Every parcel of land has boundaries or “lot lines” defined by surveyors and recorded within the city or county records. A property owner may want to adjust lot line boundaries for many reasons. Sometimes an owner desires to combine properties into a single parcel or sell a portion of his land to a neighbor. Lot line adjustments may be possible, but it takes significant work and is best done with a professional land use consultant.
What is a lot line adjustment (LLA)?
LLAs are changes to the boundaries of one or more parcels of land. Sometimes LLAs are used to reduce the number of parcels within a larger land area, while at other times, they may just change the size or shape of the existing parcels. It’s important to note that LLAs cannot be used to increase the number of individual parcels of land. For example, you cannot use an LLA to change one property into three separate parcels.
What is the process for making a lot line adjustment?
First, you need to check the property’s city or county zoning regulations and determine the minimum lot size. For example, if a property is 2.25 acres and the minimum lot size is 2.0 acres, an LLA cannot remove more than .25 acres from the parcel.
Next, you should thoroughly review other zoning requirements for the property. For example, there may be setbacks required in the front and back yards that your LLA could impact. In many municipalities, all the divisions that regulate aspects of your property will need to review your proposed LLA to ensure it meets the codes. You may receive an approval notice once this is completed, but that doesn’t signify that the application is approved–only that there are no building or property code issues.
Finally, you will need to coordinate work between the planning department and the title company to officially approve your application and record the changes to official documents reflecting the LLA. Once you receive a Certificate of Compliance, you can rest easy that your LLA is complete and the new parcel boundaries have been legally finalized.
How do you know what the requirements are and what process to use?
A qualified land use consultant will help you figure out which city or county agency you need to work with to apply for a lot line adjustment. For example, Medford, Oregon, describes the city’s regulations for property line adjustments in 10.158 of their municipal code. For properties within Medford, the following requirements apply:
- All properties must be lawfully created;
- No new lots or parcels of land will result from the adjustment;
- The adjustment will not result in a unit of land that overlaps the city limit line, urban growth boundary, or zoning districts;
- The adjusted property configurations shall not create a substandard condition relative to the applicable standards of the Code. When one or more properties are less than the minimum required area or width, none of the resulting units of land shall be made smaller in area or narrower in width than the original smallest existing unit of land.
From that point, your consultant should be able to work with you to coordinate all aspects of completing the application. You may need to collect such items as a preliminary title report, illustrations of the current and proposed parcel configurations, surveyor site plan reports, legal descriptions for each newly defined lot, tax lot verification statements, and other documents.
Our team can help you navigate the process.
If you’re interested in changing the boundaries of your property, contact the professionals at Richard Stevens & Associates. We assist our clients with all work related to rural and urban land use planning permits and zoning laws. Our team will work to understand your needs and help you understand the legal processes involved with lot line adjustments and other changes to your property to achieve your goals.