NONCONFORMING LOTS and MINIMUM LOT SIZES
The Planning Board will be holding a public hearing in the City Hall Council Chambers on January 10, 2017, at 7:00 PM to discuss some proposed changes to the Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Map. These changes primarily involve, first, the ability to build single-family homes on nonconforming lots of record and, second, the required minimum lot sizes in the Residential A and AA zoning districts.
Regarding nonconforming lots, the key changes are both a correction, necessitated by a recent court case, to enable homes to continue to be built on such lots but also a set of new, additional standards that would have the effect of making the rules for nonconforming lots more restrictive. As an example of being more restrictive, all applications for homes on nonconforming lots of record would now require Planning Board public hearings; currently only those involving lots less than 5,000 square feet have to go to the Planning Board.
In terms of required minimum lot sizes for the A and AA zones, the proposal is to base the standard not on large, suburban-style lot sizes as is currently the requirement across the City, regardless of existing neighborhood patterns, but instead to base zoning minimum lot size requirements on the actual median lot sizes for the A and AA zones in each neighborhood. In this way, neighborhoods that currently have larger existing house lots would have a larger minimum lot size standard, and those with smaller lots—as is typically found in the older parts of the City—would have smaller required minimum lot sizes. This adjustment to the minimum lot sizes will eliminate the artificiality of the current zoning minimum lot size standard. It also will remove the unfairness inherent in some property owners being able split off part of their property for a new home, because it happens to consist of one or more nonconforming lots of record, while a neighbor down the street is prevented from similarly creating a new house lot, even though owning the same amount of land, because the parcel doesn’t happen to consist of nonconforming lots.
The proposed amendments, as well as background materials, are contained in the file set below. The version now under consideration is Version C.
At the conclusion of the public hearing the Planning Board will make a recommendation to the City Council on the proposed amendments. The City Council will then hold a public hearing on Wednesday, January 18th. Please contact the City Clerk's office (767-7601) or the City Manager's office (767-7606) for information on when subsequent City Council meetings may take place.
For more information, please contact Tex Haeuser, Planning Director, at email@example.com.