Lot Splitting

2 Replies


Land, house constructed 1800's, no zoning requirements, never held in common ownership.  Fast forward 2015.  Enough land to keep house and make a conforming developable property.

Question is once you split a property, do both lots HAVE to conform to existing requirements or does the land the house sit on more flexible based on the year it was established.

Can anyone offer insight? Any massachusetts friends :)

keywords: mass, ma, land

Both lots will have to conform to current requirements. Make sure you look for hidden issues. An example: I obtained preliminary approval to split a lot but the City would not grant final approval until the existing house was removed. After removing the house the City demanded that I complete a stretch of sewer to the front of the lots (there was a gap of 3 houses in the sewer line--3 houses have working septic fields and the sewer was never built) before they would give final approval. This was never mentioned during the preliminary procedures. The house I removed was connected to the sewer through a manhole at the rear of the property. The County drain commissioner had no issues with me connecting the new construction in the same manner. He even contacted the City engineer to help resolve the issue to no avail. This added considerably to the cost of the project and 5 years later I have not completed the lot split. 

Right now you have a conforming situation. Say the current lot size must be 10,000 sq ft and the house now sits on 19,000 sq ft. This is a situation where you can't split the lot. 

Not without asking for a variance, which may be tough to get. Whether you wanted to produce an empty 9K lot or 10K, you still will have to face the zoning issue. Leaving the house sit on 9,000 sq ft if allowed, would at least give you the salable parcel with no issues. 

This is a made up example. 

When I bought my recent 3 unit building, there were two parcels, a house on a tiny, non-conforming lot, and a 10,500 sq ft parcel abutting. I can build when ready, only because these lots were never combined. I have two deeds and can build or sell the good parcel, killing the house's parking and yard, if I did so.