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Thread: Do you, or does your community, define 'dwelling' by reference?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian WhenIGrowUp's avatar
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    Do you, or does your community, define 'dwelling' by reference?

    Aside from a clinical definition of dwelling, do you have any relevant code sections that define, by reference, what a dwelling is and does?

    Do your codes and definitions simply define "dwelling" as the bricks & mortar structure itself, or does any of your language support 'dwelling' as not only habitation inside a structure, but that portion of life's activities that occur outside the structure?

    I'm looking for code language that, by reference, would support the idea that a person's (or persons') dwelling is not simply their home structure itself, but also the driveway; the gazebo; the deck; the pool... everything inside the property line.

    Does anyone live/work in a jurisdiction that views it this way?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    We don't. A dwelling is a building constructed according to the building and other related codes, designed and used as a residence, with one kitchen, living, sanitary and sleeping facilities. All those other uses you listed are accessory to the dwelling and may require building permits of their own. They are ancillary or appurtenant to the primary or principle use. Maybe I'm not clear on what you mean by "by reference" though. What is your reason for wanting to view it this way?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
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    Dwelling Unit definition

    Here's the definition from Clearwater, FLA:

    Dwelling unit means a building or portion of a building providing independent living facilities for one family including provision for living, sleeping, and complete kitchen facilities. A dwelling unit located on residentially zoned property shall be used only for a residential use, unless otherwise specified, and shall not be used or occupied in interval ownership, in fractional ownership, or as a timesharing unit.
    At times like this, you have to ask yourself, "WWJDD?"
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    Word for word from our ordinance:

    "Dwelling and Dwelling Unit: A dwelling is a building providing shelter, sanitation, and the amenities for a permanent habitation. It does not include temporary habitation. It does not include temporary lodging, or sleeping rooms but does include modular homes. Dwelling unit refers to that dwelling accommodation within a building designed for one individual or family unit maintaining a separate and independent housekeeping."
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian WhenIGrowUp's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bim View post
    Maybe I'm not clear on what you mean by "by reference" though. What is your reason for wanting to view it this way?
    Sorry - I didn't mean to be unclear. An example of how to define a word by definition would be:"dwelling - noun; a building or place of shelter to live in; place of residence; abode; home."

    Defining what something is by reference would be more akin to a paragraph that states the allowable uses in or at a dwelling, without having dwelling in a definitions section. To say that accessory structures are legal at an owner's dwelling would allude to the idea that a dwelling is not just the building, it's everywhere a person lives, inside & outside on his/her lot. Or, perhaps an introductory narrative in your zoning ordinance that frames what the purpose of residential zoning is and how it accomplishes that. It can be said that the spirit and intent of "protections" afforded to dwellings can be summarized in that paragraph.

    The reason I ask is that the CC here wants examples of what would constitute the whole of an owner's lot. Dwelling doesn't seem to cover anything more than the building footprint in common usage, so what's a better term for a person's personal environment than dwelling? Is there a distinction between dwelling and dwelling unit? If we can keep the word dwelling but expand its meaning, we'd prefer that. Otherwise, we may need to initiate a text amendment.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Just loose wording in your code. It should say "accessory structures are allowed on a residential lot where a primary residential dwelling currently is on the lot."

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    I guess I'm still not understanding why you want to expand the meaning of "dwelling." I tend to think of it as being too expansive already. It's why in some areas, "family" gets defined as X number of unrelated persons. We all want to think of a dwelling as a single family dwelling. Expanding it could allow multiple families per dwelling. I also don't understand why you might have to do a text amendment if you don't expand the definition. I would stay with something along the lines of what MG suggests.

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