Setbacks, Easements and Density Restrictions… Oh My

peri urban residential resized 600Getting control of a piece of land for development is a big first step. However, just because you have the land and you have a vision for the building you want to construct doesn’t mean that you can always put the two together. What you’re going to be able to build — and where you built it — will get determined by what comes up on your survey.

The Importance of Boundaries

Your site’s boundaries determine both where you can build the property relative to the site and how big it can be. The building’s size is a function of the size of your parcel and the allowed density for your zoning. For instance, if you want to build a 30 unit building on a 20 units per acre parcel, you need 1.5 acres. If the surveyor comes back and your lot measures exactly 170 feet wide and 400 feet deep, you have 68,000 square feet and might even be able to squeeze in an extra unit. If the parcel turns out to 165 by 395, you only have 1.496 acres and could end up having to delete a unit.

The boundaries also tell you where you can build, since many communities have setback restrictions. This means that you can’t build right to the edge of the parcel and, instead, might need to leave extra room.

Easements and Other Encroachments

Sometimes, when you buy a piece of land, other people have rights to it. For example, if the house behind you has an easement that lets them drive right through the middle of your property to get to the road, you might have to build two buildings, separated by an alley. An easement for drainage could mean that part of your parcel has to be left open for water to flow — and might not be able to support the weight of a building.

Surveyors help you find these issues so that you can adjust your construction plan accordingly. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you with your next project, contact us.