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Guidelines for Developers

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
We are planners, surely we can lay out a set of rules for the perfect subdivision. We have even discussed a few of these in other threads. Let’s begin with:

- Subdivision names must either refer to natural features either never existing, or destroyed on the site, or make a farcical reference to local heritage. For example, “Infantry Hill” would be an appropriate name for a subdivision desecrating a New England battlefield. “Green Valley Springs” would be appropriate outside of Phoenix.
- Provide a single point of entry, gated if there has been a crime of any sort nearby (within the same hemisphere) during the past two years.
- Private roads are preferred – no need for curb and gutter, and no “undesirables” from outside the subdivision.
- As there is only one entry, all lots are to front on cul-de-sac streets.
- No on-street parking will be permitted.
- Do not provide any public parks. If forced to do so, provide minimal access while maximizing the number of lots around the perimeter.
- Schools should not be located in or adjacent to the subdivision. Impact fees for schools should not be assessed because (choose one) a) this development is targeted to seniors and will not add school-aged children to the community, or b) impact fees will unfairly exclude lower-income families from buying into the community by raising the price of a home.
- Ask the city to install the infrastructure, or at least to finance it through a deferred assessment.
- The minimum lot size will be 12,000 square feet.
- An effort will be made to create a diverse community, with affordable as well as upscale housing. Lots will be priced from $50,000.
- No house constructed in the subdivision will be smaller than 1800 square feet.
- Each house should be required to have a minimum of a two-car attached garage and adequate parking for six vehicles.
- Every home must have a minimum percentage of brick veneer, located so as to have a “tacked-on” appearance.
- Acceptable house colors are tan, light brown, beige, taupe, fawn, or mushroom.
- Landscaping may only include the following species: dwarf juniper, viburnum, potentilla, spirea, black hills spruce, norway maple and flowering crab. When planted, any of the above must be set in a bed of 1-inch white marble or lava rock.

This is just a start. What else do we need to add?
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Micahel, it appears you grew up in my community in the late '60s. But you forgot:

* Have the current Mayor, a licensed real estate broker, marshall it through the approval process, promote your development and draw commissions from the sales.

* File the FEMA applicatioon for map amendment only after three 100 year recurrence floods have occurred and basements are full of poop.
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
You also forgot:

Minimum front yard setbacks - 50'

Road width - 36' (in my town we call it the "invisible sidewalk in the street")

"Residential Buffers" between lots so that although you may not cut down any trees on your own property, you are also insulated from having to see your neighbor BBQ-ing in their back yard.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Good ones - of course, sidewalks are just a waste of money since everyone drives everywhere. Nobody walks, even for recreation, and a good residential development should not be near either commercial areas or employment centers.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,787
Points
58
A picture tells a thousand words.

A few more ...

The linear frontage of the area occupied by the garage door has to be at least 60% of the linear frontage of the building facade. If the house is a wide "rambler," a three or four car garage must be incorporated to meet the 60% requirement.

Architectural details used to dress up the front of the house, such as a wainscot or quoins, must not be used on the sides and rear of the house.

If the home is marketed as "upscale," the design must incorporate as many gables and bays as possible. The more complex and cluttered, the roof line, the more "upscale" the house is. Gable sizes and pitches must be as varied as possible.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
- Garages must be located at the front of the house to create the "snout house" look.

- The developer will create a minimum of 10 "affordable" homes ranging in price from $150,000 to $200,000.

- The subdivision must be surrounded by agricultural lands that must never be developed as residential, retail, office, or industrial. After all, these people are moving to this subdivision for the country farm-like feel.

- The surrounding agricultural use must not emit any noise or odors associated with agricultural uses. Homowners did not pay to live next to a manure factory!
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
*You must be allowed to build retaining walls on your neighbors property and no shed permits are required.

*Deed Restrictions will require the Town to spray for insects, after all they are everyones problem.

*The fence gating the community must be electric to keep out the illegal imgrants that just want to wash the resident's car windows:
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
You guys have captured the suburban dream. My eyes fill with tears thinking about the country nirvanna our standards will create. You are all TRUE AMERICANS!

My only caveat: the sound wall is way too low and way too nice. We need AT LEAST nine feet, preferrably stucco with fake stone columns.

Also, the California version:

25.666 No subdivision with fewer than 500 homes shall offer more than three floor plans. All homes shall be constructed of stucco. Elevations shall be differentiated only through fake trim materials, changes in roof gables, or the use of different garage door "lites" in each facade.

25.667 The approval process in any custom home subdivision shall provide opportunities for existing residents to appeal the design of any new custom home. Such appeals will be facilitated by the Department, particularly when the new home proponent is of an ethnic minority and is a lower-level employee of one of the current home owners in the subdivision.
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
Messages
3,066
Points
30
Does anyone else watch "Before and After" or "Curb Appeal" on HGTV, and constantly think the houses looked better before?

Guidelines for remodlers: Add another floor, or at least a two story wing. Landscape the yard so as to keep nursery people in business--every season.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
"If the home is marketed as "upscale," the design must incorporate as many gables and bays as possible. The more complex and cluttered, the roof line, the more "upscale" the house is. Gable sizes and pitches must be as varied as possible."

You know, this reminds me of a "study" in JAPA (the world's most useless planning magazine), I believe, that compared the wonders of American suburbia to the horrors of Swedish socialism. It showed two photos: one of a megagabled McMansion in the United States, the other a rather simple cape-coddish Swedish house.

I liked the Swedish house better :)

(I know that suburban Sweden contains a lot of awful concrete brutalist high rises, too. So don't tell me to move to Sweden if I like it so much!)
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
I think in the California version you should also include as much faux-Spanish architecture and tile roofs as possible. Housing colors would range from beige to salmon. Pink stucco anyone?
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
ooh! forgot one!

In the unfortunate happenstance that the subdivision should be located near a school or commercial use, "No Parking" signs must be installed on the road. However, this parking restriction does not apply to residents or their guests.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
You know, the Spanish/Mediterranean theme doesn't bother me that much.

The West Coast is new, in relative terms. We don't have authentic rural building traditions based on locally available materials anymore-but then, they don't really in Europe, either (new European housing can be awful-look at the otuskirts of Paris :( ) As one architect who was criticized for working in a mediterranean style (rather than covering his building in a stainless steel mesh or something equally avant-garde) put it: Mediteranean Architecture has been around in California for 400 years. There is a history here. And, it got its biggest kick start during the 1920s and 30s when California architects deliberately decided to differentiate themselves from eastern styles.

I actually LIKE the fact that California builders have chosen to "copy" a different architectural tradition than eastern and midwestern builders. I like the regional difference. What's the alternative, copying "colonial style" like the east coast, or worse, the midwest, does? (Colorado is hilarious, a bizarre collision of the worst of California and Midwestern tract housing design-ugh!). Given housing and land prices, we will not see the dominance of semi-custom houses like you see in the midwest, but the megagabled McMansions are not that nice, either, imo.

I don't think that a lot of merchant built neighborhoods are that attractive, but that's because of the mass production, high fees, high land and labor costs, strict seismic codes, and a demand for housing that allows even the most unimaginative schlock to sell out quickly. I have no problem with stucco, tile roofs (which make sense in fire-prone areas), or "spanish style" in itself.

Boy, I am long winded!
 

jmf

Cyburbian
Messages
594
Points
17
don't forget the multi-volume restrictive covenant package which includes such gems as:

no clotheslines
limitations on backyard patio space
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,787
Points
58
BKM said:
(Colorado is hilarious, a bizarre collision of the worst of California and Midwestern tract housing design-ugh!)
Just before I left Colorado., the up-and-coming style for suburban residential architecture included a mix of Arts and Crafts, "mountain lodge" for lack of a better phrase, California contemporary, and the midwestern interpretation of Colonial styles. Something like ...












Orlando gets a lot of what we call "Palm Beach" style ... stucco, arches, palladian windows.







Here's good 'ol Buffalo.









 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
The front entry garages in all of those pictures are what kill those houses (in my opinion). If you're going to spend 400-500K on a house shell out the extra bucks and get the side entry garage.....

Around here (East Coast) nobody wants the FE garages. The SE's make the house look "more bigger" and are much more marketable.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
"Around here (East Coast) nobody wants the FE garages. The SE's make the house look "more bigger" and are much more marketable."

God, I wish that were true here. Almost everything is FE. Our streetscapes are appalling
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
You know, Dan, that second rancher from Orlando is just awful. It looks like some of the early 80s ranchers out here. Ugh.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Few developers in these parts are platting lots wide enough for SE. Those that do are "up scale" in the market. *SIGH*
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
You make me so glad I live in New Zealand!! Although we do have some problems with sprawling subdivisions of hundreds of pastel-coloured Mediterranean inspired car-dependent housing with FE garaging. I'm still disappointed in my parents for recently buying a house in one of these areas, it's just so characterless.
 

perryair

Cyburbian
Messages
41
Points
2
Down in South Fla, Im pretty sure that i've never ever seen a house have a side entry garage. They are all front entry, and the farther out west you go, the bigger the lot/garage.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
Naples, FL....all SE garage in a job I worked on a little while ago. Don't remember if that was in Southern FL though. Where is the dividing line for S. FL anyway??
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,787
Points
58
Here, it depends on where the house is located, and its cost. Infill lots ... almost all have detached or side-load garages. Same thing with the custom home-only subdivisions, and premium lots sold to custom home builders in other subdivisions. About 75% of all new middle-end houses outside of the original townsite have front-loading garages.



















I believe that in the Dallas, Texas area, alleys are the norm, even in loop and lollypop subdivisions far from town. Front loading garages there are the exception, not the rule.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,787
Points
58
A rare glimpse at Casa Cyburbia, a brick ranch built in 1987. I've got a big 'ol front loading two car garage. Only about 30% of the houses in my subdivision have side loading garages.

1house01-med.jpg
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,787
Points
58
An alley and a "Hollywood driveway" in Celebration.

1celebration021-med.jpg

1celebration002-med.jpg
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Gimme that front-loader any day. How can people see how many cars you have if you hide the garage door?
 

perryair

Cyburbian
Messages
41
Points
2
Naples, FL....all SE garage in a job I worked on a little while ago. Don't remember if that was in Southern FL though. Where is the dividing line for S. FL anyway??
Hmm. I guess i'm only really talking about SE Florida. Broward/Dade/Palm Beach. Every single new house development that I can think of that I have seen in the tri-county area have front entry garages. (and most of the development is new house development).
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
"Gimme that front-loader any day. How can people see how many cars you have if you hide the garage door?"

That's true. BUT, the real answer is that they can easily see how many cars you have because, after you have filled your garages with junk and tools (manly tools!), your cars are parked in the driveway or on the street anyway. :)
 
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