Spin-off, Surveyiing Land Nightmare

Old 08-16-05, 05:37 AM
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Angry Spin-off, Surveyiing Land Nightmare

Hello Everyone,
I have been lurking for awhile and just wanted to get some advice on a prospect piece of land I plan on buying.
The market in my area (Washington D.C.) is CUH-RAZY as some as you may know! Buildable lots, that have water and sewer, are going for 75,000+ The best thing I could find that is somewhat reasonable and a nice neighborhood is this lot that is lacking 800 sqft needed to obtain a building permit. The owner of the neighboring lot just recently agreed to sell us 1000 sqft so we can meet the building permit requirements, YAY
But this is where the migranes start:
-We are having a hard time finding engineers that do lot line adjustments because I have been told that they are tedious
-Ugh, Come to find out that the lot is somewhat land locked. Apparently the county planned on puttig a bike trail in front of the lot but it never happened, but anyway the lot is 50 ft back from the street line. The park and planning lady we talked told me that we would have to apply for an easement or utilize the alley that was planned to be behind our lot. Yeah there is suppose to be a alley behind the lot but there is nothing but woods there because you guessed it, the county never got around to building it. So since we are not at the end of the street our only reasonable option is to use that portion of the neighbors lot to build a driveway.
Heres my lil drawing if you are confused like me, lol


-Yeah the neighbor is asking for an somewhat outrageous amt but he is our only option since the county owns the the other neighboring lot. We contacted them but ugh, it will probably take a good 2 years for them to research the land and declare it surplus.
-Do you think its worth it?? all in all we expect to be saving a lot
Old 08-17-05, 08:30 AM
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here in calif. it is now illegal to landlock parcels when subdividing. One way to gain access is an easement through the county property at the front of your property. Call and ask what this might cost or even if they are open to it.

Here if there is open and notorious use of someone elses property to access yours you can apply for a presciptive easement. open and notorious means that even though you do not have permission you use the access in plain view. If the owners either deny you access or give you permission prior to the end of the 5 years you cannot gain a prescriptive easement.

If neither of these applies or will work a new access road to the rear of the property on a unbuilt easement for an alley would be a little pricey. Because of this alley you technically are not land locked. Your access is just installed.

With regards to a lot line adjustment, it is a very easy process. It does however require a full survey and staking of the lot which can again be a bit pricey.

If property is as expensive as you say, you are trading time and headache for money. Only you can determine if it is reasonable. If the cost of the property next door, the survey, lot line adjustment and a new road is less than a lot ready to build then it is your sweat equity in the lot.

Construction costs real time and money. Some are meant to just buy existing homes and customize a little bit as time and money allows, others take a much greater risk and build custom. It takes a real toll on you to build brand new, as it is the most decisions you will ever make in your life at one time. You have to be flexible and able to make decisions in a timely fashion. If these little obstacles now are making you crazy what will happen when it comes to windows, doors, cabinets, electrical, plumbing, sizes, colors, prices etc... changes, change orders, architects, engineers, plan checkers, building inspecdtors and on and on.

I hope this helps.

Brian Garrison
General Contractor/Professional Building Designer
Old 08-17-05, 10:10 AM
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determine who is going to grant you the easement. also determine who is going to let you use the alley.

then talk to them about the reality of it, see if they are ammenable to the idea. Do you have to talk to a zoning or planning board? Often, you can approach such boards with your ideas, before you buy the land. They can grant permission before you buy, that way you haven't risked the big bucks.

I'd get permission to access the site before you buy either of the two sites. You will also need to get permission to join you two lots (and probably split off part of the neighbors lot).

Oh, and you MIGHT also get permission to use the lot, even though it is 800 sf too small. This has been known to happen! esp. since you have 50 feet in front which won't be built on. That way, you don't have to buy anything from the neighbor. I'd talk to the city (planning and zoning) before you buy anything from the neighbor.

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