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Thread: Defining building type through zoning specs

  1. #1
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    Defining building type through zoning specs

    This might be an inane query...

    I am looking to define building types through lot size, setbacks, massing, FAR, etc. specs. For example, a residential building on a 50x200' lot, 30' setback and so forth...fits in the range of a __________ residential building category.

    I have been searching for any such standards but haven't had any luck. Any help is appreciated!
    Moderator note:
    Moved to Land Use and Zoning fourms. This is really zoning question, and not a design question.
    mendelman
    Last edited by mendelman; 11 Sep 2007 at 2:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by christine View post
    This might be an inane query...

    I am looking to define building types through lot size, setbacks, massing, FAR, etc. specs. For example, a residential building on a 50x200' lot, 30' setback and so forth...fits in the range of a __________ residential building category.

    I have been searching for any such standards but haven't had any luck. Any help is appreciated!
    Single-family detached? Low-density residential? Blue? Four sided? Cheap? I'm probably way out in left field with these suggestions. Are you trying to categorize the building type by the lot size, the number of dwelling units, etc? I am guessing this is for a zoning ordinance?

    If you are looking to define residential building types according to style then that is a different question (in which case they should be in guidelines or PUD design requirements rather than in the zoning ordinance).

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Jess's avatar
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    You might be looking for a zoning ordinance.. here's a zoning handbook in NYC..

    ..The Zoning Handbook is dedicated to the memory of Julius Spector, who made zoning understandable to all the planners, professionals and novices he so ably guided during his 32 years with the Department of City Planning...
    ..and here's the link..

    http://www.tenant.net/Other_Laws/zoning/zontoc.html

    Good Luck.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for your help! I am not, however, looking for a zoning ordinance per se; instead I am seeking perhaps layman terminology that relates a lot's zoning specs with its typical place. So, to expand my first example, a residential structure on a 50x200' lot, with 30' setback and so forth...fits in the typical range of a "village single-family residence".

    This might be too imprecise an explanation to get anywhere with but I appreciate any comments or feedback offered.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    single family residence. I mean at the size, it pretty defines that. Or you can say, typical single family, or tract home for the everyday counter encounters. I don't know if this helps.
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Are you using this terminology for a report, neighborhood plan, comprehensive plan, public meeting, neighbrohood meeting? Village in this context is a subjuective/arbitrary term: what may be village residential to your community is estate residential to another. This is similar to 'neighborhood' commercial, 'transition' historic district, 'core' office districts.

    Two ways to simplify this:
    1. Check to see if your zoning ordinance has a purpose/description section for each zoning district. These descriptions typically do not include the lot standards: Here is one example:

    The E single-family residential district (low density estate) is composed of certain quiet, low density, residential areas of the village plus certain open areas where similar residential development appears likely to occur. It is the intent of this district to provided for an environment of predominantly low-density single-unit dwellings plus certain additional uses such as schools, parks, and certain public faciltiies which serve the residents living in the district.

    2. Diagrams including dimensioned setbacks, widths, areas, etc. help the public visualize this residential type.

  7. #7
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    The terminology will be used for a public report. I think your post is very helpful as it hits the issue exactly: that is, are there non-subjective, uniform terms that can be applied across context in the field so that if I said "village estate" you would be able to understand that as falling within a range of set parameters? I think the answer is no.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    What I usually do is to draw site plans that match the standards I am proposing. In some cases, I will even selet properties from the neighborhood to use as examples. If the new standards are different from the old ones, I will sometimes create both a before and after plan to demonstrate how the changes will impact a typical property. This has been very effective in helping people to understand the standards being proposed.

    With any simple zoning standards, what gets built can vary quite a bit. Take your example of a 50 x 200 foot lot with 30 foot setback. Many things might fit there, and even a particular use, like a single-family home, can look remarkably different because of its design. One might fit most people's idea of "village" while another might have a very urban character.
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    I think there are some terms that usually have usually have similar interpretations by communities:

    Estate residential large lot residential, and equestrian are usually larger residential lots.
    Multi-family residential is usually apartment buildings/condos.
    Single-family attached or single-family semi-detached is usually another term for duplexes.

    It is all dependent on how you define these terms. If you are preparing a report, use the definitions provided in the zoning ordinance, subdivision ordinance. If you are creating new terms, define what these are in the report (I have seen a handful of reports with flowery terminology but little consistency).

    Regarding village estate residential, are you
    A. trying to characterize the land use as (1) estate residential and (2) within the village corporate limits?
    B. trying to characterize the land use as (1) estate residential and (2) close to the village CBD?

    Personally, the phrase sounds like an oxymoron (but again, it's all in how you define the term).

    Hope this helps-

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