UPDATE 12/5: Supervisors Approve End to Irregularly-Shaped Lots For Homes?

Updated 12/5

From today's Metro section:

Supervisors Approve Rules on Lot Shapes

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors yesterday unanimously approved rules to keep property owners and developers from using highly contorted lot lines to carve out as many homes as possible in infill subdivisions.

As builders seek to squeeze more homes into already developed areas of the county, officials say they are hearing complaints that highly creative lot shapes designed to meet county rules for septic systems and road frontage are causing confusion among residents and making it difficult for them to maximize use of their property.

In some neighborhoods, an area that one might assume to be the back yard of one house is actually the septic area of another house, or what looks like the front yard of one house is actually a strip running from another home to provide required road frontage. Under the new rules, lots must conform to a minimum "shape factor" -- a formula based on the perimeter and area of a lot to enforce more regular shapes.

County staff say that only about 8 percent of 625 new homes approved in infill areas in the past three years would have been barred under the new rule, and an additional 6 percent would have fallen under a gray area where property owners can appeal for an exception.

-- Alec MacGillis

Originally posted 11/15
County officials said the action would help ease confusion about property lines, but builders say it would lead to more sprawl. The story is in today's Metro section.

By Focus on Fairfax |  December 5, 2006; 10:04 AM ET  | Category:  Development, Growth , Government , Housing
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