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Thread: Good zoning enforcement practices

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
    Jun 2002
    Southeast US

    Good zoning enforcement practices

    Here is a story told by a real estate broker:

    "We had a client who bought a dilapidated house with a beautiful piece of property on a marshland," recalls a New York City–based architect. "The broker told him that he could fix the house up however he wanted, insisting that this was a sleepy little town where nobody would care what he did." The architect says that the client built a $15,000 shed in the backyard, took down some trees, and had some of the marshland filled in -- only to have the town insist he put things back because of environmental zoning regulations. The moral of the story: Before you buy into your broker's creative thinking, check with your local zoning commission about what you can and cannot do on a given piece of property."

    Do you have a "similar" story in which required a significant enforcement measure that you are particularly pleased with.

    It does not have to be one personally involving you, but one that shows good enforcement practices.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
    Aug 2008
    Comer, GA
    "...filling in marshland..." may sound like a reasonable real-estate broker's activity, but anyone who reads and can hear today should know better.

    Funny to me how a typical realtor sees an undeveloped property as having "nothing" on it.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    When will people learn to NEVER trust a realtor? They want to sell the house. They will say anything. (Of course there are good ones, too, but don't expect that yours is one of them.)

    My searching in Wisconsin was not bad, but a couple stories from my home purchase in Colorado.

    1. I visited an old house in Boulder Canyon. Former stable built in 1911, later converted to a house. The second bedroom was an interior room with no windows. The lower level garage/basement had been converted to a second unit. The upper level was partially remodeled and expanded. No permits for any of the work (I checked). Their realtor said it was "grandfathered". I love that word. It let's people get away with anything, doesn't it? Later they took out the stove and their realtor stated "There's no kitchen, so its compliant."

    2. The subdivision where I dod buy was selling off the model homes. I looked at one, and asked their sales representative about the five acres behind it. She said "open space". I looked at the plat where it was marked "commercial" and asked if they would place a deed restriction on it guaranteeing that it would never be developed.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  4. #4
    Mar 2006
    New England
    I looked at some houses last fall. One was really undersize and on a postage-stamp lot. Could I put an addition on the back? Sure, said the Realtor, plenty of room back there. Yeah, right. I looked at the regs, minimum rear yard setback for the zone was 30 feet, so the existing structure was already nonconforming. Oh, well, I'm sure you could get a variance, she said...

    Variance and Grandfathered are two words Realtors love to throw around without knowing what they mean, and lately our citizenry's favorite has been adverse possession, including one person who claimed that I (a lowly planner) had "granted them adverse possession."

  5. #5
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
    Jan 2009
    Remote command post at local bar
    Thankfully most of my stories have been people checking to see if they could do the 3,000 square foot garage on their property before buying. I love the shocked look and statements like - that's not what our realtor said.

  6. #6
    Nov 2005
    In the Peach State
    We had someone who was a not so reputable developer that took a historic house, which was stipulated to be preserved. A agreement was made between the county, the developer, and a non-profit organization and the house was to be moved to another location at no cost to the developer. Instead of waiting the two weeks for the house to be moved, he moved it himself into some protected wetlands in a state stream buffer. He then wondered why EPD was on his case.

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