August 8, 2013
Why Neighbors Matter When Rebuilding on LBI
Now that the Sandy dust is starting to settle and existing homeowners are deciding whether to keep or sell their storm damaged homes on Long Beach Island or the lots that remain after homes have been demolished, there can be some pretty good deals on properties in Long Beach Township and a few other towns on the island. Before you run out and scoop up a great deal, you may want to be aware of how your neighbors can affect rebuilding a new custom home on LBI.
A 50’X100’ conforming lot in Long Beach Township can typically fit a 35’ wide home. However, what many purchasers don’t realize is that you must maintain a 15’ wide space between houses per township code. Many older homes that were built prior to this rule could exist with less than 15’ between houses, or the 15’ could be split between two houses. This means if your neighbor’s house is 4’ from the property line, your new home must be built 11’ from the property line to maintain the 15’ total for new construction. If both neighbors on either side are closer to the property line, your new home to be built will need to be squeezed down width-wise in order to keep 15’ between both neighbor’s homes. For instance, if you have a 50’ wide lot and one neighbor’s house is 4’ from the property line and the other neighbor’s house is 4’ on the other side too, your home can only be 28’ wide maximum to maintain the 15’ space between your home and both neighbors homes.
We call this rebuilding new “adjoiners”. When looking for a property in many of the towns on Long Beach Island you will need to review the specifications of the lot you are purchasing, but you also need to know how far the adjoiner homes are from the property line on both sides, as well as what the township requirements are with regard to side setbacks before you design your home. You may be purchasing a lot that you believe can fit a certain size home, when in fact the reality is it may be completely different based on the adjoiner properties. Can you apply for a variance? Yes, you can; however, it will cost thousands of dollars to pursue a variance, and typically, a variance for this situation, will not be approved by the township.
So, how do you know, in advance of purchasing a lot or property, what the adjoiner situation is? Contact Stonehenge Building and Development and we will be happy to take a look at the property you are considering and help you calculate what the set backs are, where the new home to be built will need to sit on the lot and how wide the home can be before you buy the lot or design your home. If you are interested in building a new custom home on LBI, or are selling a property on LBI, feel free to contact ustoday.