Council sees red flag over subdivision technique

Flag lots banned for now until guidelines are developed to address street problems

Posted: Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Soldotna City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday temporarily banning the creation of flag lots in subdivisions until clearer guidelines are established for regulating them.

A flag lot is a long strip of property that looks like a flag pole with a building at the end of the lot.

The ordinance bans flag lots until the council can come up with better ways to regulate them, said city manager Tom Boedeker. The ban will expire May 15 unless the council takes further action, he said.

Boedeker said these lots can increase the density of driveways in a neighborhood, adding that this also can cause snow removal problems. The length of the driveways can cause drainage problems, he said. These types of lots often put houses or apartments behind the neighboring residences, meaning there is increased traffic going by the neighbors' windows, he said.

"We don't think (flag lots) are inherently bad," he said. "There's some problems with them."

Boedeker said right now there are few regulations on this type of property.

Boedeker, who wrote the ordinance, said the issue came up when Clint Hall, president of Hall Quality Builders, subdivided land with a number of flag lots. With an increased amount of property being subdivided, he said it was important to put some definition on it.

"Lets figure out what we want to happen with flag lots and put some proper regulations on it," he said.

Hall is opposed to banning flag lots.

"We've got fairly valuable view properties," he said.

He said flag lots serve a purpose, allowing property to be developed that does not require a city-owned road to access. Often these lots are good for developing and he wants to continue to build on them, Hall said.

Patrick O'Neill, a Soldotna resident, said as the land density increases in town, it can become more challenging to use pieces of land. At times, he said flag lots can be useful to maximize land usage. As the council proceeds with deciding more permanent regulations, he said they should consider flag lot regulation on a case by case basis.



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