Division 2 General terms: Defining and measuring the ‘Y’ in NIMBY

Division 2 General Terms, which includes 23.84A Definitions and
23.86 Measurements, might very well be the most important part of the code. After all we’ve covered, it is the section of the code that acts as the final authority on what terms used in the code really mean and how things get measured. People throw around the term NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) or variants like YIMFY (Yes In My Front Yard) or NIMFY (Not In My Front Yard) to describe how they or others feel about a project or development in general.

I don’t have a yard. I guess that makes me a DIYY, Density In Your Yard!

But how does the code measure “yards,” since houses are required to have them. Here’s the code on front yards.

“Yard, front” means an area from the ground upward between the side lot
lines of a lot, extending from the front lot line to a line on the lot
parallel to the front lot line, the horizontal depth of which is specified
for each zone.

And how do you measure that?

The required depth of the front yard shall be the average of the distance
between single-family structures and front lot lines of the nearest
single-family structures on each side of the lot ( Exhibit B for 23.86.010).
If the front facade of the single-family structure is not parallel to the
front lot line, the shortest distance from the front lot line to the
structure shall be used for averaging purposes.

Exhibit B is below. I have no problem with this section of the code. But I do wonder why do we require yards anyway? Shouldn’t we treat yards like parking? If people want yards then they can pay for them. Why build that in to requirements? The requirements for individual yards serious goofed up the townhouse form by cramming little yards (and parking) into otherwise dense projects. And yards are like not the most sustainable things out there considering how much they can contribute to water pollution because of fertilizers and such.

Yards can be great alternatives to paved space. I don’t hate yards in principle. But converting yards, front, back, and side, into DADUs is a great idea. Yard requirements unnecessarily complicate that. Yards should be next on our list after parking in terms of code reform.


This post was entirely written on an iPhone using a mobile WordPress application. I’ll fix format issues later.

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2 Responses to Division 2 General terms: Defining and measuring the ‘Y’ in NIMBY

  1. Pingback: saying goodbye to “Leave it to Beaver” urbanism?

  2. Pingback: Charles R. Wolfe: Saying Goodbye to "Leave it to Beaver" Urbanism? |

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