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Thread: Maximum residential floor area in Michigan?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Maximum residential floor area in Michigan?

    Does anyone know of any communities that have a Maximum Residential Floor Area requirement in their ordinance? This would be something different than the typical maximum calculations or FAR. I am looking for something that would limit the total square footage of a house regardless of how big the property is. And because I am in Michigan, I would like to find Michigan examples.

    Also if anyone knows of places in Michigan were a FAR has successfully been used to prevent Big Foot Homes or McMansions from overrunning older neighborhoods, I would appreciate those too.
    Last edited by mendelman; 07 Feb 2008 at 10:56 AM.
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    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    That's an interesting question, espcially if you want to limit the size of a house regardless of property size. If someone has a 40 acre parcel, who really cares if they build a 10,000 square foot mansion?

    I would think that there has to be some linkage to the size of the property when determining an appropriate size for a house. Also, if this involves infill development within an established neighborhood, there may need to be provisions that requrie new housing to mimic the established height, front yard setbacks, etc. This could help to prevent mass structures next to smaller ones.

    You may want to check out some Detroit inner ring suburbs, like Royal Oak, Birmingham, etc. I know that they have dealt with this issue in the past. I think Novi has as well.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I will take a look at their ordinances and see what they did.

    It would be one thing if a person had 40 acres, but the case we are running into is this small city has a bunch of 1200 to 1800 sf homes on lots around 10,000 sf in size. A few years ago someone bought three or four lots, leveled the homes, combined them into a single lot, and built a house with a total square footage 8 or 10 times larger than the surrounding homes. It meets all the existing regs (which would allow a 7,000 sf home on the 10,000 sf lot.) It completely changed the character of the neighborhood and ticked off several neighbors. Since then a few others have showed interest in doing the same thing. The section of this street could go from having 8 homes on each side of the street to having only 3 or 4 homes on each side.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    If the lots are in a platted subdivion, the city may be able to exert some control over the division/combination of lots though a local subdivision ordinance. You could obvioulsy put an outright restriction on the square footage of a house. I personally would think about putting a maximum size allowed for a lot. Instead of a minimum lot size requirement of 10,000 sf, define a range of allowable lot sizes such as 10,000 sf up to 15,000 sf. You could also then build in provisions allowing the Planning Commision/legislative body to approve larger lot sizes based on topography or other extenuating circumstances.

    If this is unplatted property, there is little probably little you can do that would be politically acceptable.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Clay Twp (St Claire County) had an ordinance specifying a maximum lot coverage as well as a maximum height. This is from the early 00's; dunno what they adopted since.

    HTH

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Mark's avatar
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    Big Foot Ord.

    Birmingham has a big foot ordinance. They were experiencing tear downs and every legal square inch of land and air being filled with very rectangular boxey houses. The new homes were very much out of scale with the existing ones. Not that familiar with the ordinance though.
    Ohhhh Mama, can this really be the end!

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