• Welcome to AppraisersForum.com, the premier online  community for the discussion of real estate appraisal. Register a free account to be able to post and unlock additional forums and features.

Legal Nonconforming Zoning

Fernando

Thread Starter
Elite Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Around here, zoning has changed from 50 years ago so many older homes don't follow current zoning.
CA has housing problems and I believe more restrictive zoning has made new construction a main problem in the housing shortage but that's another story.

Lender then asks me since subject is legal nonconforming, can subject be rebuilt if burnt down?
Before when I was young, I use to say yes.

Now considering liability issues, I can't say yes because applying for a variance and getting approved is out of my control.
If I was the owner, I'll fight as hard to get my burnt building to be built at least same footprint as before.
Other owners who are less aggressive may not be as determined as me in fighting tooth and nail in getting variance approved.
Thus, I can't definitively give a yes answer to such a subjective issue.
 

Mark K

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Indiana
This is on the owner. They need to get a letter from the municipality saying yes or no. Beyond the scope of the appraisal.

If that doesn't satisfy your client, send them the zoning ordinance and have them decide for themselves.

OTOH, I have spent the time getting the letter but charged an additional hourly fee for the effort. However in some cases, the zoning Nazis have said that you'd have to apply for a variance to get your answer.
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
I would tell them a rebuild letter is above my pay grade, go find someone else to do it.
 

alebrewer

Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2008
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
Generally, rebuild provisions are layed out in the zoning ordinance. For instance, in my market (depending on what zoning district the property is in), if it's destroyed less than 60%, and is rebuilt within 2 years, it can be rebuilt to the non-conforming use without applying for a new variance if it's rebuilt on the same footprint. Each municipality is different, though.
 

Fernando

Thread Starter
Elite Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Generally, rebuild provisions are layed out in the zoning ordinance. For instance, in my market (depending on what zoning district the property is in), if it's destroyed less than 60%, and is rebuilt within 2 years, it can be rebuilt to the non-conforming use without applying for a new variance if it's rebuilt on the same footprint. Each municipality is different, though.
In my area, I hardly see in their ordinance an address to what can be done after an older building is burnt down.
It allows the planning department and any complaining neighbors to put a stop to what you can build. There's no 100% certainty.

In San Jose, a large lot was going to be built for an Amazon warehouse.
The city proudly with press conference fanfare announced that zoning will be changed so nothing can be built leaving it open space for the fortunate who leaves nearby to enjoy.
I see this time and again. Zoning changes to prevent new construction to slow down "growth".
I understand because near my town, I don't want construction of this large apartment project. NIMBY is prevalent in areas where people want to live.
 

CGinMN

Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 20, 2011
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Minnesota
If it's not clear cut what the reasonably probable determination will be, I do not provide any. I will include the relevant portion of the ordinance as an addendum and tell the client to make their own determination.
 

Fernando

Thread Starter
Elite Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
If it's not clear cut what the reasonably probable determination will be, I do not provide any. I will include the relevant portion of the ordinance as an addendum and tell the client to make their own determination.
Yes, I told it as it is and client accepted the remarks.
I thought there would be a problem and the deal would fall through. In that case, I'll buy the property.
 

Dublin ohio

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2008
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Ohio
Around here, zoning has changed from 50 years ago so many older homes don't follow current zoning.
CA has housing problems and I believe more restrictive zoning has made new construction a main problem in the housing shortage but that's another story.

Lender then asks me since subject is legal nonconforming, can subject be rebuilt if burnt down?
Before when I was young, I use to say yes.

Now considering liability issues, I can't say yes because applying for a variance and getting approved is out of my control.
If I was the owner, I'll fight as hard to get my burnt building to be built at least same footprint as before.
Other owners who are less aggressive may not be as determined as me in fighting tooth and nail in getting variance approved.
Thus, I can't definitively give a yes answer to such a subjective issue.
Unless you are very familiar with zoning code. Do not assume a variance is needed to rebuild to same footprint. Around here there is a difference between non conforming site, non conforming use and non conforming structure
 

Fernando

Thread Starter
Elite Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
If a building is burnt down and if I had a good attorney if needed and given current housing shortage environment, most likely I can have it rebuilt to at least same "footprint".
The planning department made it unclear on this issue so they have the sole power to play God.
The old zoning allowed more homes to be built especially with smaller lots. Now the minimum lot size has doubled and with few vacant lots, the new ordinances made the housing situation worse in the "desirable" parts of CA.
 

techbiker

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2015
Professional Status
General Public
State
Texas
If a building is burnt down and if I had a good attorney if needed and given current housing shortage environment, most likely I can have it rebuilt to at least same "footprint".
The planning department made it unclear on this issue so they have the sole power to play God.
The old zoning allowed more homes to be built especially with smaller lots. Now the minimum lot size has doubled and with few vacant lots, the new ordinances made the housing situation worse in the "desirable" parts of CA.
I wouldn't assume that a burnt-down structure could be rebuilt to the same footprint. Read the ordinance. In some Texas cities this would be difficult or impossible, regardless of the attorney you hire. Get your neighbors together and petition for a neighborhood rezone.
 
Find a Real Estate Appraiser - Enter Zip Code

Copyright © 2000-, AppraisersForum.com, All Rights Reserved
AppraisersForum.com is proudly hosted by the folks at
AppraiserSites.com
Top

AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock
No Thanks