Control of the dimensions of subdivision lots is not limited to subdivision rules. Country and county codes can often be used to set standards for lot sizes. In New York State, Section 89 of Chapter 5 of the Public Health Act requires that before dividing residential land by ten or more families, land in the area showing proposed methods of water supply and sanitation must be approved by the Commissioner of Health. Registration and registration of subdivision maps or plaques is only permitted with the consent of the health worker. In Westchester County, New York, a similar procedure must be followed, even if the subdivision consists of fewer than ten lots. Section 9 of the Westchester County Department of Health Health Code prescribes minimum lot size requirements in subdivisions where public water and sewer systems are not feasible. The Code requires a developer to submit the proposed subdivision platform to the Commissioner of Health for approval of proposed water, sanitation and drainage methods. This permit must be obtained before the land is submitted to the local planning commission. Where water supply and sanitation services are to be provided by connecting to public and public networks, the required permit may be indicated without a formal request. However, if individual facilities are required, the formal procedure must be followed. That‘s not to say that Boulder and California‘s major cities face the same affordability challenges, or that changing the minimum plot size alone can alleviate the housing crisis. Rather, the most important point is that a seemingly minor provision – hidden in new rules motivated by the same goal of expanding housing options – could nevertheless lead to different outcomes. The legal bases for the minimum size regulations differ, as do the types of regulations.
We will look at the variety of minimum requirements that have been set – from those based almost entirely on sanitary standards to those based more on amenities and property values. These requirements are found in building codes, minimum housing regulations and zoning ordinances. In general, the smaller minima are found in minimum housing regulations and most building codes, while the larger minima are found in zoning ordinances. Meridian Township, Michigan provides for a minimum number of square feet as follows: District A, 900 square feet on the ground floor; District B, 720 square meters on the ground floor, and; District C, 480 square meters on the ground floor. In Miami, Florida, a minimum building size sliding scale has been in place for many years. Minimums range from 2,100 square feet to 3,500 square feet in the smallest areas. A proposed zoning ordinance of 1949 for Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, proposes the following cubic foot minimums: Homes that wish to expand the outdoor space must have an area of at least 900 square feet. The reason for this is that the house needs enough free space on the four surrounding sides.
Recently, a number of cities have adopted minimum housing bylaws that set maintenance and occupancy standards for existing housing. Most of them set standards for the minimum size of living rooms, as well as for floor area and cubic space in rooms used for sleeping. Others go further and specify minima for a variety of rooms and bedroom combinations. With the package data in hand, we then compared the actual size of each individual package with its legally required minimum size. What we were looking for was an unusual concentration of lots that were exactly or very close to the legal minimum. Joint storage required for properties under 8,000 square feet by Classification and Drainage Order The scope and scope of police power is constantly being reassessed by the courts, and the line between “appropriate” and “fragile” exercise is shifting. There are few areas in the zoning where this line is as dangerous and subject to change as in the area of minimum parcel and building size requirements. This bulletin will trace both the evolution of precedents and the nature and extent of these by-laws in municipal ordinances.