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Thread: Examples of floor-area ratio in zoning and subdivision regulations

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Examples of floor-area ratio in zoning and subdivision regulations

    Anyone have any good examples of a town or county using FAR instead of minimum lot sizes? It's something I think my department may be looking into for a few of it's zones in the future instead of minimum lot size.
    @GigCityPlanner

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Huh?

    How could FAR (Floor-Area-Ratio) be a substitute for minimum lot size?

    FAR is a relation of building size/bulk to lot area, usually as a percentage. How would FAR (say 40% FAR) translate into a subdivision code with predictable lot sizes, etc.?

    Maybe you need to think in terms of minimum/maximum dwelling units per acre, instead of FAR. That would not require minimum/maximum lot sizes and could allow for more cluster designing and would be more predictable for the purposes of a subdivision code - such as planning for schools, parks, etc.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    our is a performance standard in our settled downtown district that is seeing demo-rebuilds and infills:

    Maximum floor area ratio: the greater of either the median or the mean value of the FARs for all of the lots within the district within 300 feet of the subject property.

    so it may get to what I think you might be doing?

    in another ring district just outside the village, we do the same performance standard to determine lot sizes - so it's for an area that's partially settled but has some larger lots that could be developed

    these address our town's concerns that new development in existing neighborhoods are out of scale with the neighborhood -

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    Maximum floor area ratio: the greater of either the median or the mean value of the FARs for all of the lots within the district within 300 feet of the subject property.
    How the hell do you regulate this? Unless you have an as-built plan for every house, which I doubt. Please tell me this was foisted upon you by elected officials.

    It's alomost as impossible as determining the average cut-of-jib within 300 feet.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Planning Fool's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    Anyone have any good examples of a town or county using FAR instead of minimum lot sizes? It's something I think my department may be looking into for a few of it's zones in the future instead of minimum lot size.
    We have minimum lot size requirements for all zoning districts.... However, we manage density with max dwelling unit/acre standards for residential districts and maximum FAR standards for commercial and industrial districts.
    Prediction is difficult, especially about the future. :-o
    - Yogi Berra

  6. #6
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    Off-topic:

    How the hell do you regulate this? Unless you have an as-built plan for every house, which I doubt. Please tell me this was foisted upon you by elected officials.

    It's alomost as impossible as determining the average cut-of-jib within 300 feet.
    It's very easy, actually - we have the floor areas of all buildings in our assessing database and we are almost done writing a program that calculates it automatically so we don't have to do it by hand -

    and no, it was my bright idea - -

    as I said, people were nervous about some developments that were either pending before the moratorium or had been built that were not in keeping with the scale of the existing neighborhood and this gets to it - it does allow for a density creep over time but, that's okay, it's the abruptness of some of the infill that was making people upset - so the neighborhood can still re-mold itself over time but the change is gradual -

    we have had a little push back on it but not as much as I thought - some duplexes did need to reduce their size (I mean, they had to pick a different pre-fab model that was a little smaller) so I think it works

    but yeah, you need the data handy to do this or else don't do it - we wanted to do the same performance standard for average setbacks but the data was not readily available to do it without trespassing so we dropped the idea

  7. #7
    FAR ordinances that utilize a sliding FAR scale contingent on lot size, not zoning district, and a base floor area have recently been implemented in various municipalities throughout the NJ and appear to provide a better representation of the permitted home size that could be built on a specific lot in relation to the neighborhood and the Township, in general.

    The sliding-scale FAR standards currently utilized by various municipalities have been litigated and been found to be valid. The primary advantage of implementing a FAR ordinance that utilizes a sliding scale and base floor area is the consistency of home sizes produced throughout a neighborhood.

    Please contact me if you would like to see my "sliding scale" sheet. It's very logical, and best of all, it works!

  8. #8
    Cyburbian plnrgrl's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    we wanted to do the same performance standard for average setbacks but the data was not readily available to do it without trespassing so we dropped the idea
    We have used aerials to check exisiting impervious surface for stormwater calculations, I wonder if you have available aerials to get a general idea of what's on the ground?

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