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Thread: Zero lot lines and overhangs?

  1. #1

    Zero lot lines and overhangs?

    We have an issue in a Patio Home District, which allows a zero setback on one side, where a builder wants to build a home on the property line, as allowed, but also wants an overhang. Normally, our code allows for eave overhangs up to 18" into a setback, but in this case such an overhang would be over the neighboring property. The builder has included a typical maintenance easement on the adjacent property and has also included a provision in the deed restrictions that allow for such an overhang. My question is, has anyone else had a similar situation and how does your code address it?

    Seems to be 2 options: 1) allow it, since the deed restrictions address it and all building codes are met, or 2) do not allow it by requiring that all parts of all structures not extend beyond the property line. Unfortunately our current ordinance does not specifically address this situation, so we are both trying to come up with an interpretation of our current code, but also figure out how to specifically address it in a code amendment.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Your department should not concern itself with deed restrictions, covenants, or any other form of self-imposed limitations. Your job is to enforce the city's code, not get between neighbors who go against a covenant. Those are all civil issues. Your question is interesting and I would approach it this way: Your code allows 18 inches into the setback. Because there is no setback in this district there is nothing to go 18 inches into and therefore they can either build the deck so it does not go to the property line ("but I need it there") or they can build it without an overhang. I would really shy away from getting involved in private deeds and restrictions.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian kltoomians's avatar
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    Does the fire chief have anything to say about it?
    "I'm a boomerang, doesn't matter how you throw me
    I turn around and I'm back in the game
    Even better than the old me"

  4. #4
    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    My first thought: This sound like one of those issues that was never explicitly put into an ordinance because it's absurd on its face.

    Current property owner: "Can I build a structure whose eaves overhang a neighboring property?"

    You: "Ummm, no, because that's, um, another property, not your property."

    Current property owner: "Oh, but right now I own both properties, even though I'm going to sell both properties to other people when I finish building. So it's ok, right?"

    You: "Ummmmmm, no, because it violates code, because there's no setback, and, ummmmmmm, it is actually overhanging another property that, you know, other people will own."

    Current property owner: "Yeah, but I can make an easement and stuff, so the future property owners will be stuck with it whether they like it or not. So it's ok, right?"

    If you allow the overhang, you are preferring the current property owner over the property itself, which IMHO is the true object of the regulation. Just because a builder owns adjacent properties doesn't mean he/she can start running roughshod over the regs. Imagine this scenario: "Hey, I can build this garage one foot away from the property line even though I have to have a 15-foot setback, because I own the adjacent property, right? After all, I'd just be setting back from myself, right? Because I own all the property now, so it's like one big lot, right? Plus, I can do an easement anyway."

    If that doesn't convince the builder, ask him/her how far an 18 inch overhang can extend into a zero-inch setback. If he/she comes up with an answer that is greater than zero, then someone should take away his/her contractor's license.

  5. #5
    Does the fire chief have anything to say about it?
    No, the proposed building will still meet all fire code and building code separation requirements. The builder's response is: 1) you (the City) let us do this before, years ago (unfortunately true), and 2) the entire subdivision has the same deed restriction, so not only does every property owner know up front that this stipulation exists (theoretically), but they also benefit from the same stipulation. One more thing, just in case someone is thinking of this, the deed restriction limits the overhang to no more than 18 inches and requires gutters that direct the water back onto the subject property.

    JimPlans,
    I understand your comments and tend to agree. However, here in this part of Texas, the usual response is "if the adjacent properties voluntarily agree to an easement, who are we to say they can't do it". In addition, we would basically be extending the principle that allows an overhang up to 18" beyond the "setback" which in this case is the property line. So, for example, even if the deed restriction allowed a 36" overhang, we would not allow it because it exceeds the maximum 18" allowed.

    My gut tells me that this shouldn't be allowed, but I'm having a hard time finding something to hang my hat on.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    It crosses the property line. What would a title insurance company say? "It was done before." "Perhaps so, but not since I have been here working with this code."
    And there would be IMO one less buildable lot: much like another thread where a structure was built over a lot line in the same ownership.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ok_planner View post
    My gut tells me that this shouldn't be allowed, but I'm having a hard time finding something to hang my hat on.
    Here's what you hang your hat on......

    Quote Originally posted by ok_planner
    our code allows for eave overhangs up to 18" into a setback...
    The following already explained perfectly....

    Quote Originally posted by stroskey
    Your code allows 18 inches into the setback. Because there is no setback in this district there is nothing to go 18 inches into and therefore they can either build the deck so it does not go to the property line
    Quote Originally posted by JimPlans
    If that doesn't convince the builder, ask him/her how far an 18 inch overhang can extend into a zero-inch setback. If he/she comes up with an answer that is greater than zero, then someone should take away his/her contractor's license.
    You said that this was allowed in the past, but at some point the line needs to be drawn in the sand and it needs to be enforced correctly. It sounds as though the code is clear (imho) and I would enforce it in that manner. They can always appeal the interpretation to the ZBA (at least here in MI they can, not sure about there)

  8. #8
    Cyburbian kltoomians's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner View post
    You said that this was allowed in the past, but at some point the line needs to be drawn in the sand and it needs to be enforced correctly. It sounds as though the code is clear (imho) and I would enforce it in that manner. They can always appeal the interpretation to the ZBA (at least here in MI they can, not sure about there)
    Agreed...you are not bound by the sins of your predecessors...De Novo!
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cloverhill's avatar
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    Embrace your inner bureacrat...

    Agreed, stick with what your ordinance says. Sometimes your bureaucratic discretion has to be set aside for some old fashioned bureaucracy.

    Who ever thought zero lot line lots were a good idea anyway? I've got land owners that cannot share a driveway, let alone figure out how to allow one homeowner the access to paint the shudders hanging 18 inches into the next guys yard.

    Say no and move on.
    No one stood up and yelled, "Socialist Government takeover of science and engineering!" when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian transguy's avatar
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    Do you have a plan (or aerial with lot lines of the previously approved homes) that shows what you are talking about? My first question is why do they need to do this? If all of the lots have the same scenario, why not shift the homes on the lots, or slightly adjust the lot lines? I'm assuming that the overhang is on the side yards? So if each property has the same scenario, they are all shifted to one side of the lot. Am I missing something here?
    Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cloverhill View post
    I've got land owners that cannot share a driveway, let alone figure out how to allow one homeowner the access to paint the shudders hanging 18 inches into the next guys yard.

    Say no and move on.
    I got landowners that don't share a darn thing and they still can't agree and complain about everything

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Most, if not all, zero lot line subdivisions have easements recorded on the final map allowing the zero lot side of the home to allow for overhangs and similar protrusions into the adjoining lot. These easements also allow the owner of the zero lot side access to maintain that side of the home from the adjoining property.

    Its normal, don't worry. If you or your council have concerns with this, don't do zero lot line subdivisions because these easements are a fact of life for them.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by smccutchan1 View post
    Most, if not all, zero lot line subdivisions have easements recorded on the final map allowing the zero lot side of the home to allow for overhangs and similar protrusions into the adjoining lot. These easements also allow the owner of the zero lot side access to maintain that side of the home from the adjoining property.
    I agree that overhangs and maintinence easements often seem to be part of zero-lot line "patio home" developments (I have been making a study of them ever since they were discussed in a previous thread here). Like this one in Yakima, WA:

    http://www.ci.yakima.wa.us/citycode/...ine_devel.html

    "6. Maintenance and Drainage Easements. A perpetual maintenance, eave overhang, and drainage easement at least five feet wide shall be provided on the lot adjacent to the zero lot line property line, which, with the exception of walls and/or fences, shall be kept clear of structures. This easement shall be shown on the plat and incorporated into each deed transferring title on the property. The wall shall be maintained in its original color and treatment unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the two affected lot owners. Eaves, but no other part of any structure, may protrude across a side lot line, and such protrusion shall not exceed 18". Water runoff from the dwelling placed on the lot is limited to the easement area."

    If the OP's regs had this sort of language in them, that would be fine. But, it sounds like the regs don't cover this, and the builder wants to do something that may be appropriate in places like Yakima but not appropriate in the OP's jurisdiction.

    If eave overhangs are common in patio home developments, and standard patio home plans include eaves that overhang the maintinence easement, then the OP should probably consider adding that to their regs. But, because its not there, I wouldn't make an exception based on how things are done in other places. Maybe I'm too much of a stickler, but I'm pretty much a strict constructionist when it comes to regs.

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