purchase 3' from neighbor - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-CA on May 24, 2007 at 10:43:12:

ok :wink:

purchase 3’ from neighbor - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on May 22, 2007 at 20:02:57:

Ok, here’s the situation: I own a triple lot. It’s one lot right now, but I have an old deed, which mentions that the original lot numbers. The whole lot is 117’ wide. The zoning in that area requires 40’ road frontage per lot. So, I’m 3’ short. Someone in planning usggested to me to buy 3’ road frontage from the neighbor.

Both of the neighbors have enough frontage and total squarefootage, that they could give me those 3’ without having problems aobut size of their own lot.

Both people seem to hav emortgages on the properties. So, I assume that they wouldn’t be able to sell me 3’, without a release from their mortgage company.

Has anybody ever tried to do that? It would definitely help their value, as mine is an overgrown vacant lot and I would sell to a builder, who build new construction and bring their values up. So, there’s an incentive for the neighbors, I just wonder if anybody ever tried to sell that to a mortgage company?


Shared driveway - Posted by Keith

Posted by Keith on May 24, 2007 at 09:17:13:


Just a long shot here but you may not need 120’ total, rather you need 40’ per lot. If your plans call for a “shared driveway entrance” dropped right on the internal property lines of your lots, you may be able to “share” some frontage amongst the 3 lots. Might be enough to please the planning department without jumping through hoops with the neighbors, especially if you are on good terms with them already.

Good luck,

Re: purchase 3’ from neighbor - Posted by Ed in Idaho

Posted by Ed in Idaho on May 23, 2007 at 02:03:23:

First of all, as Sailor said, you may not need 3’ as you may already have 3 lots that are seperate. You say it is a triple lot that is one lot right now. If the legal description for the property shows it as 1 lot, you can only divide the property into the minimum or larger of whatever the zoning is. Based on the minimum square feet allowed and the minimum street frontage allowed as long as all setbacks can be met.

If you have 3 seperate lots according to the legal description in the courthouse, Then go in and see if they will give you a building permit on each lot. If you can get a building permit for each lot then shut the he$$ up and sell those suckers. If that is what you want. The point is if you ask too many questions to a P&Z you will get what they want. Don’t start any process with them paper wise until you are sure which direction you want to go.

An example of this is you own a piece of property that has some trees on it. You have the right to clear the lot then go in and apply for permits, zone change, whatever. If you file paperwork first then you are put into the ordinances that are current to date. You may be restricted by a tree ordinance that is designed to save as many trees as possible and will complicate your plans. That’s one of many examples.

  1. check the legal description to see if you have 3 individual lots.
  2. if you have 3, do all of them have individual tax id numbers. If you have 3 seperate lots and only 1 tax id #, have the court house assessors office give you seperate tax id #s for each lot.
  3. if above is ok, go into city/county (wherever it is) and ask what it would take to get a building permit for each lot. Lot sizes can be smaller than what the zoning allows (grandfathered), mostly as long as any setbacks can be met. That’s when you ask for a variance.
    4)Check the city/county PUD (planned unit development) to see if a PUD can be used on your lots since they are three contiguaa, contligu, three lots next to each other. In development it helps to be allowed more doors (living units) on a property. Makes it more valuable.
  4. If you need to get the 3’ for the third lot try to get the 3’ next to the nonconforming lot, otherwise you need to do lot line adjustments. No big deal just another hoop. P&Z is a circus act and the less hoops the better.
  5. I’m tired and there are more options, so if you have more questions let me know. Just make sure what you really have and how you have it, then you can decide what to do.

Hope this helps!

Re: purchase 3’ from neighbor - Posted by Sailor

Posted by Sailor on May 22, 2007 at 23:18:10:

I’ve done it. I bought an empty extra lot that was included in a
mortgage on the house next door. The bank looked @ the seller’s
equity in the adjacent property & eventually released the lot. It
wasn’t an easy thing to coordinate because the seller was
out of the U.S. & had some health issues.

Before you go through all that, though, I’d check to make sure the
"someone in planning" is the highest authority, 'cause it could be
that you don’t really need the 3 extra feet. That’s 12" per lot, &
I’m wondering if on a good day you could be considered
grandfathered. Are you planning to subdivide & sell? Can you do
a multi-family?

Good luck, Michaela–if anyone can do this it is you!


Re: purchase 3’ from neighbor - Posted by Michaela-CA

Posted by Michaela-CA on May 23, 2007 at 08:29:31:


thank you for your long post. A lot of those question are answered in my post to Sailor.

This is 1 lot with 1 tax id, but I have an old deed from 1926, which shows, that these were initially 3 separate lots. But because it’s 3’ short of having 3 conforming lots and I have been unable to find any information what the original dimensions of each lot were, they would only split them up into 2 at this time, due to roadfrontage needing to be 40’ on each.
Since lots sell between 50K and 75k per piece, I’d rather it be 3 lots than 2.

I can’t prove any grandfathering, as it had been used for years and years for a multi-unit building. THat has been torn down years ago, so I can’t use that grandfathering either. So, I’m back to today’s zoning of single-family.

I’m on good terms with the guy from zoning. he’s the one who knows everything and who suggested for me to get 3’.

  1. Have never heard of PUD, so I’ll check that out.

  2. I do not have dims of previous 3 lots, so I don’t know which one would be non-conforming. As mentioned each side has extra, but both have mortgages on the properties. I know one was bought last august below value, so maybe that one is a possibility.


Re: purchase 3’ from neighbor - Posted by Michaela-CA

Posted by Michaela-CA on May 22, 2007 at 23:33:12:

thank you.

actually, I need only 3’ in total. The lot is 117’ wide.
I need 120’. to make it 3 conforming lots. Since I’ve found documentation, that these were originally 3 lots, I wouldn’t even need to subdivide, but it would be considered ‘reverting to original condition’ or something like that. Except, that I can’t find dimensions for the original lots.

So, if I could get 3’, then I have absolutely no problem splitting back into 3 lots.

But since I would only want to get the 3’ from one of the neighbors and not the whole lot, it would probably them that would have to deal with the mortgage company and it probably wouldn’t be worth it to them, as I really wouldn’t want to pay all that much for that little sliver (planning wants it pie-shaped) :wink:

But I’m also wondering, if I cna’t get 3’, if maybe I can do an application for a variance, as there are many, many lots in that neighborhood smaller than this.
(25’ and 30’ wide). I’ve just never had to deal with that and being long distance (the lots are in Georgia and still going through quiet title)



Re: purchase 3’ from neighbor - Posted by Ed in Idaho

Posted by Ed in Idaho on May 23, 2007 at 20:50:01:

In 1926 it showed 3 lots. Go back a few years and it will show that your property was part of a section of farmland. Go back a million it will show that it was part of a sea. Point on this is, what is the current legal description of this property? If it only describes 1 lot then you have ‘1 LOT’! You will have to meet the current code and get the 3’ to get 3 lots if the 40’ frontage is required. Make sure you understand that the 40’ frontage is actual street frontage and not building envelope width. The street access point may be more like 20’ and the width at the building site may be 40’ minimum. Lots don’t have to be perfect squares or rectangles. Or you go after a variance which may be highly possible if other properties close by were allowed.

Side note: this property may be more valuable as a multi-family property than 3 lots. Ask your P&Z guy if that use can be had again since that is what it was before.Actually don’t just ask him. If you want to try and see if this can be allowed again, get on the agenda for the next P&Z meeting and ask them!

You can look at all the deeds you want, but you HAVE TO GO TO THE COURTHOUSE AND SEE THE CURRENT LEGAL DESCRIPTIONS FOR THE PROPERTY!!! Lot lines may have been adjusted or even wiped out in order to build that multi-family that was on there. I hope you find what you want there, if not try to get what you want. But I’ll say it again. Don’t let the P&Z take control of every step of the process. You’ll get exactly what they want if they even know what they want. P&Z’s are a slightly regulatory but mostly recommending board that are bound to uphold the current ordinances to the letter, but hopefully know when to allow variances, changes, and conditional use permits.

Re: purchase 3’ from neighbor - Posted by Anne_ND

Posted by Anne_ND on May 23, 2007 at 09:05:05:

Hi M,

Don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, but I’ve had good luck getting variances similar to this in ND. I like Ed’s idea of applying for a building permit, asking to waive the 40’ frontage requirement.

Since you’ve got a good relationship with the guys at city hall, they can tell you how to do this pretty easily. I bet it’s done all the time in that neighborhood.


Re: purchase 3’ from neighbor - Posted by Sailor

Posted by Sailor on May 22, 2007 at 23:58:53:

Would deeded right-of-way suffice? Depends on the community, but my experience has been that in some cases knowing the right person & whether or not he/she has a preference for milk or dark chocolate can make a big difference. Just last night I passed around a coupla boxes of truffles @ the County Commissioners’ mtg.

Keep us posted on your progress, Michaela, as you never know when another of us is going to encounter a similar situation.


Re: purchase 3’ from neighbor - Posted by Michaela-CA

Posted by Michaela-CA on May 23, 2007 at 21:24:34:


thank you for your long posts, but I’m not an idiot. I’ve been in this business full time for + 12 years and I’ve bought and sold many lots. You keep asking questions, that have already been explained by me. I do know a lot about my local zonings and as explained before, I do know that there’s a 40’ road frontage necessary, not building width. I Own the lot and I do not hav eot go to the courthouse to look at legal descriptions. I also KNOW, that when I have a property, can be shown that it was several independent lots in the past, they can be easily ‘converted to original condition’. Maybe that doesn’t work in your area, but that’s how it goes in Georgia. U have also previously explained that I can no longer build multi-family on this lot. I have also mentioned several times, that I’m no longer in Georgia and that going back and forth to
the city and courthouse etc is out.

I appreciate you wanting to help, but I have the impression, that you never even read most of my posts or that you think, that I don’t have the slightest idea what I’m talking about…


Re: purchase 3’ from neighbor - Posted by michaela-ATL

Posted by michaela-ATL on May 23, 2007 at 10:46:42:


thanks. I will have to look into that. To apply for a permit I will have to have a building plan, which I have no intention of getting prepared. I will have to see, if any of those expeditors who do permits also do things like working on variances, as I’m no longe rin the area. I’m going to get Kevin’s email from planning and see, if he can answer a lot of stuff by email.


Re: purchase 3’ from neighbor - Posted by Ed in Idaho

Posted by Ed in Idaho on May 23, 2007 at 23:25:45:

Sorry, just trying to open you up to all of the possabilities. Didn’t mean anything by it. Re-read your original post and since you are on one track, the answer is Yes! The property owner who owns the 3’ you want will have to apply for a release of collateral to free it up and be able to sell or give it to you. That applies to anywhere in the country. If thats not possible you have 2 big lots. End of story.