Tight Fit

A narrow lot and small setbacks lead to neighborly negotiations

model remodel fencing problems

The nearly 19-foot-wide existing structure sits 25 feet back from the street on a lot that is just 25 feet wide. With a rear addition planned, that doesn’t leave much room for storing material and equipment.

Site access is always an issue in remodeling, particularly where an addition is involved. In this case, a narrow lot and small setbacks create challenges for both storage and access.

Fenced In

The lot runs east west and is 125 feet deep, with 25 feet of street frontage. The house sets back about 25 feet from the street, and neighboring houses are close to the long north and south boundaries of the property. Chain link fence along both sides is very close to the building, making access very tight—the 20-inch clearance on the south side (above) is barely wide enough for walking, and the less-than-4-feet of clearance on the north isn’t much better. Plus, both neighbors have trees close to the boundaries that create additional obstacles. Left as-is, it would be impossible to get any vehicles or excavating equipment—even a small skid-steer—to the rear of the house without traveling on the neighbor’s property.

The fencing that runs along both side boundaries belongs to the project house, so one of Boardwalk Builders’ first steps was to remove it. They have discussed the possibility of replacing it with a privacy fence that may turn back into the house to provide an enclosed space for the owner‘s dog.

model remodel southern fence 

The fence along the southern boundary (left) is less than 2 feet from the exterior wall of the house—barely enough room to stand. On the north side (right), the fence is less than 4 feet from the house—not nearly enough room for even small pieces of equipment to get by.

Neighborly Negotiations

But even with the fence gone, there is still no way to get people and equipment to the rear of the house without trespassing onto the neighbors’ property. On the south side, where the neighbors are seasonal residents, a tree effectively prevents passage of even small equipment. The crew will remove the fence at the front of the house, leaving it in place at the rear for as long as possible to help protect the tree. Foot traffic on that side will also be limited. The tree itself will need to be trimmed, but Boardwalk Builders has been unable as of yet to discuss it with the neighbor on that side, who is a seasonal resident.

model remodel fence negotiations

The fence along the north boundary was removed completely (left of photo), and negotiations with the neighbor yielded permission to move personnel and equipment across the property in exchange for a load of topsoil and an agreement to restore the lawn and parking area to their original condition. The southside fence was partially removed out front, but left in place to help protect the neighbor’s tree. It, too, will eventually be completely removed.

In meetings with the northside neighbor, who is a permanent resident, Boardwalk Builders was able to obtain permission to cross the boundary as necessary with people and equipment. The handshake deal includes trimming and protection of the existing trees, providing a couple of yards of topsoil, and restoring the grass and parking areas to their original condition.

East Coast

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