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Thread: Corner lot: which is the front?

  1. #26
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Prying open an old one...

    I've been directed to amend our corner lot definition to give owners more flexability. Here's what I'm taking to hearing.

    LOT, CORNER: A lot abutting two (2) or more intersecting streets. (Also see, Lot Line, Front.)

    LOT LINE, FRONT: The property line fronting a roadway right-of-way which provides the principle access; and used by the U.S. Postal Service for the delivery of mail to the structure located on the property. In the case of a Corner Lot, the owner may select which lot line abutting a street is the Front Lot Line.
    The new language is underlined. Any thoughts?
    Annoyingly insensitive

  2. #27
    My concern, Richmond Jake, is the possibility of a future owner using that language to decide to change what she/he considers the front after a former owner chose the other street frontage possibly resulting in lots of non-compliance with various setbacks.

    Update on the O.P.: the preservationists killed it, wisely, making the problem go away at least until someone else wants to develop the property.
    Je suis Charlie Hebdo. Je suis Bataclan. Je suis Bruxelles. Je suis Nice.

  3. #28
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    My concern, Richmond Jake, is the possibility of a future owner using that language to decide to change what she/he considers the front after a former owner chose the other street frontage possibly resulting in lots of non-compliance with various setbacks......
    That's a great point and we've thought about that. What we'll do is place a note on the electronic parcel record sheet identifying the front yard.

    I may adjust the language to say it's a one time choice that lasts in perpetuity.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  4. #29
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    The shorter of the two frontages is always the front yard. That is a concrete way to assure that in the future no landowner will change their mind. Options are bad when it comes to lot lines, setback, etc. in my experience.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  5. #30
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    The shorter of the two frontages is always the front yard. That is a concrete way to assure that in the future no landowner will change their mind. Options are bad when it comes to lot lines, setback, etc. in my experience.
    Dittos on this. This has been my experience as the best way to objectively and perpetually deal with this issue.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  6. #31
    Cyburbian Plus
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    From my fair community's ZC -


    “Front yard” .... On a corner lot, the front lot line is the shorter of any two adjacent lot lines having frontage on a street.

    If a lot is bounded on two opposite sides by streets, minimum front yard setbacks shall be maintained on both front yards. Accessory buildings or structures may not be located in either front yard setback. The Area Plan Commission may make exceptions to this requirement through the subdivision approval process

  7. #32
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Nitpik: why is "Corner Lot" capitalized?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  8. #33
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    They both are! If one side doesn't have the front setback then it could be close to the street than the lot next to it!

  9. #34
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    The shorter of the two frontages is always the front yard. That is a concrete way to assure that in the future no landowner will change their mind. Options are bad when it comes to lot lines, setback, etc. in my experience.
    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    Dittos on this. This has been my experience as the best way to objectively and perpetually deal with this issue.
    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    From my fair community's ZC -
    What legitimate public or government interest is advanced by telling a corner lot owner what the front property line is?

    (That sounds so curmudgeon-like.)

    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Nitpik: why is "Corner Lot" capitalized?
    I really don't know.

    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    They both are! If one side doesn't have the front setback then it could be close to the street than the lot next to it!
    That's a reverse corner lot. Nothing wrong with that in my view.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  10. #35
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Richmond Jake View post
    What legitimate public or government interest is advanced by telling a corner lot owner what the front property line is?

    (That sounds so curmudgeon-like.)
    Same as setting standards for any setback I suppose...ensure adequate light/ventilation, emergency access, neighborhood character, etc.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  11. #36
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Both of the cities I work for use a dual frontage rule. If a side of a building faces a street, you will use the front setback, which means a corner lot has two front setbacks.
    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

  12. #37
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    From our code...

    LOT, FRONT, REAR AND DEPTH: The front of a lot is that boundary line which borders on a street other than an alley. In case of a corner lot, the side which has the front entrance shall be considered the front of such lot.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  13. #38
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Same as setting standards for any setback I suppose...ensure adequate light/ventilation, emergency access, neighborhood character, etc.
    Again with the dittos.

    It is the most straightforward way to deal with the situation....and since most/many lots subdivided after the Land Ordinance of 1785 and Public Land Survey System are rectilinear-ish (corners approximately 90 degree) and many front/rear setbacks are larger than side setbacks, the practical application of such setbacks when constructing a building require that the smaller setback be applied to the narrower width and the larger setbacks be applied to larger depth. This allows for the construction of buildings (houses mostly) that fit best with cultural normal in the US.
    Last edited by mendelman; 01 Mar 2012 at 12:25 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  14. #39
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Same as setting standards for any setback I suppose...ensure adequate light/ventilation, emergency access, neighborhood character, etc.
    That's just the party line, comrade. You're grasping at straws.

    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    ..... In case of a corner lot, the side which has the front entrance shall be considered the front of such lot.
    I like that one. It gives a corner lot owner the option, no?
    Annoyingly insensitive

  15. #40
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Richmond Jake View post
    That's just the party line, comrade. You're grasping at straws.



    I like that one. It gives a corner lot owner the option, no?
    For new construction, yes. But my city is basically built-out, with a lot of pre-WWII housing.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  16. #41
    Cyburbian Kingmak's avatar
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    Reviving an oldie, but...



    This is on a corner lot. All setbacks are met: 25 front and rear, 12 corner side, 6 interior side. The front yard setback is actually the right side of this picture (large "front yard" setback). There's a floodway that runs through the lot and the builder was limited to pretty much this small portion of the lot. He asked for a variance for more buildable area, and was denied (see Spite House).

    Everything is legal on this house, but the issue as you can see here is, "the front of the house doesn't face the front yard". Do any of your Codes require a door facing the front yard setback? Ever experiment with build-to lines on corner lots?
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  17. #42
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I love this house. Definitely a spite house, simply a waste of materials and energy, but a matter of principle.

    We don't have a requirement that the front door face the front lot line and I would not want to create that level of requirement. The front door faces a street, which is the important part. What would be the public purpose to require the front door face the front lot line?

    Also, changing the code to deal with one outlier person/situation will have negative unintended consequences/extensive nonconformity throughout the built out areas of the muni. I would guess there are hundreds (at a minimum) of situations in your muni where normal houses on normal lots are built with front doors facing a corner side lot line. Now what do you do?
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  18. #43
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Kingmak View post
    Reviving an oldie, but...

    Awesome! It's half a house!

    No code here speaking to the orientation of the dwelling.

    I'm sorry, but I have to borrow this image for use in the FAC
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  19. #44
    Cyburbian Plus dvdneal's avatar
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    I've never had a code to say which way the front door faces. I just try to establish the best buildable area on corner lots and let the people go.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  20. #45
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Ha

    That place would go for $3million and change in San Francisco.
    Also a "floodway" on the property??? Mapped? Really? How could that "house" not be in the floodway, that lot is flat as a pancake. If it is in the 1% floodplain, it seems to be a nice little barrier to flow.
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
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  21. #46
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I prefer that the front door (front of structure) face the addressed street. That is not necessarily the same as the front lot line. On corner lots, I ask which way the house will face when assigning street numbers.

  22. #47
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hmmmm

    So a home on a corner lot with a collector/arterial street on one side and local street on the other side can "choose" to have a driveway out on the busy 4 lane collector road as well has an address on that side??? NOT
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  23. #48
    Cyburbian Plus dvdneal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    So a home on a corner lot with a collector/arterial street on one side and local street on the other side can "choose" to have a driveway out on the busy 4 lane collector road as well has an address on that side??? NOT
    Yes, but I'm doing rural county stuff so a corner is just a corner. It's rare that I have a collector/local street. It's all "arterial" if I can even call it that. If there is a collector, I would address and call that the front typically, but for me that means I actually have a plat which is rare enough.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  24. #49
    Cyburbian Kingmak's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    That place would go for $3million and change in San Francisco.
    Also a "floodway" on the property??? Mapped? Really? How could that "house" not be in the floodway, that lot is flat as a pancake. If it is in the 1% floodplain, it seems to be a nice little barrier to flow.
    I should clarify. There's a floodway easement per the master drainage study (not on the FIRM). The thing is that the side yard is for all intents and purposes the front yard. I'd prefer not to get into architectural controls because a) its Texas, and b) its not the problem. One purpose of the front yard setback is to have consistency in neighborhood development. If this was downtown, it'd be fine as it looks like it could be a rowhouse or something weird. We have chapter exceptions for minimum front yard setbacks, the 40% rule establishing the minimum setback (think historic areas). But that allows for flexibility to go to the minimum setback, not require it. It doesn't establish it as a maximum setback, which I think it should if we're talking about protecting established neighborhoods.
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  25. #50
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    We like to have the front door and driveway face the address street for emergency services, but we don't have regulations to require that.

    I would love to hear what the neighbors think of this.

    BTW, is it ok to steal this picture and the information? I would like to use it for a training that I have coming up.
    There is no such thing as failure, only learning experiences. However, it is our choice to learn the lesson and change or not.

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