Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Backyard building line/easement vs. concrete patio

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    3

    Backyard building line/easement vs. concrete patio

    I have a 10' build line (I believe referred to as an easement) in my lot, and I'm having a concrete patio put in. I really want the patio to extend like 1-2 feet over the build line to help increase the size of the patio so I can actually enjoy my patio furniture, vs. not having enough room.

    The house is new, only 4 months old, and my builder told me that it is not a problem - nobody will come around measuring to see if I'm in violation, and my HOA won't care, HOWEVER, when it comes time to sell my house (maybe 10 years from now??) a property survey will be done and they will discover the patio extends into the build line area. He thinks this could make the title company hold up or block the close of sale of the house.

    So I'm wondering if this is really a risk and I should not do it, or if this is just precautionary type stuff and it is no big deal. I dont' have any underground piping or water or drainage or sewer lines going through this section of the lot, so I don't see why it would be a problem, but I'm just a stupid homebuyer who's untrained on this kind of stuff, which is why I'm asking you guys.

    So please let me know what you think!

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    10,062
    Don't trust your builder if he is giving you a line like that. There is a right way to do this. Go to the City and the HOA first.

    A few years ago a builder in our area decided he could put up an apartment building worth several million, without the permits required from the city. When the courts finally settled things, they required him to remove the completed building. It is an extreme case, but demonstrates that these requirements are enforced. You could be required to remove the extra patio at your own expense.

    There are good reasons for setbacks. Perhaps it is to not encroach on neighbors or to provide pervious surface for stormwater infiltration.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    3
    What City Dept should I go to and what am I asking: The purpose of this build line or to move it? Is this a common request and do you think they would let me move it?

  4. #4
    First, there's a difference between a building line and an easement.

    A building line is shown on the recorded plat for the subdivision and is controlled both by the planning department and all of the onwers of record in the subdivision. The planning department might waive the requirement in cases of a particular hardship but the hardship would have to be something more than "I would like a larger, more functional patio". Even if the planning department approves the variance, you are still required to get the approval of the owners of record (either all of them or a majority, read the subdivision covenants for details). In other words, you face quite a hurdle either way.

    An easement is ground that you own and maintain that is dedictaed for utility service (both public and private) and is recorded as such on the plat. To build in an easement typically requires approval of all utilities (whether actually located in the easement or not) as well as any public body that the easement may have been dedicated to (a Public Works Board, for example). It might be possible to have a portion of the easement vacated, but that's a bigger hassle than getting approval to build over it.

    Here, if we discovered you built in an easement without prior approval (and it does happen) we could fine you as much as $300 per day, with each day being a new violation.

    I, personally, would not risk it. I'd build the patio to the edge of the setback/easement and then put down concrete pavers or other materials that could be removed later if necessary.
    Je suis Charlie

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    3
    Ok, thanks all, for the replies..

    I'm going to just deal with the patio as-is, and not risk it. I certainly don't want to pay $300/day until I get a hackhammer in to fix it..

  6. #6
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Machesney Park, IL
    Posts
    1,437
    From my experiences, most ordianances allow paved surfaces to go into setback areas. It isn't like a structure, no walls or anything. But, if this is an easement, and not a setback line, then there may be utilities or other things under there. I'm sure you wouldn't want your patio to get torn up if some kind of utility repair is needed. So, the first thing would be to find out whether it is a building setback line or an easement.

    If it is an easement you are pretty much SOL. If it is a setback line you can always apply for a variance from the regulations. There is a non-refundable fee involved, and you have to prove a hardship, you'll have to attend at least one public meeting to plead your case, etc. Some people hire lawyers to handle the process. And after all of that, it could ultimately be denied. Talk to your Planning staff to see what your options are. If you do build it, in violation, and it is discovered, fees are usually increased to remedy it, or you could be fined.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Mr. Cool Ice
    Posts
    4,162
    you really need to find out exactly what this line is if you want a hard answer (not that, IMO, you havent already been given the correct info).

    That being said, if it is an easment, you may have more wiggle room depending what the easement is for. 1-2' encroachment into a utility easement (or any other easement) happens all the time. Most times, its just labelled as such on a survey and you move it.

    Is this the right thing to do? Probably not, probably not, but how bad do you really want the patio?

    Maybe a compromise...do it in brick or some type of paver that can be removed easily.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Upper left edge
    Posts
    4,357
    Quote Originally posted by cch View post
    From my experiences, most ordianances allow paved surfaces to go into setback areas. It isn't like a structure, no walls or anything. But, if this is an easement, and not a setback line, then there may be utilities or other things under there. I'm sure you wouldn't want your patio to get torn up if some kind of utility repair is needed. So, the first thing would be to find out whether it is a building setback line or an easement.

    If it is an easement you are pretty much SOL. If it is a setback line you can always apply for a variance from the regulations. There is a non-refundable fee involved, and you have to prove a hardship, you'll have to attend at least one public meeting to plead your case, etc. Some people hire lawyers to handle the process. And after all of that, it could ultimately be denied. Talk to your Planning staff to see what your options are. If you do build it, in violation, and it is discovered, fees are usually increased to remedy it, or you could be fined.
    What cch said. Check the details. In my jurisdiction we allow anything that doesn't need a building permit to be in the setbacks. But you don't want to build your patio on top of utility lines. Ask questions, and don't trust your builder to tell you the full story. If you have a homeowners association, read their rules about this and understand them. Don't take the word of a homeowner's officer without reading the rules yourself. Also check with your planning and building departments. Tell them exactly what you want to do, with as much information as possible. Bring a scale drawing if you can prepare one. They will answer the question you ask, so be sure to ask your question with as much information as you can. The devil is in the details as they say, so provide details.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Aliquippa Pa
    Posts
    233
    Don't trust your builder if he is giving you a line like that. There is a right way to do this. Go to the City and the HOA first.
    Of course, you have to take into account that asking that sort of question here is a lot like walking into the police station and asking whether it's ok to sneak through a red light at 3 a.m., when you're the only car on the road.

    What sort of answer would you expect?

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Pervious concrete and lot coverage
    Design, Space, and Place
    Replies: 10
    Last post: 22 Sep 2009, 8:17 AM
  2. Pervious concrete
    Design, Space, and Place
    Replies: 9
    Last post: 08 Dec 2005, 9:29 AM
  3. Patio Man Revisited
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 0
    Last post: 26 Mar 2004, 5:53 PM
  4. Crosswalk treatments - Concrete?
    Design, Space, and Place
    Replies: 6
    Last post: 08 Nov 2002, 6:31 PM
  5. Patio Man in Sprinkler City
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 0
    Last post: 12 Aug 2002, 11:17 AM