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Define "primary" vs "accessory" in your city

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
Situation: two homes next door to one another in a single family residence are owned by one family. The wife says she lives in both full time and should be considered eligible to run a residential day care out of the second home. Here's the problem, the second home is mostly empty except for children's toys. They have installed a gate between the two residences that allows them to pass over property lines freely, but if they aren't actually living in the second home (no clothes, toiletries, or anything of that nature that makes a house appear to be lived in), only conducting a business for compensation how can the business be considered an accessory use? She's maintaining she lives in both homes full time. Another point, the first house was bought 5 years prior to the other house.

Would you say both shoudl be considered primary dewlling units, or would you think the second home is being used for commercial purposes and is not an accessory use to the primary function of the home.

Arguments both for and against are welcome.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
I would say if the two structures are on two different lots and one is being used as a business and nobody is habitating there (sleeping overnight, making meals, doing laundry and other household tasks there, etc) then that use is not accessory to anything on that lot. I would vote for commercial use. It would qualify for a conditional use permit if it were in my town (although we call them discretionary uses here).

The only problem is that you can't prove that she doesn't live there, unless you are allowed an inspection of the premises. But enforcement is my weak point, so I have no idea if that's even allowed in the States.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
I was allowed to do a walk thoruhg based on the Use Permit application, it's obvious that no one lives there at this point. The master bedroom had a tx, futon couch, and large desk with a computer on it. There was a large oak table in the kitchen as well. Other than that, everything is for the children. Two bedrooms have been converted into indoor play areas, all living areas were also dedicated to children. She calims they eat at this house, yet there were no dishes anywhere to be seen or typical kitchen products in sight. I would buy it, but that would mean they wouldn't use the other kitchen at all. Her son even answers the phone and says "she's at the daycare". Ihave a copy of her driver's license and it also states the address next door as her address. All tax mail is also recieved at the other home. I know I'm going to have a fight with this one.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Who cares?

I mean, so the lady wants to take care of some kids on the side. It's not like she's smelting iron or something.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
I would go with and argue the idea that as she owns two residences that are on two separate lots she can not and probably does not have a distinct housekeeping unit in both. As such there is no secondary use occurring on the one property. The key here is that the units are on two separate lots. I'll let you know if this argument works, we are going to appeal on a similar manner.

In our definition of accessory use we use words like "clearly incidental to" and "usually associated with". Thisprovides some leeway, but also makes it clear what we mean and what we examine in applications.

Here they are "conditional uses" too. The wrinkle is that we can't refuse a conditonal use, only attach reasonable terms and conditions to it. It is then up to the applicant to meet the conditions or appeal them.

As for the "who cares". Daycares can create many problems in neighbourhoods. traffic, noise, garbage disposal problems, servicing issues, health issues to name a few. The reason someone should care is that if the law requires something to occur/not occur then the person/agency that is supposed to enforce the regulation is duty bound to care.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Donk writes:
As for the "who cares". Daycares can create many problems in neighbourhoods. traffic, noise, garbage disposal problems, servicing issues, health issues to name a few.
But they only appear if she does it out of a side house rather than her primary house?

The reason someone should care is that if the law requires something to occur/not occur then the person/agency that is supposed to enforce the regulation is duty bound to care.
So if you have to enforce a silly regulation, interpret it as liberally as possible. Give her the benefit of the doubt.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
I agree with Donk 100%

But in addition, she argues she resides at both full time? Bullsh*t.

Jordanb - How can you say in good conscience 'who cares'? Have you ever had to deal with a case like this, where
neighbors property rights are being infringed because of a woman trying to skirt the law? When the neighbor files a complaint about the commercial operation are you going to tell them "I don't care"?
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Honestly. If she does it in her house, she's legal, if she does it in a room of an ancillary house, she's not. That's silly. How can the latter impact the neighbors any more negativly than the former?
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
jordanb said:
How can the latter impact the neighbors any more negativly than the former?
Scale of activity.

If operated from the home you reside in, the operation must take place within the spatial confines of your residence, i.e. around your possessions and lifestyle needs.

Habanero said thsi home has no furnishings, thus freeing the entire floorplate of the structure for day care use. Realisitically, its about a 300% increase in available space.

My mother ran a home day care for 25 years, and even with a 2,200 square foot house, limited herself to 4 children due to space issues. Take out all of the living room, dining room, and family room furniture, lose my bedroom furniture and those of my siblings, and with staffing that place could earily accommodate 20+ kids.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
So how did this even come to the attention of the planning board? Did she apply for a buisness license? In that case, why not limit the number of children allowed on the license? I'm sure the fire inspector (at least) would have the authority to do that.

Also, it's pretty arbitrary anyway. What if her house had as much spare room as that house had usable space? What's to keep her from building a large room on the back of her house to use?
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Several issues come to mind.

Traffic. A commercial day care is going to generate some substantial traffic, and the need for parking. This can be very disruptive to neighbors, especially if there is a need for on-street parking.

Noise. Ever heard kids playing? Do you want that outside of your window every day, from maybe 7 AM to 6 PM?

Day care regulation. It has been mentioned that you need a certain square footage for each child. Is she getting around this by claiming the square footage of both homes, to have more kids?

Several people have commented that if each home is on its own lot, they are the primary structure on that lot. The second house would not be accessory to the first. One way to establish this is to follow the same guidelines as the IRS. She has a designated primary dwelling, and owns a second home.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
I agree with Chet about the space issue. Say she ran a law office from her home. If it was in her primary dwelling she would likely have one room dedicated for an office. If it was in this second home she could have an office in every room and have several people working there. By having a house that is completely dedicated to a daycare, it is no longer an accessory use but a primary use, making it a business. When people buy a home in a residential neighborhood they assume that all other homes in the area will be primarily used for residential purposes. Having one parcel completely dedicated to business use (daycare) goes way beyond what is considered accessory use of residential parcel.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
I think I'm having trouble with why having some commercial activity in a residential area might be a problem (Other than the suburban obsession with "traffic" which would be negated by limiting the number of kids she can have). It might even be a benefit neighboors who need daycare service and just have their kids walk across the block to her place.

Certianly limit the scale of operation she can do there, but splitting hairs over if it is or isn't her primary residence is just stupid.

By the way, my mother ran a preschool in her house that the local planning board goons would never have allowed for a few years some time back. She just squared it away with the neighbors and the parents that it wasn't approved so don't tell anyone.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
jordanb said:
I think I'm having trouble with why having some commercial activity in a residential area might be a problem...
Euclidian Zoning
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Euclidian Zoning


jordanb said:
It might even be a benefit neighboors who need daycare service and just have their kids walk across the block to her place.
It might, but if she skirts the apllication, public notice, and review requirements of the law, Habanero will never know.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
jordanb said:
But they only appear if she does it out of a side house rather than her primary house?

So if you have to enforce a silly regulation, interpret it as liberally as possible. Give her the benefit of the doubt.
The average house here gets 10 trips a day. One of the homes being turned into a daycare pushes that up to 20 just for the drop-off/pick-ups of the children, so you've got her 10 average form her other house, then at least 20 from this home as well, not even counting the employees she wants. So 2 employees into the mix and that's 4 trips for them to come and go to work and if they leave for lunch that another 4 trips, so out fo the daycare home alone she's got at least 28 trips per day when the average house has 10.

It's not a silly regualtion, it actually makes sense. You cannot physically be at two places at once. They are separate homes, and the inside of the second home is dedicated to children.

Beyond that, there are externalities of the excessive traffic and the fact it's a commercial use in a residentail zone.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
jordanb said:
So how did this even come to the attention of the planning board?
I called the contact number and her son kept saying she's next door or she's at the daycare. Checked it out and foudn the contact number given is the phoen number for the other home she never menitoned. The entire time she's maintained to both state and city she lives here but did not mention she lives at both homes.


jordanb said:
Did she apply for a buisness license?
A business license will not regulate the number of children, it's for tax purposes. Both State and City have the requirements spelled out, she acknowledged she was abiding by both when she was not.

jordanb said:

In that case, why not limit the number of children allowed on the license? I'm sure the fire inspector (at least) would have the authority to do that.
The City has the authority to do that through the Use Permit process, she applied for a residential in home daycare which is clearly defined as an accessory use to the primary use of the home as a residence. She does not have the space at the other hoem to have a smany children because the backyard has a pool. She also syas that's the house for adults, clearly making the distinction this house is set up aroudn children. Regardless of license she is not meeting any standards to even be considered for the UP because she's conducting a commercial project in a residential zone.

jordanb said:
Also, it's pretty arbitrary anyway. What if her house had as much spare room as that house had usable space? What's to keep her from building a large room on the back of her house to use?
It's a little thing called lot coverage. Beyond that there are indoor and outdoor space requirements that must be met, she has a pool in her actauly residence, as listed on her license, so expansion is not an option. She cannot replat because that would be multifamily in a single family neighborhood, well, she could if she demolished on kitchen.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Habanero said:
If you can't say anything intelligent, don't say anything at all.
Agreed. Jordanb, your comments don't show much thought, or really attempt to counter the legitimate comments and concerns expressed by others in an intelligent manner. State codes regulate day care operations to ensure the protection of the children. Local zoning and subdivision codes ensure the safety and quality of the neighborhood environment of community residents. This woman apparently wants to flaunt both. She has the option of a variance process, or asking the city to change the codes if she can make a valid case. If you agree with her and want to make her case, do so. Don't just troll.
 

Bullwinkle

Cyburbian
Messages
176
Points
7
Would she be able to legally operate the day care if she merged the two lots and removed the kitchen (or other elements that make the structure a dwelling unit) from the second home?
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
I don't think you are giving what I'm saying the thought required.

What we have here is a appearently vindictive neighbor who discovered a home buisness not by all of that horrible "traffic" it was supposedly causing, but by spying through the women's child. I suspect that there's some ill-will going on here. There certanly will be if the place gets shut down.

So now all of you planners who can't see past one use pods despite everything you were taught in planning school are up in arms because she's "flaunting" your precious zoning laws.

Also, since when has the children's safty been in question? I thought the issue was that she was using the place against zoning regulations, not against health and safty regulations.

Now, as far as the NIMBY statement, I thought the original poster was on a planning board trying to interpret the law, I didn't know it was just a neighbor trying to stir up trouble. I wouldn't have bothered with it if I had known it was the latter.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
jordanb said:
Now, as far as the NIMBY statement, I thought the original poster was on a planning board trying to interpret the law, I didn't know it was just a neighbor trying to stir up trouble. I wouldn't have bothered with it if I had known it was the latter.
Just to clarify for you Jordan, Habanero is a planner for the community in question, not a NIMBY.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
jordanb said:
Also, since when has the children's safty been in question? I thought the issue was that she was using the place against zoning regulations, not against health and safty regulations.
Among other reasons, zoning ordinances are enacted to promote health, safety, welfare ,and morals. I really dont understand your arguments.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
jordanb said:
That's where the practice of planning in no way relates to ether the science of planning or reality, right?
I presume that was sarcasm. Otherwise, I'll just chalk up the lack of knowledge to being a college sophomore - maybe you didn't have that class yet.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Don't bother, I'm not even in planning. The majority of what I know about planning I got from Jane Jacobs. But I guess she dosen't know anything ether, she never even went to college. I'll read a real planning proffessional like Le Corbusier. I bet he can explain why Euclidian Zoning makes sense.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
On the issue of child care centers, there are very explicit state codes that need to be met, which grow more extensive in their requirements based upon the size of the center. It sounds to me that she is probably not in compliance with these, either

As to "one-use pods," I did not learn anything in planning school, because like your Jane Jacobs, I did not go to one. There are many places where mixed uses on a site can and should be encouraged. I have promoted and helped to structure deals for these types of buildings, including zoning modifications and plan review, for both new construction and conversion of residences. The fact remains that there are many other locations where the mix of uses is inappropriate. I suspect they also teach that in planning school.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
jordanb said:
What we have here is a appearently vindictive neighbor who discovered a home buisness not by all of that horrible "traffic" it was supposedly causing, but by spying through the women's child. I suspect that there's some ill-will going on here. There certanly will be if the place gets shut down.
Who is the vindictive neighbor? We discovered the business because the state alerts us to any new applications they recieve for in-home childcare.
jordanb said:

So now all of you planners who can't see past one use pods despite everything you were taught in planning school are up in arms because she's "flaunting" your precious zoning laws.
She knew the law when she applied, she has been told several times, she knowingly broke the city and state requirements and got caught.

jordanb said:

Also, since when has the children's safty been in question? I thought the issue was that she was using the place against zoning regulations, not against health and safty regulations.
What about the neighbor's rights? Are you from Houston?!
jordanb said:
[B
Now, as far as the NIMBY statement, I thought the original poster was on a planning board trying to interpret the law, I didn't know it was just a neighbor trying to stir up trouble. I wouldn't have bothered with it if I had known it was the latter. [/B]
There is a reason it's called "ass"uming.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
Bullwinkle said:
Would she be able to legally operate the day care if she merged the two lots and removed the kitchen (or other elements that make the structure a dwelling unit) from the second home?
Yes, that was one of her options she was given.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
When I first answered, I thought this might be a troll, and it turns out it is.

Maybe we can all help jordanb with some recomendations on good books on planning theory and history, not written by people who are theorists or critics of the profession only.

My suggestion is

Land Use Planning Made Plain by Hok Lin Leung.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
Citizen's Guide to Planning
Herbert H. Smith


In this classic book, Smith thoroughly explains the complexities of the sometimes confusing planning process in a to both professionals and laymen will understand and appreciate.

pehaps this one as well:

Dealing With Difficult Participants
Bob Pike, Dave Arch


More than a hundred useful suggestions show you how to best deal with anyone who causes problems in your presentations.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
Habanero said:

Dealing With Difficult Participants
Bob Pike, Dave Arch

More than a hundred useful suggestions show you how to best deal with anyone who causes problems in your presentations.
I could have used that one recently!
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
Re: Who cares?

jordanb said:
I mean, so the lady wants to take care of some kids on the side. It's not like she's smelting iron or something.

So now all of you planners who can't see past one use pods despite everything you were taught in planning school are up in arms because she's "flaunting" your precious zoning laws.
Despite how the New Urbanist crowd thinks that eveything should be mixed, many planners are employed in cities that have strict Eucledian zoning laws and it is their responsibility, weather they agree or not, to enforce the zoning ordinance.

Yeah, it may not be a big deal that she is running a day care, but she is breaking the law and it is a planners job to make sure that she stops. If this was going on where I work and I simply ignored it because I thought "hey, its no big deal" I would have some explaining to do to my boss.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
Don't forget about the respercussions in dealing with other citizens.

"Well so and so, over on Red Street can hava a day care this autobody shop is not too different from that, they are both commercial, ya know. "

This is similar to many real conversations I have had.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Repo-Man, I think your explanation as to why this is an issue is probably the best. Planners, from what I've seen, are primarily bureaucrats who are tasked with implementing the policies of the elected officials, even when those policies are harmful to society. I made my post because I was hoping Habanero would be willing to interpret the zoning laws broadly enough to leave the lady alone.

Habanero, thanks for those reading suggestions. They look good, especially the second one. I'm not convinced that Jacobs' accusation that planning is akin to bloodletting, in that it's often based on pseudo-science and can do more harm than good, has been invalidated by reforms since Robert Moses practiced it, but I'll keep an open mind.

Chet, I'm tired of this conversation, so I don't want to open myself up to more debate, but I do have to respond to your purposes of zoning. I understand that zoning is important to preserve health and welfare, that's why I said, "she's not smelting iron or anything," a few children aren't going to contaminate the neighborhood's groundwater so I really don't see how that'd be an issue. As far as preserving morals, I don't know what you're talking about but that scares me. The regulation of morals has caused many of the largest problems with our society, while solving very few.

At any rate, I am getting tired of this thread so this will be my last post.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
It's not up to one planner alone to interpret regs. Furthermore, I was not hired to whine about the regs, I was hired to uphold them. My emotions do not get involved in cases, I have a job to do, while I do still have an open mind I am also loyal to my city and there is only so much "why" a human can take before they boot you. I didn't make the rules, I uphold them to the best of my ability. The elected officials approved thse regualtions, if you don't like it, vote for other people. Ask for reforms.
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,371
Points
29
I have a question first. Almost all conventional and some performance zoning regulations have an area limit on home occupations that would render all this discussion moot if the second home is larger than that limit. And since the limit is usually a few hundred SF (400 seems to be popular) or a percentage of the size of the primary home (10-20% seems to be popular), my first observation is that what we are talking about from the perspective of Habanero's jurisdiction is probably a flaw in the ordinance.

Beyond that, however, I think the rush to defend these regulations is more than a little overdone. Point 1: Platted lots are arbitrary, paper creations. If this person had a large lot with a converted garage that was suitable for a day care center, that part of the argument against it being a legitimate accessory use wouldn't apply. But what difference would that make in the impacts of the proposed use? None. Point 2: Yes, day care generates some minor nuisances. Everyone is right about that. But what if the resident family had 12 kids, including some teenagers who had cars of their own? Wouldn't that have the same (actually more) impact on the neighborhood? Point 3: Habanero is right, of course, in interpreting the regulations in a way that is consistent with his best interpretation of his jurisdiction's intent, BUT Point 4: everyones' jumping all over jordanb makes me wonder (I will try to say this just as gently as I can) how much analysis really goes into these type of regulations that affect peoples' everyday lives and activities? This reminds me of the thread about barbecue grills on peoples' porches.

Wouldn't it make more sense to regulate home-based businesses, which are becoming an increasingly important component of virtually every economy, on the basis of their actual impacts (if any), rather than with arbitrary prohibitions and definitions? Our two home enterprises (planning and basketry) would be unlawful by definition, and without any discussion of their impacts on the neighbors, in the city our land is near, yet there is no outward sign of either enterprise. Neighbors who use power tools in their garage have a far greater impact on the neighborhood than we do. Or the painter who lives town, but stores ladders on an easement behind his house that is in the county.

I work in communities (mostly) where even the idea of planning is open to constant challenge. And it is crystal clear that fear of arbitrary regulations on home businesses is one of the most important practical reasons for peoples' opposition. We planners really need to be taking care of the forest, and assuming that if we do that, the trees will be ok. Doing otherwise plays directly into the hands of those who would put us out of business altogether.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
Commission vote to deny

Lee Nellis said:
I have a question first. Almost all conventional and some performance zoning regulations have an area limit on home occupations that would render all this discussion moot if the second home is larger than that limit. And since the limit is usually a few hundred SF (400 seems to be popular) or a percentage of the size of the primary home (10-20% seems to be popular), my first observation is that what we are talking about from the perspective of Habanero's jurisdiction is probably a flaw in the ordinance.
Sorry for the late response Lee-
Our definition for what she applied for (residential childcare) clearly states the use must be accessory. Because she was never forthcoming with the information and I had to find it out through researching the case with the Department of Health Services, we figured out she actually lives in the adjacent home. When our ordinance was written for residential childcare it did not address an issue such as this. The closest definition we have for what she wants to do is commercial childcare. We have given her plently of options, she chose to go forward with the proposal of residential childcare stating she lives in both houses full time.

Lee Nellis said:

Beyond that, however, I think the rush to defend these regulations is more than a little overdone. Point 1: Platted lots are arbitrary, paper creations. If this person had a large lot with a converted garage that was suitable for a day care center, that part of the argument against it being a legitimate accessory use wouldn't apply. But what difference would that make in the impacts of the proposed use? None. Point 2: Yes, day care generates some minor nuisances. Everyone is right about that. But what if the resident family had 12 kids, including some teenagers who had cars of their own? Wouldn't that have the same (actually more) impact on the neighborhood? Point 3: Habanero is right, of course, in interpreting the regulations in a way that is consistent with his best interpretation of his jurisdiction's intent, BUT Point 4: everyones' jumping all over jordanb makes me wonder (I will try to say this just as gently as I can) how much analysis really goes into these type of regulations that affect peoples' everyday lives and activities? This reminds me of the thread about barbecue grills on peoples' porches.
Although perhaps arbitrary, a converted garage would not work, each dwelling unit has to have 2 covered parking spaces, if she could do that, then no, this arguement wouldn't apply. But we're talking about one person buying a home for the purpose of taking care of children in the second home. I can see the merit, however, this home was purchased for this use. She was given ample oppourtunity to come forward with all of the facts, however, being selective in her statements, we had to "find her out" so to speak. If this was to be approved that would mean that the Council has decided the home is her primary residence, what is to stop her then from selling the adjacent home and continuing the business?

As for the jordanb issue, and I too will say this as gently as possible, how much though was put into stating it was a non-issue?

Lee Nellis said:

Wouldn't it make more sense to regulate home-based businesses, which are becoming an increasingly important component of virtually every economy, on the basis of their actual impacts (if any), rather than with arbitrary prohibitions and definitions? Our two home enterprises (planning and basketry) would be unlawful by definition, and without any discussion of their impacts on the neighbors, in the city our land is near, yet there is no outward sign of either enterprise. Neighbors who use power tools in their garage have a far greater impact on the neighborhood than we do. Or the painter who lives town, but stores ladders on an easement behind his house that is in the county.

I work in communities (mostly) where even the idea of planning is open to constant challenge. And it is crystal clear that fear of arbitrary regulations on home businesses is one of the most important practical reasons for peoples' opposition. We planners really need to be taking care of the forest, and assuming that if we do that, the trees will be ok. Doing otherwise plays directly into the hands of those who would put us out of business altogether.
The two home enterprises you are commenting on would probably meet our definition of a home occupation:

Any occupation or profession conducted entirely within a dwelling unit and carried on by a member of the family residing therein and which occupation or profession is clearly incidental and subordinate to the use of the dwelling unit for the dwelling purposes and does not change the character thereof….

We do not consider residentail childcare on a home occupation, it is entirely based on it's own definition.




But moving on: the application was denied by Commission last night. Basically, our code is black and white on this issue and she was not forth coming with the information. It was felt she was running a commercial business out of her home. (The oppourtunity was given to her by staff before the application moved forward to withdraw and re-advertise. It was also given to her that she could work with staff to find if perhaps we could re-zone the two lots to accomodate her, although I'm not sure how that would go over.) She also stated the second home was bought for the purpose of childcare, she does not feel her home is a safe place for children (also per space requirements she would not be able to get as many children).

While I do see the merit in what she is trying to do, with how expensive the commercial licenses are from the State I can also see why anyone would try/want to do this.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

Cyburbian
Messages
1,244
Points
23
The real issue seems to be the property line. Tell her to amend the plat and combine the two lots into one unless your code does not permit two dwelling units on one lot. I don't think she can make a valid legal argument that she lives in both homes, and therefore, can claim each as a primary use.
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
24,916
Points
52
If reccommending books - how about:

Neighbor Law
fences, trees, boundaries, & noise
by Corta Jordan
NOLO Press, Berekeley, CA
 
Last edited:

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
SlaveToTheGrind said:
The real issue seems to be the property line. Tell her to amend the plat and combine the two lots into one unless your code does not permit two dwelling units on one lot. I don't think she can make a valid legal argument that she lives in both homes, and therefore, can claim each as a primary use.
There might me a mortgage issue with this if she does not own the properties out right. But a suggestion I agree is worth looking into.
 

Habanero

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Huston said:
There might me a mortgage issue with this if she does not own the properties out right. But a suggestion I agree is worth looking into.
We thought of that, but she'd have to go to rezone because of the code. I don't want to c-block her on everything, but really she needs to come at this as I suggested and say "I'm running a business out of this house".

If you were to replat do you think that would that cause issues in re-selling? It's smack in the middle of a single family neighborhood. Perhaps, a conditional overlay only good for her property while they own it? I can see neighbors getting upset if she tried to rezone to multi family to allow for the two dwelling units on one large lot.
 

SW MI Planner

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Our ordinance is based on MI state law. Any residential property owner can take care of 6 or less children (not his/her own) without special approval. In the One/Two Family and Multi-Family zoning districts they can have between 7-12 with a special use permit. Any more than 12 is a commercial operation and requires commercial zoning.

We have a problem here with an industrial property owner who doesn't *want* to comply with our storage regulations. He has enough space to comply, he just doesn't feel like it. So, he wanted us to change the ordinance, nevermind that this is not a problem in any other industrial properties. It was sent to PC, by request of a few Council people and shot down.

Maybe I'm just being crabby, but rules are rules. I have a problem with giving special treatment to one property owner just because they don't like the regulations. (Not a problem w/ what you said Hab, just in general).

I strongly feel that people need to do their due diligence in finding out what the rules and regulations are beforehand.
 

H

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Habanero said:
If you were to replat do you think that would that cause issues in re-selling?
A: she would most likely have to refinance both homes. However, rates are low, so this is not too bad.

B: it would definitely cause an issue when selling. Unless she sold them both at the same time, she would most likely have to re-subdivide. Or many mortgage lenders will except a long-term leases, but will the new buyer? Doubtfully, if it is not the norm in the area, (like many TVA lake areas). But this problem would be hers, and her choice. Lay it out as an option. Again, the details need worked out, but it is definitely worth looking into.
 

Habanero

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3,241
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SW MI Planner said:
...

I strongly feel that people need to do their due diligence in finding out what the rules and regulations are beforehand.
Exactly, this is a self-imposed problem. She admitted they were looking to buy a larger house to be able to run this buiness out of their home, but when the home next door came up for sale they bought that instead.
 

donk

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but when the home next door came up for sale they bought that instead.
I wish I could have that problem, being able to afford 2 houses. There must be one hell of a lot of money in child care.

On the self imposed hardship vein, this is one area where our appeal board is going ballistic on people. Saying you did not know is not enough anymore. The chair always comments that a reasonable person would consider that there may be some sort of restrictions placed on a use or why would everyone not be doing it.
 

Otis

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In a situation where someone wants to have an accessory use, alone, on an adjacent lot, we allow them to execute and record a "restrictive lot line covenant" that syas in essence we will treat the two lots as one for zoning purposes. So if a developer wants to put, say, a garage on an adjacent lot, they can do it. They acknowledge that if they later want to sell the lots separately, they have to bring both lots into conformity.
 

Habanero

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giff57 said:
Uh, yeah! Try $75-$150 per kid per week.
Her facilty is more like $600/month. It's going to Council soon, keep the beer cold, I have a feeling I'm going to need five after that presentation.
 

Habanero

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Rich Townsend said:
In a situation where someone wants to have an accessory use, alone, on an adjacent lot, we allow them to execute and record a "restrictive lot line covenant" that syas in essence we will treat the two lots as one for zoning purposes. So if a developer wants to put, say, a garage on an adjacent lot, they can do it. They acknowledge that if they later want to sell the lots separately, they have to bring both lots into conformity.
hmm, thanks for that suggestion, I'll mention that to staff and see how they think Council would feel about that as an alternative.
 
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