How to split a lot on a property?

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I have a rental property I purchased a few years ago. It currently sits on 3/4 an acre in Madison, WI. It is the largest lot on the block and double the size of the other properties on the block.

Currently, the property is valued at about 140,000. It is only 700 sq ft, 2 bed, 1 bath. I called the zoning department and inquired about splitting the lot. They said it is 6 feet short on the side (the length is more then deep enough) of the requirements to split the lot. The house sits on the front right corner of the lot, so there is enough room for another house. However, their are other properties in the same area that are the same size, some actually smaller then the proposed new lot would be.

I have heard some people people able to go to one of the city boards and propose the lot split, benefits, etc... I have also heard of people getting an attorney or developer to assist in the split and offering them a % if they are able to do it.

Has anyone had any experience with this or offer any suggestions?

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isobro said: I have heard some people people able to go to one of the city boards and propose the lot split, benefits, etc... I have also heard of people getting an attorney or developer to assist in the split and offering them a % if they are able to do it.

Has anyone had any experience with this or offer any suggestions?
Yes. It can be a very expensive and drawn out process, although that is certainly not always the case. I'd recommend calling the zoning board or whatever the governing authority in your area is called, talk to the clerk and get some names of attorneys that have worked with their office before. You want someone who knows the process and has experience with the people and process in your area. Then you can set up a consultation or two to see what you might be in for.

One way to get a lot broke down in most states is by using grandfather laws and laws for relatives.
Basically it's putting a home on a section and then deeding it to a son, daughter, mother, whoever. Then after it's deeded, they can do whatever they want with it. Like sell it or give it back to you.

you'll need to go before the zoning board and request a variance. there's going to be some paperwork involved so i'd speak with an attorney that is knowledgable in the subject

what it sounds like you are looking for is called a variance.

Sometimes they are easily obtained, sometimes its next to impossible.

Squeezer99 said: you'll need to go before the zoning board and request a variance. there's going to be some paperwork involved so i'd speak with an attorney that is knowledgable in the subjecthehe, looks like we posted at the same time, great minds think alike

It all depend on the local regulation and culture of the city/county. First, the zoning has to allow the size of the lots you intended. Second, the future lots needs to meet access requirement. Actually, there's a lot more depend on your area but I'm just listing the top two.

In some case, even if the lot don't meet the requirement you can ask for a variance. It all depends on the locality involved, in some place it's mostly a DIY process but in some you need the help of an attoney. Most likely you will also need to hire a surveyor.

Squeezer99 said: you'll need to go before the zoning board and request a variance. there's going to be some paperwork involved so i'd speak with an attorney that is knowledgable in the subject

Just out of curiosity, if one attempted it DIY style and gets rejected, does that hurt the chances of an Attorney attempting it again after a brief waiting period such as year or so?

Other than lost time, I can't imagine the repercusions of attempting it DIY style are significant.

in LA you're looking at 1-2 years for that type of variance... or at least 1-2 years for them to finally tell you to go F yourself.

Double post.

gatzdon said: Squeezer99 said: you'll need to go before the zoning board and request a variance. there's going to be some paperwork involved so i'd speak with an attorney that is knowledgable in the subject

Just out of curiosity, if one attempted it DIY style and gets rejected, does that hurt the chances of an Attorney attempting it again after a brief waiting period such as year or so?

Other than lost time, I can't imagine the repercusions of attempting it DIY style are significant.



My take is that once a variance is voted down you are likely out of luck unless you can bring back a different (i.e. a changed setback, square footage, or zoning category, etc.) request. So you really want to give it your best shot the first time.

You may or may not need a lawyer. I think your best bet is to talk to the city building officials and see what they say about your chance for a variance. Go to a few variance meetings or watch some on your local public access channel and see what reasons seem to work/not work for variances. Be sure to talk to your neighbors and get their support for your plans before you submit any request.

Then again I don't live in your area and local politics and policies can certainly vary from location to location.

gatzdon said: Squeezer99 said: you'll need to go before the zoning board and request a variance. there's going to be some paperwork involved so i'd speak with an attorney that is knowledgable in the subject

Just out of curiosity, if one attempted it DIY style and gets rejected, does that hurt the chances of an Attorney attempting it again after a brief waiting period such as year or so?

Other than lost time, I can't imagine the repercusions of attempting it DIY style are significant.
the architect is going to be the go-to guy on this, not the attorney. it's the architect that is going to show them a plan and has been through the process on a regular basis.

The Zoning Board of Adjustments is the place to seek your variance. Having all of your ducks in a row is important.

Some cities have a waiting period of up to 1 year before you are allowed to try again if you get denied the first time.

nu2this said: The Zoning Board of Adjustments is the place to seek your variance. Having all of your ducks in a row is important.

Some cities have a waiting period of up to 1 year before you are allowed to try again if you get denied the first time.
it all depends on your city. in some cities where I do business, you have to go before the city council or the planning council. in Los Angeles, for example, you have to get the planning dept. to sign off on it [after fire, structural, etc.] and then if you have the misfortune of being in a Redevelopment Zone, you have to deal with the CRA who are the real ballbreakers... unless you're a generous donor to the mayor then your projects get waved right through.

I'm basically echoing much of what has already been said. I live in Chicago and here something like this would go to the Zoning Administrator for an administrative adjustment (used to be called variance). If you fail there you can take your case to the Zoning Board of Appeals who has the authority to overturn the Zoning Administrator.

Not sure how they do things in Madison but I'd bet you can find out much of it on their government websites.

I'd advise you to talk with the local elected official as well (city council person or the like). Here in Chicago if you have the support of the local elected official you'll get your project thru the appeal process, it takes more time but it will get done. Again no idea how it works in Madison.

ArborLoco hit it on the head about finding an architect. They can guide you through the process of talking to the city council member, finding a surveyor to prepare a certified survey map, and properly applying for the variance. You must be able to demonstrate not only that the ordinance has caused you some sort of hardship, but also that the proposal stays within the spirit of the law and is of some benefit to the community. It may cost you a bit of money, but it is an architect's job to make this process as smooth as possible.

If you want to do a bit of your own research, the Madison zoning ordinance can be downloaded below.

http://www.cityofmadison.com/BI/zoning.html#plan

Best of luck,
MN

No personal experience with this, but I'd be willing to bet that some prepaid legal plans could provide attourneys knowledgable about this, since a lot of prepaid legal plans counsel on Real Estate (mortgage, title, etc) and estate planning. Good luck.



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