UDO Day 6: Residential infill

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CORRECTION APPENDED: The maximum height limit in residential districts is 40 feet.

Lot sizes in residential districts are getting smaller, so that means there will be more options to chop up lots and put in more homes. The new zoning code has a set of recommendations for residential infill compatibility in R-4 and R-6 zoning districts, meaning four or six units per acre. Check out page 10 of Chapter 2 to read them for yourself.

The new standards apply to lots of five acres or less and at least half of the side or rear property lines abut an existing house.

From the new code: “These standards are intended to encourage reinvestment in existing neighborhoods and reinforce the traditional character of established residential neighborhoods.”

For setbacks, the new code basically says that the infill project has to conform to the surrounding homes for how far it is from the street. Setback standards are set by looking at the four surrounding lots.

Building height can be calculated in two ways. The code sets a “height plane” that starts at the property line and goes up one foot for each foot from the side property line. The starting height is either 15 feet or the average height of the walls of the two neighboring houses, whichever is greater. So, for example, if you have a lot that is 50 feet wide and your neighbor has 10-foot walls, you can build a roof with a maximum height of 35 feet.

Residential districts have a 40-foot height limit across the board.

There are, of course, exceptions to the height rule. Side-gabled roofs and dormer windows can go above the height limit. Side-gabled roofs can go 30 feet above the height plan and dormers can go 15 above.



Cottage courts

In bigger residential districts, such as those allowing 10 units per acre and mixed-use districts, the new code has a section on what are called cottage courts. This is a property where several smaller houses surround a courtyard.

From the new code: “The cottage court limits the scale of each house, providing an opportu­nity for more affordable units. The central court enhances the character of the area through the provision of consolidated open space. Cottage courts are built on infill sites in established residential neighborhoods or in new neighborhoods. Residents may share common facilities such as open space, parking and storage areas.”

The max building footprint is 1,000 square feet for each house and the minimum shared open space is 3,000 square feet.

An example of a cottage court.


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