Two very similar situations have crossed my desk and I am curious as to how you all feel...
Okay, first the background. I am the planner for a small town...we are a perfectly gridded town about 12 blocks wide and 7 blocks high (imagine a map on the wall). each block has 24 lots, 12 above and 12 below and alley. each lot is 25'x100' with street frontage and an alley at the rear.
our zoning ordinance requires a minimum of 5000 square feet for residential uses and 2500 sq. feet for most business uses. that is, any residence needs two lots or more and a business can generally get by with one (provided they are in the right district).
citizen A is interested in selling his property. he owns two lots. one of the lots has a Bed&Brkfst that sits about 5 feet over the lot line onto his second lot. the building footprint is maybe 1500 square feet overall with 250 square feet on the second lot. he is wondering if he can do anything with his second lot. with the rez requirement at 5000 sq. feet, that is out of the question. but could an independent business be built there and the lot sold independently with an easement granted to the owner of the building that sits on the other lot? my gut says 'no,' but they would have 2500 square feet of land, even if a chunk of it were encumbered. but would this not open up the possibility of someone selling a lot with maybe 10 feet of usable frontage with an easement granted to the building owner next door?
how would your codes deal with this situation?
the second situation is three lots, who citizen (group) B is looking to sell. again, every lot in Town is 25'x100'. this time a nice but run-down 1890s historic structure sits on two of the lots plus 5' of the third lot with a total frontage of 55'. after a lot line adjustment, the third lot would be 45'x100' or 4500 square feet and then not big enough for a SF house. i'm planning on recommending granting a variance to allow this lot to be sold and built on the condition that the historic structure next door be refurbished and not torn down. that structure will cost about $850k to be rebuilt and the sale of a $100k lot could help them out. or, the same easement procedure mentioned above could be used.
so, on the surface these two situations seem similar but I am leaning towards recommending a variance for Citizen B's but not Citizen A's.
for those of you working places with much more sophisticated codes and processes...how would this be handled?