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Thread: Legally non-conforming lots

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    Legally non-conforming lots

    New jobs lead to all sorts of fun discoveries.

    The town has several platted subdivisions dated back to the 1900s. The zoning ordinance amended the zoning for the area so that nearly none of the lots are in compliance with the current required minimum lot size. That said, someone prior to me told a homeowner to submit a plat to move an interior lot line between two non-conforming lots, thus further perpetuating the issue, but making one even more out of compliance.

    So my question is, what would the throbbing brain do? Move the interior lot line because non-conforming status isn't changing? State the amendment can't occur because the new application requires the lots to come into conformance with the existing ordinances, meaning a new applications nullifies the grandfathered status? I've not been in the practice of subdiving land in conflict with the zoning ordinance, but I've also not had hundreds of nonconforming lots. I've argued it both ways and I think I know which way I'm leaning, but looking for opinions/BTDT advice, mainly this is a stop-gap until I can look at processing an amendment of some sort or we can revamp the entire ordinance.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Never allow a situation to become more nonconforming.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian AG74683's avatar
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    See what your state statues say on subdivisions.

    We have many situations just like this here. Legally, I cannot sign off on any plat where the lots do not meet our minimum lot sizes. If someone brings me a map to recombine 4 lots into one, and the resultant square footage is below 20,000, I cannot sign off. In this case, if this map were brought to me for approval, it would be denied.

    For the longest time, we were signing off on plats if they eased a non-conformity (lot size from say 5,000 to 7 or 8). Unfortunately, due to the way our state statues are worded, this was incorrect, and I no longer continue this practice. The easiest way to fix this is to allow for a smaller lot size if the property is served by public water and sewer. We plan on amending the zoning code in the coming months to reflect this. It's really odd, because the original ordinance from 1973 (and the amended from 1996) both have smaller size requirements for lots with public sewer and water. They ditched this for some reason in 2001.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Gotta go with what Mike said, can't become more non-conforming. I've allowed adjustments that traded equal amounts of land, but they stayed at the same level of non-conformance.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    Oh good, because unless they have it in writing from the previous staff member, this isn't going to fly. Because it's not legal. I have a feeling it's going to be a two margarita day.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Salmissra's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Habanero View post
    Oh good, because unless they have it in writing from the previous staff member, this isn't going to fly. Because it's not legal. I have a feeling it's going to be a two margarita day.
    I think you're on the right track. Put your interpretation in writing, and it will live forever. Or at least until you leave.
    "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

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Salmissra View post
    I think you're on the right track. Put your interpretation in writing, and it will live forever. Or at least until you leave.
    This is how I'm feeling today:

    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

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