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Poll results: Are corner lots considered as having which of the following setback requirements...

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  • 2 front yards and 1 side yard

    25 60.98%
  • 1 front yard and 2 side yards

    9 21.95%
  • Other

    7 17.07%
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Thread: Corner lots in residential districts

  1. #1

    Registered
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    Grand Rapids, MI
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    Corner lots in residential districts

    We are having some difficulty in defining the setback requirements for a corner lot. I'm looking for evidence that supports our considering corner lots as having two front yard setbacks and one side yard setback. If you have a different way of looking at corner lots that would be great as well. Thanks!

    SW MI Planning Intern

  2. #2
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    here is how we deal with them

    1) we define the narrower of the two lines that abut a street as the front yard.
    2) all buildings, regardless of the yard have a specified setback from a street depending on the category of the road. ie a lot abuts an arterial street (15m setback required) and a local street (7.5m setback) then the required setbacks are 15m and 7.5 m from teh streets.

    There are exceptions to this in the by-law, but generally this is how it works.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  3. #3
    Try this one on for size:

    In all except the R-1 and R-2 Residence Districts and B-1 Local Business District, in the case of a corner lot abutting on two (2) streets, no building shall be erected, altered or moved so as to be nearer the street line on the long side of the lot than one-fifth (1/5) of the width of the lot or so as to be nearer the south or east side lot line opposite the street line on the long side of
    the lot than five (5) feet.


    I usually have to draw it out for people. Thankfuly we have fewer than 5 vacant lots left in the city.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  4. #4
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Originally posted by Repo Man
    I usually have to draw it out for people.
    Many zoning codes have an illustration in the definitions section that shows what the setbacks on a corner lot are by name - that is, front or side. This tends to keep things clear and consistent.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  5. #5

    Registered
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    Solano County, California
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    We use "street side yards" with their own setback requirements.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Edmonton
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    Originally posted by BKM
    We use "street side yards" with their own setback requirements.
    Yeah, this is typical of most of the places I have worked as well. Usually the street side yard would be the longest property line adjacent to the right-of-way. Street side yards were usually about 5 to 10 feet less than the front yard, or about twice the interior side yard. So a typical 6,000 s.f. lot would have a front yard of 20 feet, a rear yard of 20 feet, an interior side yard of 6 feet and street side yard of 12 to 15 feet... something like that.

    Here are some examples:
    Vancouver, WA R1 Dimensional Standards
    Davis, CA R1 Yard Requirements

  7. #7

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    I have seen it solved both ways, but the two front yards version can be difficult in older neighborhoods with small lots. It is not a perfect solution, but I usually advise defining it so that the front yard is on the street on which the home is addressed. That at least makes it clear which is front and which is side, without requiring two front yards. As others have said, it is very helpful to have a drawing you can hand out to explain all of the specification standards for a typical residential situation.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    We start off with calling both street frontages front yards. Otherwise, there are situations where a "street side" yard would be much less than the neighbor. To accommodate the usual situation, we allow one half of the front yard setback with no curb cuts and no adjacent frontage. (it has to be drawn out) For infill as in Lee's example, we allow building up to the established building line on the block.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    We have 2 fronts, but the "side" front must add 15 feet to the lot width to accommodate a front setback.

    Of course, it gets a lot more fun if you're dealing with a flag lot or other abnormally-shaped lot.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Philadelphia, PA
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    why are you still using "minimum setback requirements" ?
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  11. #11

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    jresta:
    What do you mean "why are you still using minimum setback requirements?" (I'm an intern so planning and zoning is all kinda new to me) Thanks

  12. #12
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Originally posted by Commander Rico
    jresta:
    What do you mean "why are you still using minimum setback requirements?" (I'm an intern so planning and zoning is all kinda new to me) Thanks
    I'm just looking at it from a pedestrian aspect. I have no idea what type of development you are dealing with or the character of the town you are working for.

    It just seems in terms of commercial or residential development that setback requirements are passé. Houses and businesses should front the sidewalk not run from them so rather than saying "this structure can be no closer than 20 feet from the curb" you should be saying "this structure can be no further than 20 feet from the curb"

    up until 2 months ago i lived in an old town that was developed between 1880 and 1930 from a master plan. Any house built between 1960 and 1996 conforms to zoning requirements that were laid over the town plan. The result is that you'll be walking down a street of 100 year old Vicotorians with tidy front porches that all come out to about 15ft. from the sidewalk - then there's a big gap and sunk back 50 ft. from the sidewalk you'll find a relatively new center hall colonial. In 1996 the new mayor, aware of the incongruity, more or less threw the zoning book in the trash and dusted off the old town plan which is form based rather than use based.

    Zoning separates uses into mutually inaccessible "zones". The car is a prerequisite for access. To me it's the antithesis of planning.
    Last edited by jresta; 29 May 2003 at 1:25 PM.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  13. #13
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    where I work, corner lots have one frontyard and two sideyards.

    the sideyard adjacent to a street has its own setback requirements, which is equal to frontyards.

    It would probably be easier to say two frontyards but we like to have as many words as possible in the zoing code.

    Also, I realized that corners lots in suburbia are much more restricted because of the additional setback required. It really kills the amount of useable rear yard.
    Last edited by mendelman; 11 Jun 2003 at 9:51 AM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Why do you even have setbacks? Don't they completly fly in the face of good planning?

  15. #15
    Member Glomer's avatar
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    The lot line with the least width fronting the right-of-way is the front yard - 30 foot setback. the other lot line fronting the right-of-way is a side yard however it should have double the setback that a normal side yard would have. 20 instead of 10 feet. Corner lots should be made larger to accomodate the increased setback area.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    We have 2 front yards and a side yard, setbacks based on specific zoning, and a lot of variances.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian SlaveToTheGrind's avatar
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    On a corner lot, we have the front yard setback - 25 feet, side yard adjacent to a street - 20 feet, interior side yard - 10 feet, and a reduced rear yard - 10 feet.

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