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Interpretation The Interpret my WTF code thread

DVD

Cyburbian
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So the powers that be in my city and I (along other planners - I'm not the only one) disagree on how to interpret the code. I think it's just how the city has interpreted it forever and no one really wants to look at it. So I'm going to the big brain to see what you think.

The code:
(b) An attached open porch, open carport, or open balcony may project into any side yard other than the side yard on the street side of a corner lot, if it does not come nearest to the side lot line than three feet.
i. For any lot wherein a ten-foot or greater side yard is required, no such projection shall be within an area ten feet wide and ten feet high, measured from finished grade, lying within that side yard.
ii. No more than one such clear area, as stipulated in i. above, need be maintained on a lot.

Only applies to single-family residential lots. The smallest side setbacks we have allow a 3' and 10' side. They go up to 20' sides on bigger lots. So the 3' side you can do what you want. It's the 10' side we care about and obviously corner lots are just screwed. Also we draw our lots by declaring front and rear yards then fill the space between with side yards. So side yard setbacks don't overlap into front or rear yards.

The way I read this is that you are allowed an "open projection" up to 3' from the property line in the side yard, but somewhere in the side yard there must be a 10' x setback width x 10' high open area and only 1 of these must be maintained. Which basically allows me to build an 8' high carport in the side yard setback as long as I stay 3' off the line and maintain this 10' clear space box somewhere in the side. So say my side yard is the 10' setback x 30'. I can use up to 20' for the carport because I am maintaining the 10' box.

The way I'm getting told to interpret this is:
You can build a carport or open projection, but it must stay 3' off the line and there must be a 10' high x 10' wide (setback width) clear space underneath it and you are only allowed 1 projection like this ever. So we end up with these weird 10' carports next to 8' high roof facia not to mention how this would be more obnoxious to the neighbor through the increased height and we won't get into why we even allow encroachments like this in the first place.

So go good people of Cyburiba and think of an answer.
 
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Dan

Dear Leader
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When in doubt, I try to translate the code language to permisive plain English, and take it from there. So, we have:

(b) An attached open porch, open carport, or open balcony may project into any side yard other than the side yard on the street side of a corner lot, if it does not come nearest to the side lot line than three feet.
i. For any lot wherein a ten-foot or greater side yard is required, no such projection shall be within an area ten feet wide and ten feet high, measured from finished grade, lying within that side yard.
ii. No more than one such clear area, as stipulated in i. above, need be maintained on a lot.
A plain English code might read:

(b) These features may encroach into an interior side setback area, to 3' from the interior side lot line.

* Attached open porch
* Open carport
* Open balcony


If the interior side setback requirement in the underlying zone is 10' or more, any projection within 10' of the interior side lot line must be 10' or more above grade. For an interior lot, this applies only to one side of the lot.
I think this means the clear zone in i applies in one side yard, but ii means i doesn't apply in the other side yard if it's an interior lot. "No more than one such clear area ... need be maintained on a lot " There's nothing about the length of the clear area, only the height above grade, and distance from the side lot line. My conclusion: the clear area runs along the entire side lot line, but just one of them.

Was this a code amendment? If so, what was the rationale for it? Often the original amendment ordinance may have some wherases (!) or a memo explaining the reasoning. You can also Google the language, to see if it was borrowed from some other code.

It's stuff like this that justifies graphic-rich plain English zoning codes.
 
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