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Building Your Home. Part One:City and Subdivision Lots06 Jul

When you buy a lot in the city, most of the decisions on locating your home have been decided by the developer, the subdivision covenants, and the city land use regulations. Read all these documents carefully before you purchase a lot to make sure if it will accommodate the house you plan to build. The style of house, building height, location on the lot, garage location, even colors and trim may be dictated by these documents. A careful read and a good look at what has already been built in the neighborhood will teach you a lot, but it still might be a wise idea to talk to the other residents to get an idea of how things really work for new builders in the neighborhood.

For example, is there an active homeowners association that has a committee to check and approve new building plans, paint colors, style of house, house size, garage location and other building requirements? If there is an active building committee, it would be wise to speak to the head of the committee to ask some questions. Is there a set of building guidelines that the committee puts out to describe their requirements? Does the committee require plans by an architect or engineer? How detailed must your building plans be? Are only specific styles or house sizes allowed? Are there separate restrictions on the size or location of the garage? These design requirements can be extensive particularly in a newer subdivision that is still being built out.

The next visit you’ll need to make is to the city building department to see what your local regulations require. Normally there are setback requirements for the house and garage, and often size limitations. For example, in the City of Boulder, new city regulations dictate the ratio of house size to lot size so the size of your house may be limited by the type of lot you purchase. Also, the floor plan could be restricted not allowing long straight exterior walls. Furthermore, the shadow your house will produce also has restrictions and must be analyzed to make sure that your new house does not shade your neighbor’s current or future solar installation. In Boulder, your house must also pass the Green Points Test for energy efficiency, and certain house designs could prove more difficult to build to these energy efficient requirements. It is, therefore, very important to find out what both your subdivision and your city require before you finalize both your house plans,and which lot to buy where, long before you turn over that first shovelful of dirt.

One Response to “Building Your Home. Part One:City and Subdivision Lots”

  1. Amy Michelle Diaper Bags

    This was absoultely helpful, I appreciate it

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Bill@WilkinsonEngineering.com

Phone: 303-499-6755 Fax: 720-524-8624