Designation of Alternate Front Yards
The City Code’s definition of front yard can be counter-intuitive, and does not always correspond to the development pattern of older subdivisions.
The City Code states that the front lot line is the lot line nearest the public right-of-way that provides access to a parcel. This means that for residential developments served by a private street, the front yard is not determined by a home’s driveway or garage orientation to the private street, but rather by the private street’s access to a public street. This can lead to situations where a home’s front yard faces an adjacent home’s side or rear elevation rather than the private street that provides access to the home.
In addition to being confusing for the homeowner, the City Code requires larger setbacks for front than side yards and restricts the placement of certain accessory structures based on yard classification. Residents whose home’s front yard does not conform to the house’s orientation can find themselves unable to install storage sheds, decks, and other features in their preferred location, and neighbors can become upset when these features are installed in what they believed was supposed to be an open yard.
Staff proposes addressing this issue by adding a provision formalizing the City Council’s ability to designate alternate front lot lines for new subdivisions, and granting the Community Development Director the ability to designate alternate front lot lines for older subdivisions based on the neighborhood context.
The following section of the Chanhassen City Code is subject to changes:
- Chapter 20 - Zoning
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