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Thread: I have two zoning administrators scratching their heads over this one!

  1. #1
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    I have two zoning administrators scratching their heads over this one!

    I want to subdivide into two lots a large parcel that is currently split down the middle by a county line. The two counties have different access requirements for residential lots. The left side is in "Happy" county. The right side is in "Serious" county. The access is currently entirely through the Happy side and its street frontage is 40 ft. wide. Serious requires 40 ft. street frontage for all of their residential lots. Happy only requires 15 ft.. So, by right, I could keep the parcel whole and build on the Serious side. Now... what if, after having built and moved into the home on the Serious side, I subdivide off 15 ft. of the street frontage and the rest of the whole Happy side? That would then leave only 25' access for my Serious county house. Let's say that it is a given that everything else works, i.e. setbacks, lot size, zoning, etc.. Given that Serious has nothing to do with the any of the subdivision because none if it is occurring in their jurisdiction, can they stop me from subdividing off the 15' access and Happy side? Could Serious make the argument that that whole 40' is designated to the Serious house and that no other houses can be built on the Happy side- even though Happy would be perfectly fine with it? Would Serious ever even know that I was subdividing off 15' access and the rest of the Happy side? This parcel is three blocks to a major mass transit system. Really, TOD would dictate that this parcel should be higher density than just two SF houses. But, I am concerned that I won't even be able to get two houses out of this large parcel just because of screwy, old residential codes. Has anyone had experience with this type of issue? I would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    I would subdivide in one county only and then plan to meet the other counties' requirements at a later date for a separate subdivision.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Funny....

    I had to deal with this when I was Director of Park County Planning in Colorado and the neighbor was Jefferson County, Colorado. The guys house was split right down the kitchen between counties. Check your state enabling legislation for potential lot creating aspects.....like County lines or political subdivisions. In Colorado we had something like 15 odd ball statutes that helped define lots created outside of subdivisions (also matters if you were a statutory County or Home Rule County in Colorado).

    Deed restricted his property and he had to follow each County regulation on each side of the line......
    Skilled Adoxographer

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    I read this twice and don't completely get it, but I'm a much more visual person so do you have a plot map to share?
    @GigCityPlanner

  5. #5
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    I wish.....

    That was 11 years ago and a lifetime back.....

    What it boils down to is that if your state says a county line creates a property line, then the owner has two lots, one in each county. If you look into your state enabling legislation, you will likely find this is the case. Or there may be some legal case out there that establishes legal parcels. Once you establish a legal division of the property (even if it splits a home in half like in my example), then it is easy to subdivide in each county under each individual subdivision regulation. The owner may not like the different rules, but too bad.
    Skilled Adoxographer

  6. #6
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    Have you checked into the possibility of annexing to the county of your choice? Pick the county that best serves your needs and check into annexing to ot.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    I'm not sure about Virginia, but here in Wisconsin, to change a county line requires at least an Act of the legislature. It's not as easy as simply annexing land to a city in most states.

    Mike

  8. #8
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    it was just a thought. You are right; annexations are usually difficult but if you had the support of both counties and your local state representatives, it might be done. Anyway, good luck. Neno

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