Fragment of Generative Code for Neighborhoods


Establishing the impact of local zoning and city requirements on your site

Originally written for a 3 acre site in Charlottesville, Virginia, Next Steps, April 10 2006
  • Check actual number of dwellings allowed by zoning code, on this site, and find code section which specifies the rules. Including square feet of lot per dwelling, number of parking spaces, zoning provision for granny apartments. You may need help with this. And you will need copies of the code portions that apply.
  • Get definition of the geometrical provisions each individual lot has to meet with.
  • Is there a possibility of making a Planned Unit Development on such a site and for such a relatively small case. Look up PUD or planned unit development in Wikipedia.
  • Check any easements on the land.
  • Do you have a formal lot survey made by a surveyor? Go to the unfolding step called Topographic survey of the land.
  • Is there any restriction on number of driveways that may leave the lot from its perimeter, on each of the three streets?
  • Does the code provide for possibility of shared driveways, or forked driveways?
  • Would code permit, or encourage, placement of parking in a clustered form, to reduce negative impact on the land?
  • What is the parking requirement per unit for (a) a house, and (b) for a granny cottage or apartment?


Make a map of the site which reflects the positions of the setbacks, easements, parking access, size of parking requirement, size of buildings, size and number of cottages.
Visit the site and check positions and sizes that are likely to result from this regime.
If these are too crowded, reduce the numbers until the relative amounts and sizes in the whole thing are harmonious.

Be very careful! If you go in to speak with a planning officer, and ask questions in the wrong way, the person answering your questions may (inadvertently) close avenues of what is possible, because of some phrasing in your question. This can, on occasion, be irreversible.