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Thread: Limiting building permits?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    Limiting building permits?

    So, this township I am helping with their zoning ordinance re-write, has in their comprehensive plan a recommendation to only issue two new residential building permits each year. I advised them that the recommendation to do that doesn't really give them teeth, and they may want to address it (and all the potential questions and issues it could bring up) in an ordinance.

    So, where do you guys think this type of rule would fit? I'm thinking maybe a stand-alone ordinance chapter. Not really sure, though.

    Has anybody seen limits like this imposed elsewhere? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Keep it where it has no teeth. That will save lots of $$ in legal fees later on.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Instead of limiting the number of building permits they will issue why not have a comprehensive plan that will say where and how they can build. I don't know of a single community that actively wants to turn new residents (and tax dollars) away. If they are worried about sprawl insert some form-based codes make very strict building rules in terms of setbacks, densities, etc.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    What Mike says.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by cch View post
    So, this township I am helping with their zoning ordinance re-write, has in their comprehensive plan a recommendation to only issue two new residential building permits each year. I advised them that the recommendation to do that doesn't really give them teeth, and they may want to address it (and all the potential questions and issues it could bring up) in an ordinance.

    So, where do you guys think this type of rule would fit? I'm thinking maybe a stand-alone ordinance chapter. Not really sure, though.

    Has anybody seen limits like this imposed elsewhere? Thanks.
    Most limits like this I have seen needed to be justified. Personally I don't believe in imposing building permit limits, however I believe in them when you tie them in with availability of public services, utilities, road improvements and other such exactions that have a nexus to them.
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    These limits are referred to as "allotments" in Wisconsin. They are uncommon, but have withstood legal challenges, as long as they have a reasonable relationship to protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the community (for axample, there is a capacity limit on the sewer system that will take XX years to rectify). The ordinance needs to have a STRONG preamble explaining the development restaints. "We don't want development" won't work.

  7. #7
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    As part of our Growth Management Ordinance, we have the ability to limit permits when certain conditions exist. Caution it's use elsewhere, though, since it is based on NH state law and our local Master Plan.

    http://www.londonderrynh.org/plannin...ance081709.pdf (see Section 1.4)
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    I have seen these limits occasionally, but only where the state has allowed it.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    but just two?

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    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    If pulling a building permit becomes a crime, only criminals will get building permits! Or something like that.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    This is in a very rural township in WI. Many years there probably won't even be two people wanting to build there. Their comp plan was just done by a firm, very boilerplate, that showed all the AG areas as "Ag with Scattered Residential" on their land use plan map, with a side note that stated only 2 residential building permits shall be issued a year, in those areas.

    It has nothing to do with infrastructure capacity or anything. It is all about keeping it rural.. the way they like it.

    Thanks for the info. Might have to give these people some bad news. Well, actually, it should be their attorney to give them the bad news.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by cch View post
    This is in a very rural township in WI. Many years there probably won't even be two people wanting to build there. Their comp plan was just done by a firm, very boilerplate, that showed all the AG areas as "Ag with Scattered Residential" on their land use plan map, with a side note that stated only 2 residential building permits shall be issued a year, in those areas.

    It has nothing to do with infrastructure capacity or anything. It is all about keeping it rural.. the way they like it.

    Thanks for the info. Might have to give these people some bad news. Well, actually, it should be their attorney to give them the bad news.
    I think that this could be better accomplished by establishing minimum lots sizes that are sized for acres (like 130,000+ square feet or 200,000+ square feet for 3 and 5 acre parcels) with large large minimum widths and setbacks. Also, the town could disallow subdivisons of less than 5 acres per lot unless the owner provides plans for water and sewer systems. My hometown started doing that with its first zoning law back in 1970, and the instances of retired farmers dividing up their land and selling it off piecemeal in 1-2 acre parcels along the main roads ceased.

    Besides, if somebody is subdividing his land into 100 X 230 lots (about 1/2 acre each), even at 2 new-construction building permits a year, over a decade, that's 20 houses along a 2000 foot stretch of road. A minimum 3 or 5 acre lot size would reduce the number of homes to 3 or 2 homes, respectively, in that same 10 acre parcel. A minimum lot width of 300 or 400 feet would limit the number of homes to 6 or 5 respectively.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I have established growth management plans where we establish a maximum number of permits over a period of years, allowing up to a certain percentage to be granted in any given year. For example, you might limit the number to a total of 12 in any five-year period, with a maximum of four permits in any individual year. This provides some flexibility while still achieving a fixed maximum over the long term. Rather than establishing large lot requirements, in your case I would probably favor smaller lots that preserve larger parcels of ag or open space land. You might consider creating a guideline or requirements that steer new development to particular areas. For example, minimizing disturbance to wetland and woodlands, having frontage on an existing paved street, preserving workable farmland, etc.
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  14. #14
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    2 per yr in all the Ag areas?, or 2 per yr in each?

    Like others have said it looks hard to defend with reason.

    Our nearby megalopolis, Atl, is approaching the limits of its resources as water becomes scarcer and the bone of contention among states. Our whole state, however, like FL, has depended on unbridled development to fuel it economic engine.

    Reining in growth will be a tough sell, but it may be on the horizon.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    What about something similar to the limits imposed by Petaluma, CA? They restrict permits, but the number is way over 2. best check how they define the permits, as well - ie, is an apartment building one permit, or does each unit within the building count as a permit?
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    It seems as though it should be justified by some sort of criteria such as a policy statement to preserve agricultural lands for food production, traffic impacts, school classroom space or ground water protection - tangible things rather than we like it that way. What about commercial permits? I guess there could be several fastfood a strip mall and a bigbox built without blinking an eye.
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