Posted by Frank Chin on August 25, 2006 at 08:05:26:
There are additional zoning issues involved if its a complete teardown vs a remodel.
For instance, my dad owns a commercial property built in the 1890’s currently in a residentially zoned area. Zoning didn’t come about till the 1920’s at which point everything built prior was grandfathered.
If the property was torn down completely and rebuilt, it could only be built as a residential property. Usually, if ONE WALL of the house is left standing, and rebuilt from that point, it’s NOT considered new contruction, but a remodel. BUT zoning interpretation varies from place to place.
In fact, a “Bob Villa” episode done on a beach front remodel left one wall standing after the teardown. Had the fourth wall been ripped down, it would have to conform to new beach setback requirements for new construction.
Here in NYC, I have to get a zoning variance if the remodeling changed the outside facade of the building. For instance, I replace a door flanked by two small windows with a set of large sliding glass doors. I had to rip the bricks below the window to the ground to do this, changing the facade.
I didn’t realize this till long after the remodeling, but on the sale of the property, they concentrated more on the floorplans than the do on the blueprints, and the change was not noticed. Otherwise, I would have to get approvals, file plans and permits after the fact, plus pay a fine.
Also, remodeling such as what I did in neighboring towns would also involve additional tax assessments. A freind of mine had a hole cut below the window to install a thru the wall air conditioner got a notice from the town that he didn’t get the proper approvals, PLUS got his taxes increased for the improvement.