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Small Lot Development...

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
29
Very low vacancy rates and a very rapid growth rate in the Edmonton area are creating a perceived market need (according to developers) for revisions to ther region's regulations regarding minimum lot sizes and widths.

The City I work for currently has the following lot width reqts:

-- At least 60% of all lots need to be 14.5m (48 ft) in width
-- Up to 40% can be between 12.2m (40 ft) and 14.5m (48 ft)
-- Up to 20% of lots can be 11.5m (38 ft)

My previous experience has been with the cities of Davis (CA), Oak Harbor (WA), St. Helena (CA), and Vancouver (WA)... and in any of these communities, these are *tiny* lots.

The developers that are lobbying for smaller lots in the City are asking for a minimum of 9m (about 30 ft), with no minimum or maximum percentage of lots. My guess is that the majority (maybe 60%) would end up being these tiny lots, given the chance.

The City I work for is currently the densest in Alberta (no, not the population, although sometimes I wonder :rolleyes )... and we enjoy an excellent quality of life. I can just imagine, the smaller the lots get, the more difficult it would be to provide on-street parking, landscaping, and so many other amenities. Also, I would think that smaller lots would change the tax brought in by each DU, and I would assume that lots would eventually end up not paying for themselves as far as City services go.

Has anyone recently changed their bylaws/zoning ordinances to allow such small lots? What has been the outcome? Did you require other non-standard amenities (such as rear alleys/lanes, no driveways on the street, wider sidewalks, etc) to make up for this higher density?

I'm wary of leaving the door wide open for a small lot free-for-all here, but I don't really have enough information yet to provide some solid reasons to fight the movement (or support it for that matter). When does high denisty detached single family uses become too dense?

Thanks everyone for reading through this long message... (and double the thanks if you can actually help me out here!)...

Deb
 

Glomer

Member
Messages
207
Points
9
WOW!!!!! 30 ft. lots?!?!?!?!

Our average single family lots are 80'. granted that is rather large........we recently made some changes and added a district that allows 45 ft. lots.

The problem you are going to have with 30' detached single family lots is that there won't be enough room between homes in the side yard..........won't be able to plant grass (no sunlight), fire code issues, etc....

I would say that you would need an alley in 30' lot development, how else would you fit a garage????

Do you allow for zero lot line? You could have attached homes on a 0 lot line which would provide more room for the side yard.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
29
Zero lot lines...

Glomer:

We don't currently have zero-lot line regs here, but it's something we ar considering (both for detached or attached). I have seen them used successfully in other communities I've worked. However, I would think we would want to limit these to a maximum of 20% or so of the overall lots.

I know... when I first moved here I had no idea that our lots were so small (because I never really used the metric system). In Davis we had some lots that were down to about 45 ft, so I wasn't shocked... but 30 ft! I was pretty amazed.

As an example, Terwillegar Towne in Edmonton (which was developed under a Direct Control District... similar to a PUD), has some lots that are only 28 feet wide with detached housing. http://www.terwillegartowne.com/terwillegar/index2.shtml (Stage 10 is an example). I'm planning to take a little day trip this weekend to check it out.

I just blows my mind! We have a couple of surveys we sent out to some local jurisdictions to find out how these new regs are affecting the City, but I was hoping maybe some off the cuff remarks from some of my friends on Cyburbia would give me a feel for the issues without all the neutral mumbo jumbo I tend to get back from our neighboring cities.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
Points
33
I checked out your link. It is interesting how they show all of the homes on spacious lots with no other homes nearby. Can you take some pictures to show the reality? Thirty feet seems overly narrow.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
29
Hey Michael...

Yeah, I'll try to get down there this weekend to take some pics. I'll post a few under this thread, just so we will all know what a 28' lot looks like...

Have a good weekend :)
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,371
Points
28
The small town we live in -- like some other places with a mining history -- has some blocks of 25 foot wide residential lots. As far as we can determine there are only one or two dwellings that actually occupy only a 25 foot lot. Its hard to evaluate how it would look if all the 25 foot lots were developed. The standard practice all the way back in history was to sell people two lots, so there are "normal" sideyards (provided by the adjoining homes) surrounding the dwellings on the 25 foot lots. Given this history, I think my first question would be, "is this a marketing scheme, by which the developers can sell people two lots at a higher price?" If not, the only place I know of that is experimenting with such narrow lots is Portland, OR.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,338
Points
53
30' and 40' lots are common in suburban Toronto (yes, I see them advertised in feet). Look at what they're building there, though ... I see big garage doors with an entrance to the side, and a couple of stories above.

Are the developers who propose these narrow lots planning on alley entry garages?
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
34
Dan said:
30' and 40' lots are common in suburban Toronto (yes, I see them advertised in feet). Look at what they're building there, though ... I see big garage doors with an entrance to the side, and a couple of stories above.
You can do quite a bit with a thirty foot lot - as long as it has depth. As for the architecture, that's changing.


30 feet doesn't seem that narrow to me :)
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,860
Points
38
Glomer said:
WOW!!!!! 30 ft. lots?!?!?!?!

Our average single family lots are 80'. granted that is rather large........we recently made some changes and added a district that allows 45 ft. lots.
The politico's here would die on the spot with lots like those.

Our residential lots at a minimum require 150' of frontage (which essentially becomes the width of the lot), and some require 200'.
 

Glomer

Member
Messages
207
Points
9
NHPlanner

Do you have a downtown??? Old part of town? Do you have city blocks? What is the density of your average single family developments??? 1.5 units per acre?

Do people have to drive to their neighbors house for dinner?

Sorry.......I just can't imagine either of the scenarios.......30' seems way to small and 150 minimum frontage seems like they should be a farmstead with cattle.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
33
We don't allow anything smaller than 100 wide, but as a "lake community" everyone has 2 cars, 1 truck, 3 snowmobiles, 2 ski-doos, boats, trailers etc. and the average driveway is 30 feet wide at the curb line (wider towards the house)!

We did have 2 legal non conforming lots that were 30 feet wide, and someone built on both of them last year. Aside from the neighbors coming unglued, they work with their surroundings quite well, and I agree with Translanner (because we're not talking hockey) ;) that depth makes the difference.

Like Michael, I really want to see the pics!
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,860
Points
38
Glomer said:
NHPlanner

Do you have a downtown??? Old part of town? Do you have city blocks?
No, yes, and no. We're a primarily residential bedroom town, developed mostly during the 1980's, mostly on old apple orchard lands. There is the "old" north "village" area, but even there the lots are big.

Our minimum lot sizes vary from as small as 30,000 square feet (w/ water/sewer) to 100,000 square feet (soils based lot sizes due to the predominance of individual septic systems). 73% of the Town depends on private wells and septic. No city blocks until you go north into Manchester.

What is the density of your average single family developments??? 1.5 units per acre?

Do people have to drive to their neighbors house for dinner?

Sorry.......I just can't imagine either of the scenarios.......30' seems way to small and 150 minimum frontage seems like they should be a farmstead with cattle.
Typical subdivisions are at a density of just over an acre per lot. this is actually increasing, as newer subdivisions now have a wetlands ordinance and buffer areas to deal with. I'll try to get some more pics in the Gallery (there are already some there of Londonderry in my personal gallery)
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,860
Points
38
NHPlanner said:
Typical subdivisions are at a density of just over an acre per lot. this is actually increasing, as newer subdivisions now have a wetlands ordinance and buffer areas to deal with. I'll try to get some more pics in the Gallery (there are already some there of Londonderry in my personal gallery)
A follow up:

If you've got a good fast net connection, you can see how our lots have been laid out in the past by looking at this pdf file (it's a map of priority open space for preservation...but it has all of our lots delineated):

http://londonderry.web-sites.com/images/ostfmap.pdf
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
29
Pics...

Here are some of the 30 ft +/- lots in Terwillegar Towne in Edmonton. I have some names of some previous attempts at small lot developments that were not terribly successful (like some at the end of the cul-de-sac, without alleys)... I may drive around some Edmonton to look for the bad and the ugly, as this seems to be the (comparatively) good example. All in all, it's a bit cramped at Terwillegar Towne. I saw some of the houses for sale, and at $180,000 CDN, it's not "affordable" but not as pricy as some places around here. So small lots do not necessarily mean affordable.

Anyway... I post some more pics when I get back to work next Monday... enjoy your weekends everyone!
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
604
Points
18
Nice quaint individual houses, BUT . . . .
This is a perfect example of what not to allow in Planning!

Why do you have to park your car in the street? Streets are for moving traffic. Why is the city providing parking lots for the dwellings? Roadways are expensive ways to build parking lots! And the city has to maintain them in the future - forever!

Houses are too close to the street! If they were back 20 feet you could park a car in your drive. . . . maybe two, and keep them off the street! A child in our city lost his leg playing in his own front yard when a car hit the curb and ran over him!

Houses are too close together:
All garage doors must face the street. Boring! No room for side opening garages. Any law say you must keep your garage doors closed?
Potential clash of architectural styles when so close together. No chance for major trees to give a visual break from one style to the next. Caos!
Major trees too close to houses cause damage to foundations, utility lines, gutters and eaves, and roofs with normal limb fall even without storms.
Storm water runoff is greatly increased in this neighborhood, and will probably cause water problems downstream.
Fire in one unit cannot be stopped from going right down the line and taking out the whole block. Fire insurance rates are much greater for houses less than 20 feet apart. Check Fire Rating Bureau.
It takes more city streets to serve 120 lots in a 10 acre subdivision than 16 lots in a 10 acre subdivision. Think about it. Each lot must have street access. I can not draw this out on my computer for you. Try it with pencil and paper.

This seems to be the way we built houses in over crowded cities 100 years ago! Can you imagine what this neighborhood will look like in 20 years as it deteriorates? Haven't we learned anything?
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
604
Points
18
Where are the garages???
Have you created alleys in the back, too???

Is there no alternative? You HAVE to park on the street???

Are you allowed to have a party in this neighborhood when as many as 10 cars might show up at night when everyone else is parking on the street, too?

Tell me this isn't so!!!
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
604
Points
18
Is this the "smart growth" that the nouveau planners write about in their planning magazines?
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
604
Points
18
Yeah, that's what I want . . . . a nice big transformer box right at my front walk and door!!!
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
Points
33
I'm surprised to see this look as good as it does - in fact, very good. This is a city. Diverse architecture not dominated by garage doors, streets with parking, efficient land use....

It has the potential to be a neighborhood. I would guess with the number of homes per hect/acre, and the value (CN$ 180,000 is what, US$ 140,000?) there are substantial efficiencies in providing municipal services, which would result in lower taxes than sixteen lots on ten acres.

I could point to many similar, 100-year old neighborhoods in cities throughout the US and Canada that have remained extremely viable and attractive.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,338
Points
53
Oh no! These streets can't accomodate three hook and ladder trucks racing abreast! Seconds count! This is a death trap! Triangle Shirt Factory! Triangle Shirt Factory!

[sarcasm off]

Streck said:
Why do you have to park your car in the street? Streets are for moving traffic.
On-street parking serves double duty as traffic calming, and it provides a sense of security for pedestrian traffic -- an additional buffer between sidewalks and pedestrian traffic.

Roadways are expensive ways to build parking lots! And the city has to maintain them in the future - forever!
In most North American 'burbs, roads are already built wide, because it's assumed they'll be used for on-street overflow parking.

Houses are too close to the street! If they were back 20 feet you could park a car in your drive. . . . maybe two, and keep them off the street! A child in our city lost his leg playing in his own front yard when a car hit the curb and ran over him!
If there's alleys, or driveways on house sides leading to detached garages, the issue of a short driveway doesn't come into the picture.

Placing the house close to the street is an efficient use of land. It's easier to see the goings-on of the street ... and thus safer. What do most people use their front yard for, anyhow? Grass, and an occasional game of catch. Smaller front yards mean larger back yards, and more room for gardens, pools, and so on.

Houses are too close together:
My house is about 70' (about 23 m) wide, on an 90' (29 m) wide lot. There's about 20' (6.5 m) between houses. Seems like a lot. However, I wouldn't know that, because there are no windows on the sides of my house. The house next door could be 10' away, or 5', and I wouldn't know.

All garage doors must face the street. Boring! No room for side opening garages.
Not relevant when you have rear loading or detached garages. It's bad, though, when you have suburban Toronto-style houses, where there's nothing but garage door facing the street.

No chance for major trees to give a visual break from one style to the next. Caos!
Big trees go in in the tree lawn, the area between the sidewalk and the street. Some species of canopy trees have root structures which won't undermine any foundations of basements.

In my old Buffalo neighborhood, with 30' to 35' lots, there was a canopy tree planted in front of the tree lawn of every house. It provides a canopy over the street, with constant shade, and decreases cooling costs and the urban heat effect.

Major trees too close to houses cause damage to foundations, utility lines, gutters and eaves, and roofs with normal limb fall even without storms.
Yeah, if you're planting Live Oaks or Sycamores. Put the utilities in the alleys, where they belong.

Storm water runoff is greatly increased in this neighborhood, and will probably cause water problems downstream.
Storm water runoff would be depend on the climate of the community, soil types, and consistency of rainfall. A well-designed grading plan and storm drain system should resolve any potential problems. Manhattan doesn't flood after rains there.

Fire in one unit cannot be stopped from going right down the line and taking out the whole block.
What's the construction type? How about roofing?

Hardy board is rather fire-resistant. Yeah, if you're looking at frame houses with wood shingles and cedar shake roofing, there's the potential for problems. Brick or block construction, or frame with a brick veneer or hardy board, with asphalt-based architectural shingles or tile/clay roofing material, will do a damn good job of fireproofing.

It takes more city streets to serve 120 lots in a 10 acre subdivision than 16 lots in a 10 acre subdivision. Think about it. Each lot must have street access. I can not draw this out on my computer for you. Try it with pencil and paper.
There's less street per house, though, which decreases the overall tax burden. Alleys usually are surfaced in concrete, and handle little through traffic, so they require much less maintenance than through streets.

This seems to be the way we built houses in over crowded cities 100 years ago!
This isn't some immigrant ghetto in Brooklyn. I don't see throngs of huddled masses in the streets, horse-drawn carts, gangs of orphan boys, scarf-clad women wandering aimlessly while chanting the Rosary, accordion players busking on every corner, and produce vendors each trying to out-scream the other.

This is the way single family houses were built in crowded cities over 100 years ago ... at least in Buffalo. Granted, there are some areas that didn't hold up well, but those tended to be developments built for poor immigrant workers from the start.











Can you imagine what this neighborhood will look like in 20 years as it deteriorates? Haven't we learned anything?
I can show you subdivisions with 2,000 square foot houses on quarter acre lots, built 20 years ago ... which are now considered slums. There was also my old neighborhood in Denver, where tiny worker-bee houses built in the 1920s on small lots now sell for $250,000 and more.

Build nothing but cheap starter homes, and yeah ... the decelopment will eventually turn into a place that would make a good setting for a country song. Mix housing types and sizes, though, and you'll have a nice neighborhood on 20 years.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
33
NHPlanner said:

If you've got a good fast net connection, you can see how our lots have been laid out in the past by looking at this pdf file (it's a map of priority open space for preservation...but it has all of our lots delineated):

http://londonderry.web-sites.com/images/ostfmap.pdf
Wow. Drop 3,000 acres of lakes and marsh in there and that could be my town! Interesting how 200 less years of european settlement history on our end don't matter much in settlement pattern.

http://www.ci.muskego.wi.us/planning/Ord_Info/Zoning Map - 02052001.pdf
 

GeogPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,433
Points
24
Streck said:
Yeah, that's what I want, a street light right outside my second story window!
gawd forbid you pull a shade close at night...i have a street light outside of my second floor window...i close the shades at night anyway...don't like to be an exhibitionist to my neighbors.

and regarding what a neighborhood would look like in 20 years...the old stuff sells better than the new stuff and hasn't burnt down. its amazing how much harder it is to burn brick compared to wood.

regarding the kid who had his/her leg taken off b/c they were playing in the front yard and a car jumped the curb...where were the street trees and on street parking? can't ask for a better barrier if you ask me. and if we reacted to EVERY single freak accident...what a misrible life it would be.
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
Dan - hallelejiah, amen and you go on, brother.

sorry streck, but I thought that the neighborhoods in Nerudite's photos seemed so much more attractive and quaint than the typical 90' wide lots with houses set back 40-50' on 36' wide roads.
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
604
Points
18
Wow . . . . . what a vigorous defense!

I must have hit a nerve here!

Nice photos. . . . . and to the point. Thanks.

The individual houses do look good. The ones you chose to shoot are not deteriorated. They look like inviting neighborhoods.

Can you imagine how grand the homes would be if they were set off in a proper sized lot with trees separating them?

Doesn't anyone see anything aesthetically wrong about the houses being so close together? (photo 1) Is that an ideal that Planners should promote? Or are you just defending your city, because you love it anyway?

It looks as if the house next to the building in photo 2 should never have been so close to the building! In fact if that house should have never been allowed to be built, there probably would be enough space between the building and the next house. Can you imagine this neighborhood could have been without the "in-fill" of a house between each house?

Photo 3 shows the deterioration setting in at the base of the houses as enevitable. And the houses are wood, right next to each other! Can you imagine the thought of the loss of every house in the row by fire? But I'm sure this are "affordable" housing.

Photo 4 shows "fire-proof" brick houses next to each other. Never mind that the eave of one house is actually sticking over the roof of the adjacent house. No problem painting and caulking that eave and gutter when you can just stand on the roof of the house next door, right? No water run-off problem here! What does fit in that narrow space between houses? Dead cats? Oh the horror, oh the smell!

Ah, the stately English Manor house of photo 5! Only, where is the manor? A lovely estate house, with no estate!

I really don't mean to be cruel here. I'm thankful for your response, and the photos that make my point. I really hope I have not made an enemy here. It appears that you have much support in this forum, and I am just a newcomer. I am sure that you love your community, especially if that is what you grew up with. I am just trying to encourage even better planning.

I hope you will continue posting with me without malice.

Thanks sincerely for your photo response.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
Points
33
Streck, you seem to be arguing that the only acceptible form of development is suburban - i.e. single-family homes on large lots with no parking on the streets. Is this the perfect solution?

Many planners would argue that the suburban forms of the last 50-75 years have been overly consumptive of resources while sociologically, contributing to many of the problems we face as a society. So what. They predecessors pointed to the urban forms of development Dan posted as equally problematic, in different ways.

There are urban neighborhoods that have weathered a hundred or more years as viable communities, and there are suburbs that have maintained their attractiveness for nearly a century. And there are numerous developments of both types that have failed.

The point that I am trying to make is that there are many patterns of development - urban neighborhoods, suburbia, rural clusters, high-rise towers - there is a market for all of these. People will buy them and choose to live in them. And time will tell if they will remain healthy communities.
 

Glomer

Member
Messages
207
Points
9
This is what I love about this forum.......tasteful arguments with pictures to boot!!!

I would have to say that I agree with both sides of the spectrum.

I do like small lot neighborhoods for the purpose of making homes more affordable......but for nice homes as well. I hate when space is waisted on 30' sideyards that are never used. However, when you put homes 2' apart from each other and you can pass the ketchup........well that is just too close. The homes should be attached on a 0 lot line and that 2' should be added to the side yards on on the other side of the home. To me, anything less than 8, 9 feet between homes becomes a waisted space with no use other than to throw your garbage and store your old bikes. Grass doesn't grow for lack of sunlight.
 

GeogPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,433
Points
24
i can't tell you how many times a 4 foot alleyway has saved me a trip to the store for a cup of milk or something...green acres? hrumph! my new digs are on the top floor of a row of old buildigns with retail on the ground level...pic coming soon...can't wait for august 1!
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
604
Points
18
What drives the small lot phenomena?

Is it because that is the most desireable way to live? No.
Is it because it is "affordable"? Yes.

Then why don't we just back double-wide trailers right next to each other on 25 foot wide lots?

Man does not live by bread alone.

Are planners forgetting this? Good planning would seem to strive to provide "liveable spaces", not just "affordable housing".

When planners fail to convince cities that unlimited building heights will cause traffic problems (by people trying to reach their 100 story building), and crowded housing problems (by people trying to find a place to live near their 100 story building), we have to live with the consequences.

Bad planning can be ignored, but living with the consequences of bad planning cannot be ignored.

New York has an opportunity to solve some of its traffic and housing problems by refusing to allow replacement of the twin towers at the same density.

I know, it can't be done. It's too late for New York. Is it too late for your community? Are people already fleeing the downtown area to be able to work and live in suburbia? What can be learned here? How can you make your community a more attractive place to live? Is it by providing more 25 foot wide lots for double wide prefabricated "affordable housing"?

Or is it better to promote outlying suburban nodes of civilization with related housing and green belts where people can choose to live near their work site, or bike to school and store?

How did we get off-track by calling bucolic settings "sprawl"?
 

GeogPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,433
Points
24
sprawl...the bubonic of bucolic.

as for my desirable, livable space...here it is...top floor of the yellow building...as you can see, tastes differ...but the problem is for many years it has been very difficult to build this and other urban spaces b/c we've zoned and subdivided for the 1/4-1/2 acre lot.
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
604
Points
18
What is in your back yard Geog?

What do you recommend should be in the back yard of your dwelling place?

Where do you park your car, if you have one? (Guest parking?)

Where do your children play?
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
Points
33
Not everyone believes that having a place to park a car is what makes life worth living. Many people do not want a backyard to maintain. Are they wrong, then, to want to live in a dense, urban neighborhood? Is it just possible that someone may find these neighborhoods, new or old, more attractive than large lot suburbia?
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
604
Points
18
What could be more enjoyable than having a private capsule take you from your home to work and wait for you there until you are ready to go home again. We call this capsule a car.

It can go where mass transit cannot go. It can even take you to lunch, or the store, or to your kids game fields, or dinner, or a show when you want to go. It is safer and cleaner than mass transit. It can keep you dry and warm or cool to your own individual comfort. It can carry a load of groceries or other large objects for the handicapped or elderly. It can provide music of your choice. It can provide news or talk or audio books or silence at your command.

My, a car almost makes life worth living! : )
 

Journeymouse

Cyburbian
Messages
443
Points
13
Streck said:
My, a car almost makes life worth living! : )
I have only one (admittedly unreasonable) response: Wuss! :)

Personally, I prefer walking - even in the rain - unless I'm carrying something very bulky or heavy. But trains are fantastic when they work properly. Buses would be good if all you 'lard*rses' got your cars of the road! And taxis are good for late night/early morning. I've got to admit that cars are better if you have children or if you've set yourself for commuting to work or your work involves a lot of site visits, though. Or if you live in the back of beyond and public transport is non-existent. (This is my problem, I enjoy living in an urban area now I've got used to having so many peple around, but I'd still rather be out there - and I can't drive :()
 

GeogPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,433
Points
24
Streck said:
What is in your back yard Geog?

What do you recommend should be in the back yard of your dwelling place?

Where do you park your car, if you have one? (Guest parking?)

Where do your children play?
my "back yard" has a walking trail that runs along the hudson....we also have a courtyard in the center of the building that runs is open from the ground floor up...people have a lot of nice plants and i hear its a great place just to hang out and meet your neighbors..my car is parked in the lot in the back...but on a snowy day i plan to use the city's garage a block away...but i'll be walking to work everyday anyway...i have no children, but there are a number of parks to play in around...and my guests can park on the street (only restriction is a 2 hour max mon-fri 9-5...but why are they visiting while i am at work anyway). and if the streets look empty that's because it's about 5 o'clock and shops are closing up for the night...plenty o' parking for my guests after work.

:)
 

GeogPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,433
Points
24
Streck said:
What could be more enjoyable than having a private capsule take you from your home to work and wait for you there until you are ready to go home again?
losing my beer belly i got from driving to work and everywhere else over the past couple of years...oh and did i mention i can now go HOME for lunch instead of getting fast food at some drive thru?
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
Points
33
I'll admit it, I could never enjoy living in the city. The population in my quarter-section? Me. I could not enjoy the suburbs either. I would rate them just as unattractive as the city. If I worked in a city, though, I would probably choose to live in the city just to reduce the commute. If I lived in the suburbs, I would commute rather than drive.

Amazingly enough, we have all types of communities - rural, small towns, suburbs, and urban neighborhoods. It is almost as if the market responds to consumers' desires. Imagine this radical concept - letting the people who buy the homes determine whether a particular housing style or pattern of development is a preferable!

No, on second thought, we can't have that. Everyone should live on a quarter-acre lot, on a cul-de-sac with no on-street parking, in a detached single family home of no less than 1500 square feet, with a minimum of 20% brick or similar masonry on the front facade, and otherwise covered in earth-toned vinyl siding.
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
604
Points
18
Thanks for getting us back on topic Michael.

In my plug for the "capsule" (car), I didn't tie it to the fact that the car frees us to live in the suburbs where we can "sprawl" out in the landscape. This in my mind allows "large lots" as opposed to "small lots," which is our topic.

Geog made his place sound much more pleasing than I had imagined his place would be in his urban setting. (I kept thinking alley).

Geog, are those individually owned buildings? Are the occupants in an apartment or condominium? Do the people in this urban setting have the pleasure of home ownership? If not, is there less tie to the "land" or community? Do they take a stake in keeping their area clean and kept up (to protect property values), or is that something the landlord does?

My point being, are inner city urbanists (small lot folks) (or apartment dwellers) less likely to maintain a nice community than suburban (large lot dwellers)? I know it can go both ways, but is (small lot - large lot) planning influencial in promoting quality of life one way or the other?
 

GeogPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,433
Points
24
Streck said:
Geog, are those individually owned buildings? Are the occupants in an apartment or condominium? Do the people in this urban setting have the pleasure of home ownership? If not, is there less tie to the "land" or community? Do they take a stake in keeping their area clean and kept up (to protect property values), or is that something the landlord does?
most of those buildings (about 5 or 6) were purchased by a developer in the late 80's (i think)...gutted and rehabed into about 60 apartments (i'm 55 and i'm near the last numbers). these are all apartments. but from what i have seen and heard, there is a sense of community. the manager is retired and she tells me about how she gets used to get a lot of help with the plants in the courtyard( i'll get you a pic of that...it's very interesting...you'd never know it was there) from this one guy who was moving out. the place is remarkably well kept and much more so than some complexes i saw that were $$$$. it seems to me that there is a good give/take relationship with the landlord. he hasn't raised rents in a number of years and the place looks great. the whole reason i took this over a suburban complex or another apartment is b/c of the community that exists...i can't wait to meet some new people in the building...i'm looking foward to visiting a neighbor down the hall. it's going to be a nice change from the old streetcar neighborhood i'm in now...but i want to have opportunities for the neighbor relationships like i developed in my old 'hood.

IMHO...density, when done right, is a great place to be. everyone has nostalic images of the 1950's TV shows...and those neighborhoods were usually upper middle class and dense, just beyond the central business district. and in 10 years, that's where i'll want to be...just like the wilsons and the mitchells and the cleavers. but i don't want to be in sprawling 3rd ring suburbs. put me in damariscotta, maine...just around the corner from the white church and the town chirstmas tree...anyday!
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,890
Points
26
Glomer said:
WOW!!!!! 30 ft. lots?!?!?!?!

Our average single family lots are 80'. granted that is rather large........we recently made some changes and added a district that allows 45 ft. lots.

The problem you are going to have with 30' detached single family lots is that there won't be enough room between homes in the side yard..........won't be able to plant grass (no sunlight), fire code issues, etc....

I would say that you would need an alley in 30' lot development, how else would you fit a garage????

Do you allow for zero lot line? You could have attached homes on a 0 lot line which would provide more room for the side yard.
If Edmonton is working to provide a dense city, they're doing it right! firecode only wants 8 feet between structures in peoria, IL. And 8 foot combined sideyards aren't necessarily too bad for a city lot.
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,890
Points
26
Streck said:
Thanks for getting us back on topic Michael.

In my plug for the "capsule" (car), I didn't tie it to the fact that the car frees us to live in the suburbs where we can "sprawl" out in the landscape. This in my mind allows "large lots" as opposed to "small lots," which is our topic.

Geog made his place sound much more pleasing than I had imagined his place would be in his urban setting. (I kept thinking alley).

Geog, are those individually owned buildings? Are the occupants in an apartment or condominium? Do the people in this urban setting have the pleasure of home ownership? If not, is there less tie to the "land" or community? Do they take a stake in keeping their area clean and kept up (to protect property values), or is that something the landlord does?

My point being, are inner city urbanists (small lot folks) (or apartment dwellers) less likely to maintain a nice community than suburban (large lot dwellers)? I know it can go both ways, but is (small lot - large lot) planning influencial in promoting quality of life one way or the other?
You really need to see how well small lot neighborhoods can be maintained. Take a look at the brownstones On Belmont Avenue in Chicago in Lincoln Park for one example.

EXTREMELY walkable community areas, safe, and no need for a car with basic neccessities within walking distance, and other purchases a "EL" ride or a bus ride away.
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
A good example of a central city doing very well is Saratoga Springs, NY (Jim Kunstler's hometown). The only city in the Capital District Region to actually gain population from 1990-2000. My parents are considering it for retirement - very active downtown, the grocery store, public library, post office, dozens of great restaurants, Skidmore College, all within 6 blocks from the center of their main street, Broadway. When I was working there, we were looking for a house in the city, and yes, on much smaller lots. However, Saratoga has a great public school system - something that Albany, Schenectady or Troy (sorry Geog!) can't boast. That single factor, I believe, is the biggest influence of families leaving those cities.

I was lucky to get a job with the Town I'm with now (the golden handcuffs of State Retirement, among other amazing benefits). The only homeownership options in my town are more dense subdivisions, or insanely sprawling subdivisions. So we chose our house in a neighborhood that is walking distance to a major park, our kids' schools, church and the convenience store, so that our kids can have some level of autonomy before they or their friends turn 16.
 

GeogPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,433
Points
24
actually...albany has a great system for bright kids...many languages...many AP offerings...etc...as for schenec or troy...can't really say too much about those school systems...

but saratoga is quite expensive...not much "affordable" housing it seems.
 
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