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Minimum lot frontage: 50 feet

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1
Points
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As the Vice Chairman of our city planning commission who's planner has quit and moved to another job, we are still faced with a recent request from our former planner concerning a change of the lot frontage from 50 ft to 30 ft. for the Urban area, this of course if I see it right opens up L shaped property for development in our Urban zone. We are a small rural farm city pop; 2500 and have little or no space to grow unless the City council starts the land grab annexation process. What is good or bad about dropping the frontage size? or should we leave it alone and hope the parties sell off the property to the neighbors.
 

Linden Smith

Cyburbian
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141
Points
6
I think you have to use your imagination. Would it be such a bad thing if those lots got filled in with houses? Maybe some other type of restriction cauld help you to cull the good development from the bad. How many new lots could be created from this? How do the homeowners feel and how do the vacant lot owners feel?

In larger cities we sometimes push for growing up not out, since the cost of services delivered does not increase, but sometimes those lots did not get built on for a reason.
 
Messages
107
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One potential down side you might encounter would be poor access management along roadways. With smaller frontage requirements you might see more flag lots (or L-shaped lots) and and a good number of curb cuts every few yards. This can have significant traffic flow and safety impacts.

Although it may not be a bad idea to drop the min. lot size in an effort to promote urban infill development, I would be wary of the potential for flag lots.
 
Messages
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Dropping to 30 feet minimum may be a problem, because that's just about too small for a detached home and relatively large for a townhouse. If you are going to drop, why don't you consider doing so for attached townhouses? Why not leave it at 50 feet but provide for fee simple townhouses on lots 24 feet or so wide? Just a thought. Or if you do drop to 30, allow for zero lot line on one side so that you don't have unusable side yards.
 

Joe Iliff

Reformed City Planner
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1,441
Points
28
Like the comments above, I think you need to think about making other changes in tandem with a reduction in lot width. Lot size, setbacks, maximum and minimum building size, and minimum separation between detached units may need to be modified as well to make these more acceptable lots. You may also want to consider encouraging or requiring where possible lots to share a common driveway along a property line, with a mutual access easement allowing both owners to use it. This may reduce the number of curb cuts along the street.

I think 30 foot wide lots can work, if you consider some of these issues along with them.
Good Luck
 
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We allow down to 25 feet of frontage, but require an "average" lot width of 50 feet. This allows flag lots, but minimizes their number and keeps lots to minimum dimensions that allow proper development and use.
 
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