So you are contemplating a home improvement project at your property, maybe an addition to the house to accommodate your growing family, a detached garage to store your equipment, a pool for the kids, or hardscaping to increase your outdoor living area. All great projects to enhance the enjoyment of your property, but do you have the room. The Municipal Zoning Requirements for your individual Zoning District establish what improvements can be constructed in your area. Two factors that are typically regulated are Building Coverage and Lot / Impervious Coverage.
That’s easy, you say: “I have a one acre lot”. Not so fast. Every municipality has its own definition of Lot Area as it applies to zoning, which must be considered when determining existing and proposed Building Coverage and Lot / Impervious Coverage. Some municipalities’ definitions are rather simplistic, “The horizontal area of land contained within the property lines bounding the lot, excluding any portions thereof within a street right-of-way”. Others are more complex and require excluding all or some percentage of features such as: areas used for utilities (gas, water, oil, electric, communications) that do not serve the lot; permanent drainage easements; steep and very steep slopes; Flood Hazard District areas; wetlands; portions of the lot which are less than 50 feet wide; alleys, lanes, streets, railroad or utility transmission line easements or rights-of-way; areas owned and/or used in common with the owners or occupiers of other lots.
As you can see it may not be as easy to determine if that new improvement to your lot might be allowed per zoning, without some additional information. An accurate survey, tailored to depict the items required by your municipality in order to calculate “Lot Area” can be a valuable tool. For example, a plan that would quantify the necessary areas and allow for the accurate determination of “Lot Area” as per the code in your municipality could include: a topographic survey and slope study to delineate the area of steep and very steep slopes; a wetlands delineation and surveyed location of wetlands flags to determine the extent of wetlands; a title report review and plotting of recorded utility or access easements to identify rights of others.
We at Howell Kline Surveying, LLC and D.L. Howell, Inc. Civil Engineering and Land Planning can help answer these and other important questions relating to your up-coming project. Please give us a call.