1 unit/1500sf of lot area. 2,900 sf lot. Does 1.9 = 1 or 2 units?

12 Replies

Never had the opportunity to build, just yet, but I have always been curious.

If zoning states 1 unit allowed for every 1500sf of lot area and the lot just shy of the next full unit, lets say a 2900 sf lot, will the city still allow it for 2 units or does 1.9 mean you are only allowed 1 unit still?

Or are there other calculations/factors in play here, like difference afters setbacks are subtracted, how lenient the city planner is, etc.)?

Thank you!

Probably many differences in different cities. 

For example, in Atlanta, I have a triple lot with 117 ft. road frontage. Zoning requires a lot to have 40' road frontage - I was 3' short. It was suggested to me to try to buy 3' from the neighbor. When the market crashed I bought the property next door (and the one on the other side, and one backing up to it as well - lol)

So, see if there're 100sqf that you could get from a neighbor

On "close" calls like that, in my experience, highly depends in the municipality you are dealing with.  Some are absolute sticklers,,,, and would require you to go through a probable lengthy variance request  process,,,,,,,,,,  some would say, "that's close enough for gov work!",,, and not even bat an eye at this close of call..... 

And @Michaela G. - you and I think much alike!!  LOL 

Originally posted by @Michaela G. :

Probably many differences in different cities. 

For example, in Atlanta, I have a triple lot with 117 ft. road frontage. Zoning requires a lot to have 40' road frontage - I was 3' short. It was suggested to me to try to buy 3' from the neighbor. When the market crashed I bought the property next door (and the one on the other side, and one backing up to it as well - lol)

So, see if there're 100sqf that you could get from a neighbor

 That is phenomenal! 

@Rami W. I believe city of San Diego does not round up. I am dealing with the same thing with city of Escondido right now - 9.85 units means 9 units, not 10 unfortunately. In this case it affects value by about $200,000.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Application for variance around here costs non refundable ~$6k.. takes 2 months.

They have an incentive to approve because of additional permit and later tax revenue.. 2 units make them more money than 1.

Being polite helps around here.

@Rami W.  I've developed multiple properties in various zones within the City of San Diego.  And, I can tell you definitively that the number of units is rounded to nearest whole number in the city.  So, in your example, 2 units would be permitable.

Note there are many other reasons that, in practice, you may not actually be able to construct that many dwelling units - the most common of those reasons is parking requirements.  Developing is a high-stakes game, ripe for mistakes and losses ... I was lucky enough to make my first mistakes during a rising market that rescued me.  If you're considering a deal and have questions, feel free to shoot me a message and I'll share whatever I know.

@Rami W. it is definitely 2.  @Matt C. Escondido and City of San Diego are two different jurisdictions w/ different zoning codes.

Biggest factor to look for besides # of dwelling units is the floor area allowed & parking requirements.  In some San Diego zones a garage is considered floor area (further limiting livable space) and in others its excluded from it.  Parking requirements vary by zone as well.  It's always a good idea to take your property address down to Development Services and ask questions.

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