Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Can a city ban certain deed restrictions?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2008
    Location
    the delta
    Posts
    1,209

    Can a city ban certain deed restrictions?

    We have a number of vacant gas stations that have been turned into either used car lots or liquor stores. upon investigation I've learned it is because the original owners put deed restrictions on the sale of the sites that they can not be used for gasoline sales for up to 25 years after the original sale. I understand this is to protect their business but it hurts the city because these uses are not only unappealing but the physical layout of the property really doesn't fit with anything other than sales of gas. Another example would be a big box store that moved and left a shell of a building - their deed says that no "general goods" retailer can use more than X square feet of the building. Basically we'll forever have a shell sitting there if a competitor can't move in.

    I really think big box stores are bad because of this singular issue - no one else is large enough to need the space.... so...

    Can a city limit these deed restrictions?
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    South of Canada
    Posts
    347
    Seems like a good question, but I don't see how, at least at the local level. HOA's come to mind. They have all sorts of restrictions and people constantly call us asking us to help because their deeds or HOA docs say no fences or swimming pools or similar. We just can't do anything for them.

    I suppose the state legislature could get involved if it was motivated, but even that is difficult. In VT for example, there were many HOAs that banned the use of outdoor clothes lines for aesthetic purposes. It took several years, but a group finally got the state legislature to supersede any such prohibitions and make void any provisions in deed or covenants that restricted outdoor clothes lines.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2008
    Location
    the delta
    Posts
    1,209
    If that is the case, theoretically couldn't the seller put unlimited deed restrictions on the sale? Or even a tenant (Walmart) require deed restrictions from the building owner virtually eliminating any future use as a consumer-goods store?

    It seems like in the spirit of free-market competition and approved land-use police power regulated by SCOTUS a city could override these private deed restrictions based on any number of factors. How about this... a city requires all gas stations, at time of construction, to either promise to not add in these restrictions or set in escrow a certain dollar amount for the demolition of the structure when they leave? Wouldn't that solve the blight problem?

    I'm really digging deep on this one because I bet there are thousands of communities wanting something similar.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Encinitas, CA
    Posts
    705
    Interesting question - and I'm slow enough at work to have run a google search.

    One thing I noted in an article I found: A deed restriction will cease if the property is condemned by the state. So while I didn't find anything allowing a City to regulate the deed restrictions themselves, if the deed restriction conflicts with a legitimate government interest (blight, etc.), there may be cause for the City to condemn the property, thereby voiding any deed restrictions that may have applied.
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Jukin' City
    Posts
    16,984
    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    ..... so...

    Can a city limit these deed restrictions?
    IMHO no, because remember, deed restrictions are agreements between private parties. The city is not a party to said restrictions.

    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    If that is the case, theoretically couldn't the seller put unlimited deed restrictions on the sale?.....
    If the seller placed an unlimited number of deed restrictions on the property, the property's value would plummet. I guess it's a balancing act.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Promoting synergies...
    Posts
    3,584
    My guess is no unless the state specificly empowers a muncipality to place such limits on deed restrictions. I would call the state real estate commission or have your city attorney do some research.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  7. #7
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2008
    Location
    the delta
    Posts
    1,209
    4 years later...

    http://www.twincities.com/localnews/...depot-building
    http://www.planetizen.com/node/78730

    Basically big box stores are putting in deed restrictions and then saying the properties aren't valuable because of those same deed restrictions. Thus lowering taxes for cities and leaving ugly boxes for cities to deal with.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Appleton, Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,192
    Would it also be possible to require that in future developments, no deed restrictions be placed on the properties as a condition of site plan approval?

    Mike

  9. #9
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Down by Dun Ringill
    Posts
    6,367
    Blog entries
    6
    In the case described, no, I do not think they can ban them.

    But I do think a city or a county would have to ignore deed restrictions that are illegal or unconstitutional. I am speaking primarily about those deed restrictions placed long ago on land that prohibits the sale or occupation of a parcel of land by persons who are not Caucasians. Yes, they do exist.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 2
    Last post: 05 Jun 2012, 12:44 PM
  2. Replies: 6
    Last post: 04 Jun 2009, 9:44 PM
  3. Replies: 2
    Last post: 17 Aug 2001, 11:02 AM
  4. Replies: 2
    Last post: 24 Feb 2001, 12:40 AM
  5. Replies: 7
    Last post: 11 Jul 2000, 5:42 AM