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Thread: Question regarding accessory and primary structures

  1. #1
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Question regarding accessory and primary structures

    This situation came up at a recent pre-app meeting. I wanted to get your thoughts on the matter.

    Applicant owns lots A, B, and C, which are contiguous but not combined. Applicant's residence is on lot A, lots B & C are vacant. Applicant proposes to put 900 SF garage on lot B (would require area variance for size).

    Zoning code does not allow accessory structure as sole structure on a lot.

    However, a small portion of the residence, < 50sf, is on lot B.

    Does lot B then contain a primary structure thereby allowing the accessory structure?
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    My first inkling would be no. Can the property owner request a lot line adjust of A & B (even C if necessary to even things out) to add in the garage to lot A, than apply for a variance (i hope there is a good reason for the variance) for said garage?
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    Around here we say if the principle structure is/has been built across the property line, essentially they have combined the two lots, so yes we would allow a garage.

    Accessory structures by our code have to be smaller in height & sqft to the primary so their house would be pretty small.
    Last edited by JNA; 17 Mar 2010 at 12:02 PM.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Realistically he would never sell Lot B separately because there is a portion of the house on it but sometimes lot line adjustments can be more complicated than not so that isn't always the best answer. What you could do is allow how to build it but first have his attorney attach an "Affidavit of Non-Severability" to Lots A and B which means they are still separate legal parcels but the Abstract/Title says they can never be sold separately - this is effectively joining them but it a lot easier on the Recorder's Office.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    NO. Require lot combination. But... is lot C non-conforming? If so, that should be combined also. The reason for combining A&B - they could, in the future, be conveyed separately, resulting in a conconformity.

    EDIT: Even with an encroachment from A, they in theory can be conveyed separately.

  6. #6
    Our code ignores lot lines when the properties are in single ownership, are contiguous, and are used for the same purpose.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Cloverhill's avatar
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    Accessory Structure

    We have that happen often.

    I agree with the previous comments that a boundary line adjustment (or whatever you call it in your jurisdiction) is in order. We also allow someone to build an apartment above the garage and call it a primary use. Sometimes people do this prior to building a larger house. It allows them to live on the property while building.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    A lot combination (or boundary adjustment to make conformity for at least the one lot) is definitely in order. Both are easy fixes for the problem (and I do mean problem - we have 6 or 7 "secondary" buildings on lots with no primary because of situations just like this, and they are NO END of hassles.) I want a 1-800 number for the real estate brokers and wing-nuts asking if they can start welding businesses in these buildings deep in subdivisions.
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Our recommendation was to combine at least lots A & B.

    We don't have lot line adjustments. [Add to list of defaults with Code]


    The guy is appearing before us because he was cited by Code for having two large storage containers on lot C. The garage would eliminate the need for the storage containers.

    Another wrench is that he has some tax issue that he's currently working out with the County and he believes (and we need to verify) that under this agreement he's not allowed to combine the lots.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  10. #10
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    At my former job, lots A & B would be considered a "zoning lot", which means that the existing house is using both lots and is therefore the primary structure on both. We would allow an accessory structure to be built on B because, for zoning purposes, the two platted lots are considered one large zoning lot.

    Allowing for zoning lots is much easier than the process for lot consoliadation. Consolidation requires the full replatting process and is burdensome and unnecessary here.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Many jurisdictions have a code explanation (i.e. General Requirements Section) that says that when a primary residence spans multiple lots the lots are effectively combined. Check both your municipal and state codes to see if you have such a general requirement. If not, you should probably require that the two lots be reverted to one lot.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian kltoomians's avatar
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    Here, we may require a covenant recorded to both parcels binding them together. It's not as good as formally vacating a line, recording a revised map, or a property line adjustment (here you cannot do a property line adjustment with yourself), but it should show up on a title report. We have a template, fill out the top portion and send the dude down the hall to get recorded...and he brings us proof.
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  13. #13
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    Our code ignores lot lines when the properties are in single ownership, are contiguous, and are used for the same purpose.
    I've seen codes like that. Also, it termed the use as a "zoning lot."

    My current code says combine the lots and then we can do the garage.
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  14. #14
    Cyburbian solarstar's avatar
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    Our code would consider the two lots (or the 3 since he has storage containers on the third one) as one "development site" and would be therefore okay. When we issue an accessory permit like that, we advise the owner that if he decides to sell off the site with the house on it then he has to either remove the accessories on the other lots or establish a principal structure on those lots. Generally, citizens seem to be aware of this and frequently report violators to Code Enforcement (for a shed sitting by itself, for example).

    Sounds like you did the reasonable thing in combining the two lots where the house sits. It should help his tax issues since he now will only have two lots instead of three. Good luck!

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    We would allow the property owner to execute and record a "restrictive Lot Line Covenant" that says in essence that the two lots are still individual lots, nut for zoning purposes we will treat them as one. If they want to sell the lots individually they would have to get city permission, which would not be forthcoming until the garage is either removed or converted to something that is allowed (such as a dwelling).

    You really need a lot line adjustment ordinance. You are going to be stuck with that overlapping house for a long time.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian kltoomians's avatar
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    I think a deed restriction or deed covenant (i.e. recorded to the deed) is the best way to go since I title company should be able to pick it up.
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