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Thread: Situations to use semi-detached houses?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Situations to use semi-detached houses?

    I was wondering what is the best time to use a semi and why.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by buckie33 View post
    I was wondering what is the best time to use a semi and why.
    Semi-detached condos or houses?

  3. #3
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Seana View post
    Semi-detached condos or houses?
    Probably referring to houses - like this one
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    I've never quite understood the term semi-detached. Are they attached or not?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop View post
    I've never quite understood the term semi-detached. Are they attached or not?
    I think they are attached, but the occupants prefer to think that they are not. Thus, the descriptor semi.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
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  6. #6
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop View post
    I've never quite understood the term semi-detached. Are they attached or not?
    Usually only on one side. Basically, houses sharing one common wall.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    A Detached house is a house that is COMPLEATLY DETACHED from any OTHER houses. A semi-detached it a house that is only semi detached from other houses, meaning it shares one common wall.

    But back to the question, does any PROF planner know when this is best used>

    I posted this question on other forums on thie site and no one know what at semi-detached house was..... So I was wondering what is the best time to use a semi and why.
    Last edited by mendelman; 21 Nov 2008 at 9:40 AM.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by buckie33 View post
    A Detached house is a house that is COMPLEATLY DETACHED from any OTHER houses. A semi-detached it a house that is only semi detached from other houses, meaning it shares one common wall.

    But back to the question, does any PROF planner know when this is best used>
    I've never heard the term before. The picture from mendelman would be called a duplex or side-by-side here. We have attached houses or detached houses (under your definition, the corner house in a line of rowhouses would be semi-detached, while the rest would be plain old attached), not semi-detached, but I understand what you mean now.

    I guess I'll drill down a bit on what your question is - best used compared to what? Personally, I don't see this type of housing as necessary or the best use anywhere, but can think of many places where it would be acceptable. Do you have someone set on building this type of housing and are in need of placing it somewhere?
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by buckie33 View post
    I posted this question on other forums on thie site and no one know what at semi-detached house was.....
    Wikipedia has a good definition of semi-detached houses outside of the U.S.:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semi-detached


    I didn''t provide the definition on your other thread because it was unclear if you were referring to a semi-detached house, townhouse, condominium, or co-op. On this thread you made it clear that it's a house.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Im from the UK and now live in Canada and semi-detached is used in both countries.

    Im just doing a school project of a subdivision and im just thinking that I may or may not add semi-detached houses to it, I allready have single family detached houses and townhouses on the plan.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Im just doing a school project of a subdivision and im just thinking that I may or may not add semi-detached houses to it, I allready have single family detached houses and townhouses on the plan.
    Oh, now it makes sense.

    The semi-detached houses can be a transition between the single family detached and townhouses. This would create a housing density gradient. In many parts of the States, this is also known as "protecting the single family residents from 'those people."

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    The semi-detached houses can be a transition between the single family detached and townhouses.
    (Expanding on ^^this point.)

    The aging baby boomer market will probably lead to an increased demand for semi-detached houses. 'Seniors' (as they're called here) may well find appealing: less responsibility for and cost of semi property upkeep, along with more privacy than a townhouse.

    In addition, if you can possibly get zoning laws to put an age minimum for residents of the semi housing developments: the very appealing 'senior housing'.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Aye, one of those lost in translation situations!

    I see that you posted your intro here; somehow it got buried before we had a chance to properly welcome you. buckie33, welcome to Cyburbia.

  14. #14
    Moderator note:
    (Gedunker)buckie33 It is against our rules to cross-post threads. You may want to review rule 2.5 specifically: Cyburbia's Rules Thread moved from Career Advice subforum and merged here. Thank you and carry on.
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    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    The picture is what I've heard refered to commonly as a duplex. Same thing, different name I suppose.

    The original question is when it would be the best time to use it. What we're seeing here in my area is a rash of developers coming in to amend already-approved plans to include things like this and quadraplexes and other multiple family residential. From what I've seen, the best time to use it is when it becomes marketable and there is a demand for it.
    What do you mean I can't plan? My SimCity has 200,000 people with a 99% happiness rating!

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    I see builders wanting to build them as a means to get more houses on less land, and more houses with less construction cost. I am not sure that the market is there for them, though. I have lived in one once, and my parents (in their 80's, in a retirement community) live in one now. I suspect that as alluded to above, the primary market may be the elderly. I see a lot of them in retirement communities.

    One key aspect of them is that the party wall has to be truly soundproof or no one will want to live in them. Usually that means a masonry party wall.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    I disagree with u on the cost factor. Alot of builders would rather have larger lots as this makes them more money, also the amount of open space or parkland, water front also adds value to home sales.

    On my plan I have an Environmentaly Sensitive Area wood lot to the north and I have a window road looking on to a arterial road to the south. I was thinking of putting townhouses or semi-detached dwellings on the window roads, but im not sure if its a good idea or not.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by buckie33 View post

    On my plan I have an Environmentaly Sensitive Area wood lot to the north and I have a window road looking on to a arterial road to the south. I was thinking of putting townhouses or semi-detached dwellings on the window roads, but im not sure if its a good idea or not.
    What are the pros and cons that you have considered so far?

    As some above mentioned, semi-detached housing can be a way to make higher density more palatable to consumers, a kind of mid-point between townhomes and detached homes. Developers may also see such forms as more efficient since the lot widths required by such a development pattern would be narrower than for detached homes.

    From the perspective of the consumer, many of the concerns about noise and privacy that are posed by townhomes could arise, as well as the corresponding benefits of reduced energy costs.

    I don't really see a dramatic benefit or drawback from a planning perspective, except that including such units in a larger development could provide a certain measure of design variety.

    We have lots of semi-detached development in NYC in the outer areas of Brooklyn and Queens. Generally the side yard is used as a driveway to access a garage or parking lot in the rear of the home. In NYC, semi-detached homes are still considered single family if they are located on separate lots, but some lower-density zoning districts do not allow the semi-detached building form.

    I don't think there is a clear-cut answer to your question. Good luck with your project!

  19. #19
    Cyburbian cmd uw's avatar
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    When is it appropriate to use semi-detached housing. I guess one could discuss this under a few categories.

    Planning

    Utilizing this type of housing is a good way to increase the overall population density. It also serves as a good transition between low and high density residential land uses.

    Market

    Through my experience, I have seen developers utilize semi-detached housing to maximize the number of units as a means of improving yield. This housing can be developed as two-story units that primarily cater to first time buyers or larger bungalow style units that primarily cater to downsizers / retirees.

    I guess at the end of the day there has to be a market for this type of product, regardless of its planning merits.
    "First we shape our buildings, and then our buildings start shaping us." - Sir Winston Churchill

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    I think the definition of "semi-detached" as found in Wikipedia is not appropriate at all. They are simply showing two separate single family dwellings "attached."

    The "semi" portion of the term apparently referring "half" of a building that is "detached" from other buildings in the city!

    We had a situation in which two independent dwellings on the same lot were "connected" by a breeze-way covered passage. The houses had no common wall, but they were "attached" by a physical link - in other words, "semi-" detached.

    The dwellings were used for a main house and a "mother-in-law cottage" that worked well, however, I can see it being abused under future change in ownership to simply a "Two-family dwelling," or Duplex.

    It may be that a minimum separation between the dwellings should be required for fire protection (like a minimum 20 foot covered "breezeway" perhaps).

  21. #21
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Streck View post
    It may be that a minimum separation between the dwellings should be required for fire protection (like a minimum 20 foot covered "breezeway" perhaps).
    Or simply require a firewall between the two units, which is much more common and more land efficient.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  22. #22
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    From experience in Toronto, the semi is used for a variety of reasons.
    1. the land use on the development land is medium density, so you are required to build towns, semis or condos.
    2. It is cheaper to build because it requires less land and two seperate homes share common elements, ie. a wall and foundation.
    3. the prices are more affordable so you broaden your purchaser base.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    Clarification please.

    In our area I am accustomed to seeing the lot designated by zoning ordinance as Single Family, Duplex, Multi-family, Commercial, Useetc.

    Under a Single Family Zoning District we could have only one dwelling on a lot. There could not be a "semi-attached" or "semi-detached" building on the same lot, because that would be two buildings together on the same lot. That would no longer be a single family occupancy or building.

    Do other zoning ordinances allow two (or more) Single Family dwellings (attached or semi-detached) houses on the same lot?

  24. #24
    Cyburbian cmd uw's avatar
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    It depends on what uses the specific zoning ordinance permits. Some may permit single detached, semi-detached or town housing all within the same zone and some may not.
    "First we shape our buildings, and then our buildings start shaping us." - Sir Winston Churchill

  25. #25
    Cyburbian
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    my city zones each to their own

    Single Family Homes (detached homes)
    Semi - detached homes
    street townhouses/cluster townhouses/appartments

    appartments are treated like townhouses but instead of being horrizontal its like having a townhouse on its end in the vertical.

    Diffrent cities have diffrent zoning

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