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Old 01-26-2019, 09:55 AM   #1
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Pros/cons of building to property line


I'm considering an addition to my building that will run right up to the property line. The building is in a commercial core of the town and I've already confirmed with bldg. dept. and town planner that I'm permitted to do this. But is it advisable to do so? Should I expect extra costs and complications, compared to a building footprint that has a set-back? The addition will require a minimum 4'ft deep foundation and will be 2 storeys high in about 1/3 of the structure and 1 storey for the remaining.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:02 AM   #2
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Re: Pros/cons of building to property line


What's on the next lot?
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:15 AM   #3
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Re: Pros/cons of building to property line


Neighbor is the building owner who runs a business there, but they live elsewhere. Above is a rented apartment to a small family. Their back yard is essentially a driveway, used by the tenant. Our structure will be beside their backyard/driveway
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:28 AM   #4
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Re: Pros/cons of building to property line


How will you build without access to the neighbor's property?

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Old 01-26-2019, 11:29 AM   #5
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Re: Pros/cons of building to property line


Clearly one has to reach an agreement with the neighboring property owners. That's one of the complications I'm worried about.
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:32 AM   #6
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Re: Pros/cons of building to property line


Quote:
Our structure will be beside their backyard/driveway
Since they probably will leave the driveway in tact, it should be okay. However, if you're friendly with the neighbor, you might want to tell him your plans.
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:36 AM   #7
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Re: Pros/cons of building to property line


We dig 5 ft past the building foot print to work on footing and foundation. I guess you could do less if the dirt is stable and you are doing a block wall from your side.
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:40 AM   #8
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Re: Pros/cons of building to property line


The work you do on the side facing the driveway, ie. foundation, block, monolith, siding, windows, etc. will have to be done from the driveway. That will block it from the neighbor's use while construction is being done. No way out of it. If they use the driveway, you will have problems. It is always advisable to do a set back if for no other reason than to allow you to work on your own property.
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:41 AM   #9
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Re: Pros/cons of building to property line


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Hellier View Post
Clearly one has to reach an agreement with the neighboring property owners. That's one of the complications I'm worried about.

Exactly.


Not only for the initial build, but in the future. Five years from now, you may need to do some service or maintenance and your friendly neighbor is by then long gone and joining property is then owned by somebody not so friendly.
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:57 AM   #10
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Re: Pros/cons of building to property line


Maybe different codes than my area, but the Fire department has codes stating that you are to leave a wide enough access for them to drive a Truck between your buildings and the property line, for access to extinguish a structure fire.

I would be checking with your FD, as well.

And if there is a fire, buildings too close together tend to ignite each other, are you sure that you want to be that close to the neighbors.

I know that buildings in a commercial zone are stacked on top of each other, share a community wall, and all, but always wonder about the fire dangers.



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Old 01-26-2019, 11:58 AM   #11
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Re: Pros/cons of building to property line


Quote:
Originally Posted by SPS-1 View Post
Exactly.


Not only for the initial build, but in the future. Five years from now, you may need to do some service or maintenance and your friendly neighbor is by then long gone and joining property is then owned by somebody not so friendly.
When they are on the line there is a protocol of notice and care but service and repairs can be done. The city will have rules for that.
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Old 01-26-2019, 12:43 PM   #12
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Re: Pros/cons of building to property line


Thanks everyone for your valuable comments. Any other thoughts are appreciated but I'm starting to draw conclusions that it may be best to include a setback even if we are legally able to build to lot line.
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Old 01-26-2019, 12:47 PM   #13
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Re: Pros/cons of building to property line


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Hellier View Post
Thanks everyone for your valuable comments. Any other thoughts are appreciated but I'm starting to draw conclusions that it may be best to include a setback even if we are legally able to build to lot line.
I would talk to the city about what ever problems they see with it.
There will be an ordinance officer that deals with complaints.
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Old 01-26-2019, 01:04 PM   #14
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Re: Pros/cons of building to property line


Worst case, neighbor gets hurt. Dropped nail, example. Any lead in the paint, asbestos in the siding? Owners can negotiate but not with the tenant. Tenant is a wild card. I'd get a lawyer first and start by building a legal wall around you first. Paper by paper. Talk to your house insurance company and ask what it can do for you.

Neighbor's property, maybe including tenant's, may have to be repaired/restored. Nothing that money can't solve, but all of this means higher cost for you.
BTW, does it have a basement? If not, the whole thing can be built on footings and columns. Less to clean up later.
Another wild card is the contractor. Make certain the law/liability/insurance works for you.


Another is buried utility. Example is my lot which was expanded some decades ago when a street was closed. Recent electric company work "discovered" buried gas lines going through this "street". The construction company stopped all work and spent better part of 2 days making sure they weren't going to hit the gas lines. Entire through street, which is usually busy, was closed for weeks for the entire work. As the property owner, you are responsible to the last bitter end.

Last edited by carpdad; 01-26-2019 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 01-26-2019, 06:44 PM   #15
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Re: Pros/cons of building to property line


A little story:

Our neighbors, at some point before we even bought our place, built half of their loop driveway on our property and did their back yard to "match" the incorrect driveway (they're around 15 feet over their line.) Their leach field was put in right up against "their property line" (part of it is legally on our property) so when they had it replaced they had to dig up "our" land - all the contractors they had were calling us for legal written permission. Slightly annoying.

On a less "friendly neighbor" note, my husband did once threaten to report their illegal build because their dog, who they let run loose, had come way over into our back yard and attacked ours - who was on her overhead dog run chain and couldn't get away. We're normally pretty laid back, and we tried many times to work things out, but we basically forced the neighbors to get rid of that dog (was a rescued adult male pit bull) because it came over here many times after that incident and then growled and raised its hackles at the boys when they were playing in the back yard and we'd had enough. Told them they had three choices 1. put it on a chain permanently, 2. get rid of it, or 3. we could go to court and they could dig up their illegal leach field again. They chose option 2. We're nice people, but there are certain things we are 100% shameless about "pulling rank" on.

Moral of the story - leave a setback because you just don't know what'll happen down the line - no matter how nice your neighbors are.
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