots continues. (The Northeast, Washington state now, others in the next few decades)

+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 17
    Last post: 24 Apr 2008, 9:54 AM
  2. Replies: 4
    Last post: 11 Dec 2006, 3:57 PM
  3. Replies: 1
    Last post: 18 Sep 2006, 2:05 PM
  4. Single family cul-de-sacs
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 27
    Last post: 17 Jan 2006, 5:25 PM
  5. Replies: 1
    Last post: 04 Jul 2001, 9:41 AM