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Research information on non-conforming land


suki
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Hi First resource,

I have some questions...

1) Where can I find my (MA) city's records for:

a) All the existence of non-conforming land in this city (requires 10,000 sq ft ... the land I am looking at is 9030 sq ft)

B) The history of board of appeals records for such approval for variance and special permits without hardship involving non-conforming lands for permits

2) Are there any rules for to how the board runs?

3) Why do they have these special permits? What is the real purpose for these permits?

I need this to show how easy or how difficult it will be to submit this application to the board

4)Why did one neighbor opposition have more persuasion over six neighbors who voted for the building on a structured building (garage and driveway) that was already there? This neighbor is right next door to the land.

In back of the the land, another neighbor had permission to add on his property (less then 8,000 sq ft) this summer without opposition so it is obvious that the neighbor who oppossed this wants a part of this land, can he legally get away with this?

I guess I am trying to see how the council votes and what persuades them to approve such a building on a non-conforming lot.

The more information I get it gets cheaper for me when I have a lawyer to look this over.

One more thing... this application was applied and denied in December of 2001 from the owner who is trying to sell me this land, which is a bargain... but I don't want to spend thousand of dollars and then end up with his situation. Is there any hope or any resources out there to come up with some creative ideas?

Are there any solutions to this problem?

Thanks for any input you or anyone else may have!

Suki :D

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:roll:

Ahh ... you're in the People's Republic of Massachusetts. Umm how to get past zoning boards? Ummm? small unmarked bills in brown envelopes given to the zoning board members?

When there's remonstrators (that is one neighbor that complains) then the zoning boards generally take the one complainer's view and equal that to the view of all those who approved of the property in question.

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:roll:

Ahh ... you're in the People's Republic of Massachusetts. Umm how to get past zoning boards? Ummm? small unmarked bills in brown envelopes given to the zoning board members?

When there's remonstrators (that is one neighbor that complains) then the zoning boards generally take the one complainer's view and equal that to the view of all those who approved of the property in question.

I am deperately looking for help I have been searching since June 2005 for information...I got a feeling that this posting reply means it is not the right place to ask...? :roll:

PS I am in Massachusetts yes, but never heard "People's Republic of Massachusetts" does that mean you have labeled me ? :shock:

As for bribing...heh heh...an absolute no no in my book!

Come'on, there must be someone out there that can give some wise advice! hmm?

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:roll:

Ahh ... you're in the People's Republic of Massachusetts. Umm how to get past zoning boards? Ummm? small unmarked bills in brown envelopes given to the zoning board members?

When there's remonstrators (that is one neighbor that complains) then the zoning boards generally take the one complainer's view and equal that to the view of all those who approved of the property in question.

I am deperately looking for help I have been searching since June 2005 for information...I got a feeling that this posting reply means it is not the right place to ask...? :roll:

PS I am in Massachusetts yes, but never heard "People's Republic of Massachusetts" does that mean you have labeled me ? :shock:

As for bribing...heh heh...an absolute no no in my book!

Come'on, there must be someone out there that can give some wise advice! hmm?

Did you try talking to the opposing neighbor?? Sometimes that helps. Tell him what you want to do and how it will "help" you out. Unless their a real schmuck you have nothing to loose. Just my 2 cents not legal advise. Good luck, Howie

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:roll:

Ahh ... you're in the People's Republic of Massachusetts. Umm how to get past zoning boards? Ummm? small unmarked bills in brown envelopes given to the zoning board members?

When there's remonstrators (that is one neighbor that complains) then the zoning boards generally take the one complainer's view and equal that to the view of all those who approved of the property in question.

I am deperately looking for help I have been searching since June 2005 for information...I got a feeling that this posting reply means it is not the right place to ask...? :roll:

PS I am in Massachusetts yes, but never heard "People's Republic of Massachusetts" does that mean you have labeled me ? :shock:

As for bribing...heh heh...an absolute no no in my book!

Come'on, there must be someone out there that can give some wise advice! hmm?

In General, Massachusetts seems to be a "nanny state" or a state where everything must be approved by one board or another, hence why I refer to it as "The People's Republic", government controls everything, not a dig at anyone's ancestry. A bit of "Old World" attitude of "Unless we say it's OK to do something, then it's not" .. this midwesterner believes firmly in "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission"

Bribery works well in some places. Especially Illinois.

Anyway, is there a multitude of zoning violations with your property or just the fact the zoning ordinance says you must have 10,000 sq. feet of land for a house and you only have 9,000+? Without seeing the situation up close I'd say the opposing neighbor just doesn't want anything built on the property, so it can remain vacant but he/she doesn't want to buy the property for paying of taxes.

Suppose you went to zoning board anyway and claimed the neighbor is using "sour grapes" to keep you out of the neighborhood, and to maintain a vacant lot next to his/hers. Can you do that in Massachusetts?

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Anyway, is there a multitude of zoning violations with your property or just the fact the zoning ordinance says you must have 10,000 sq. feet of land for a house and you only have 9,000+? Without seeing the situation up close I'd say the opposing neighbor just doesn't want anything built on the property, so it can remain vacant but he/she doesn't want to buy the property for paying of taxes.

Suppose you went to zoning board anyway and claimed the neighbor is using "sour grapes" to keep you out of the neighborhood, and to maintain a vacant lot next to his/hers. Can you do that in Massachusetts?

Grim awwh,

Thanks so much for your asking... xangelx

Its just the required size and the need for hardship (topography, soil, etc, ) which I dont have just the undersized lot, however we are having problems with housing in this city and its a hot debate.

There was a small neighborhood school built on this land the foundation is still there. The city sold it to the neighbor (left side) then the neighbor sold the lot to the owner (right side) then the left side neighbor sold his house to these neighbors that has been after the garage on this lot. The interesting part is that the owner was going to sell the garage and driveway part to them, but then these new neighbor would only offer a monthly payment so he with drew, which I can hardly blame him. These neighbors are very greedy I think. They still wants the garage and driveway that's why they refuse a building there. What makes me mad is they can do this to get what they want... it's blackmail in my books!

I am so sorry but what are sour grapes? :roll:

I certainly can say that the neighbor is trying to "take this land" that does not belong to them they are not paying for it nor paying the taxes on it, I say they have no legal right to oppose it unless it is hurting their land and the neighborhood itself has wholeheartly voted for it.

What happened to the democracy for the 2/3 votes? :shock:

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"sour grapes" - generally someone who does not get their way so he/she goes to efforts to ensure others share in his/her misery.

Unfortunately in zoning cases, one loudmouth remonstrator (remonstrators being those who oppose the zoning change) can lead to a zoning board taking the cowardly way out and vote against the variance.

This will require a bit of research on your part.

1. What is the chain of appeals after a zoning board?

Here for example the zoning department can say yes/no on a variance. If zoning turns the variance down, then the applicant (that would be you) goes to a Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA). If the BZA turns down the variance, the applicant is entitled to appeal that decision before the City Council. Realistically, here few cases make it that far. But it does happen.

You need to find out this chain of events. Pretty much any locality will have the local city council as the true final authority on zoning. If anything call the city council department and ask about the zoning chain of appeals.

2. You need to find out any and all zoning variances granted within a, oh about a 5 miles radius. Find out what reason those properties were granted variances. Especially if anyone was granted a variance due to the lot being too small. If there is precedent for lot size being granted a variance you have ammo as "precedent" for the zoning board. This is all public record and the zoning department or board will have it all recorded. I think variances are also recorded with land deeds in the COUNTY CLERK's office (as opposed to the Court Clerk)

3. If you can get the seller's statement about the remonstrating neighbor being offered the property but did not want to accept the seller's terms for sale on an affidavit or even better have him/her appear at the zoning board meeting. This would truly show the remonstrator's true colors. He wants the benefit of a piece of property (even as a buffer) without paying for it.

4. Last but not least, if you think you are being singled out by ethnic origin that opens up a whole other can of worms.

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"sour grapes" - generally someone who does not get their way so he/she goes to efforts to ensure others share in his/her misery.

Unfortunately in zoning cases, one loudmouth remonstrator (remonstrators being those who oppose the zoning change) can lead to a zoning board taking the cowardly way out and vote against the variance.

This will require a bit of research on your part.

1. What is the chain of appeals after a zoning board?

Here for example the zoning department can say yes/no on a variance. If zoning turns the variance down, then the applicant (that would be you) goes to a Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA). If the BZA turns down the variance, the applicant is entitled to appeal that decision before the City Council. Realistically, here few cases make it that far. But it does happen.

You need to find out this chain of events. Pretty much any locality will have the local city council as the true final authority on zoning.

2. You need to find out any and all zoning variances granted within a, oh about a 5 miles radius. Find out what reason those properties were granted variances. Especially if anyone was granted a variance due to the lot being too small. If there is precedent for lot size being granted a variance you have ammo as "precedent" for the zoning board.

3. If you can get the seller's statement about the remonstrating neighbor being offered the property but did not want to accept the seller's terms for sale on an affidavit or even better have him/her appear at the zoning board meeting. This would truly show the remonstrator's true colors. He wants the benefit of a piece of property (even as a buffer) without paying for it.

4. Last but not least, if you think you are being singled out by ethnic origin that opens up a whole other can of worms.

Oh Grim thaaaankyouuuuuuu! :multibounce:

OMGosh I better get started right away whoo whoo!

I will get this info and then come back and see what you think I have so far! By the way I got the Library to do a research today on this school that was once there... cuz it bothers me that it was a big building and there is an already structure there and they denied this guy, got a feeling its bec of the neighbor more so...

One question ...even if the council approved it, the neighbor cud go to court and the judge wud favor the neighbor... why is that and what grounds wud they have??? :roll:

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I'll tell you the way it is here. I do not know if this is how it's applied in MA.

Once the remonstrator(s) loses, it's over. The remonstrator could attempt to go to court claiming legal errors on part of the zoning boards or city council. But presenting evidence such as what you described, the judge would laugh the remonstrating neighbor out of the courtroom.

But do you want to put up with an a$$hole like that as a neighbor?

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I'll tell you the way it is here. I do not know if this is how it's applied in MA.

Once the remonstrator(s) loses, it's over. The remonstrator could attempt to go to court claiming legal errors on part of the zoning boards or city council. But presenting evidence such as what you described, the judge would laugh the remonstrating neighbor out of the courtroom.

But do you want to put up with an a$$hole like that as a neighbor?

This is great news! Yes, bec next door is my family... This neighbor cud not do anything to me they have a grudge with the owner not me... I get along with just about anyone and I have a talent for being a great neighbor when others have been an absolute jerk... it tends to roll off my back quite well and its funny bec many people I spoke with said they were not very nice people...I got a feeling if the board is on my side they will finally give up this highway robbery plan ...I will see what I can dig up on this new strategy... oh boy oh boy! :clapper:

Hmmmm just thought of something... getting this info you have mentioned, it is public info right ? xheadscratchx

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  • 2 weeks later...
Bump

Saki - what's the latest on your battle with zoning?

Hi Grim!

Thanks for thinking of me! :D

Well, I got all the paperwork from the registry of deeds this week. I was surprised how easy it was to locate this land's history! It took me five minutes to track it down from the city's owning it in 1965 to the present owner in 2001...its beyond me why the lawyers charge $125 hour plus $1500 deposit for an "analysis and title search”, had all the paperwork legit for $3.00, what a rip off! :evil:

I am just glad it's today with the new technology out there!

Got it to the bank's lawyer to see what he thinks as well as getting an appraisal... the argument is now is how do they appraisal at fair market value when the land has been nonconforming... but they may want to appraise it as a buildable lot... that is so unfair...and a gamble if I don’t get a building permit after all this!

I also got a research for the land with the old school, but they got the wrong school, so have to wait next week for the correct information. I am also going to check out the minutes on that meeting they had about turning down the building permit for this land in 2001. Once I have that information I am then going to check out my theories on how they may proceed with this new application from new owner...

My biggest obstacle is trying to get finance for both land and building because I need to get a place by the end of March to avoid a new lease. Another thing is I was surprised that the loan for $150,000 is expensive, the monthly payment would be around $1,300 for I think either 5.75 or 6.0 % fixed rate, 30 years...isn't that high? Can I do better? My mother also feels that the housing bubble is going to burst… but, I feel in this town it won’t change much and will not happen for another several years, or if anything, for a long time… Am I right or is my mother? :shock:

I also got the zoning ordinance from the website to see the appeal process.

I could not find anything on the court information… will have to figure that one out.

I realize if I get the land, it is a good thing but where will I live? I certainly cannot afford two payments of $1,300.Any creative ideas out there? Hmm?

:cool:

Suki not Saki...smile

:wink:

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1. When you're spending $250,000 on a home, $1500 for a lawyer to do a title search seems cheap. When the "cost of goods sold" is $3.00 is seems like a ripoff. What a lot of that is for is if the lawyer goofs up in the searches and someone sues and you lose the property. The lawyer has to hang his/her law license on the searches. Then claims it on his/her malpractice insurance just like a doctor would.

2. The minutes of the 2001 meeting where the (zoning board?) turned down the building permit will be interesting. It depends upon how well the minutes were kept. it could be like some meetings I've attended of various political bodies over the years. "John Doe came before the board with a building permit application. Long discussion ensued and the board voted 5-0 to deny the applicant" .. that's poor minute taking but state laws on minutes do vary.

3. 5.75% is a good rate right now. Interest is starting to creep up, especially if Greenspan's replacement does as he is threatening in January - demand tax increases or he'll almost double interest rates to sabotage the economy (heard this on Fox News Channel today)

4. I am one who thinks the housing bubble is going to burst, not sure when but it will happen. Not when housing costs are exceeding salaries by an obnoxious percentage. Don't get me started on "interest only" mortgages that seem to fuel the housing upward spiral.

5. Doesn't anyone do "month to month" leases or short term (3 month, 6 month)?

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Hi Grim!

Well of course when I purchase the land I will have the title search done. I meant when I wanted to get more info on this land. Doing the search of who owned the land and particularily seeing if the land changed in size at anytime of selling and buying, which I found it stayed 9030 sq ft at all times. So it never changed. I also wanted to know about the nonconforming land problem. When I contacted the lawyer to help with this, his "analysis service fee" was obnoxious.

Forgive me for asking, but what is the worst thing that could happen if the bubble bursts? :shock:

In this town after March the rents triple then return to the present rate after labor day. I live on the coast. I was lucky to have been able to get my lease extended for 6 months more from October.

I have seen ads on the websites for 750 for 200,000 mortgage... wondering what rate that is and is it real? :cool:

Suki

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Well of course when I purchase the land I will have the title search done. I meant when I wanted to get more info on this land. Doing the search of who owned the land and particularily seeing if the land changed in size at anytime of selling and buying, which I found it stayed 9030 sq ft at all times. So it never changed. I also wanted to know about the nonconforming land problem. When I contacted the lawyer to help with this, his "analysis service fee" was obnoxious.

I'm sure the mortgage company will need that title search also to cover themselves.

Forgive me for asking, but what is the worst thing that could happen if the bubble bursts? :shock:

Ever been "upside down" in a car payment? You owe more on a car than its worth? That would be what happens if the real estate market goes flat or sinks.

In this town after March the rents triple then return to the present rate after labor day. I live on the coast. I was lucky to have been able to get my lease extended for 6 months more from October.

why march thru labor day? You in a tourist trap town?

I have seen ads on the websites for 750 for 200,000 mortgage... wondering what rate that is and is it real? :cool:

That would have to be interest only loan. Are those ads on the net like from LowerMyBills or NexTag? Avoid them. Search on here for LowerMyBills you will be rudely suprised. I think either Homey or Charles wrote a piece on it.

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I'm sure the mortgage company will need that title search also to cover themselves.

oh yes, I agree!

Forgive me for asking, but what is the worst thing that could happen if the bubble bursts? :shock:

Ever been "upside down" in a car payment? You owe more on a car than its worth? That would be what happens if the real estate market goes flat or sinks.

Been there before with a car payment, I was wet behind the ears when they got me on that deal... never got a new car since then, always paid my used car in full.

In this town after March the rents triple then return to the present rate after labor day. I live on the coast. I was lucky to have been able to get my lease extended for 6 months more from October.

why march thru labor day? You in a tourist trap town?

Yup, for many years you gotta love this town! We even have a shop named "Tourist Trap"

:lolsign:

I have seen ads on the websites for 750 for 200,000 mortgage... wondering what rate that is and is it real? :cool:

That would have to be interest only loan. Are those ads on the net like from LowerMyBills or NexTag? Avoid them. Search on here for LowerMyBills you will be rudely suprised. I think either Homey or Charles wrote a piece on it.

Well that means its not real and has a fish hook in it huh ? :roll:

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