Hampton easing substandard lot rules

Daily Press (Newport News, VA), 2014-08-27


Aug. 27 --As the housing market begins the slow bounce back from the Great Recession, Hampton city planners are guiding a series of ordinances through City Hall that would ease rules property owners must follow to build homes on otherwise substandard lots.

Lots divided over time -- many of which exist in older and historic neighborhoods -- may not meet the minimum requirements of zoning districts created within the past 60 years, leaving the substandard lots all but useless to developers.

The city is now pushing along a series of ordinances that, if approved by the City Council , would open those parcels up to new development while guiding the size, location and dimensions of any new homes built on those properties.

The housing regulations would guide setbacks, building heights, minimum amount of green area and location of accessory structures, such as sheds.

If approved, the rules would be applied to specific residential zoning districts -- R-8, R-9, R-11, and R-13 -- and apply only to single-family homes.

Hampton now has a special public interest district that targets in-fill housing built with in the "Greater Wythe Planning Area." Those rules would be expanded to those residential zoning districts.

The Hampton Planning Commission unanimously agreed Aug. 7 to recommend the ordinances to the City Council , which could act on the proposal as early as September.

The changes would be good news for Melissa Wilmer , of Lynch Station, Va. , who owns a vacant lot in Hampton that is too small for a new home based on the existing zoning ordinance.

Wilmer bought a home in 2010 with a vacant lot next to it. She recently sold the house and has been unable to unload the vacant parcel because of its substandard size.

"There are houses on that street that are on the same size lot or bigger than the house I was living in," said Wilmer to commissioners are the Aug. 7 meeting. "I never would have bought the lot if I had known the zoning on it."

Information for builders in Hampton about new construction, improvements and additions to existing structures can be found at http://bit.ly/hptinfill .

Brauchle can be reached by phone at 757-247-2827 or rbrauchle@dailypress.com . Follow him on Twitter, @dp_brauchle and on Facebook, facebook.com/hamptonnews .

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