Lot splits generally sail through Coon Rapids City Council meetings with nary a comment and a unanimous vote of approval.
But not Jan. 7 when a zero lot line lot split request for a twinhome at 396 and 388 107th Lane N.W. plus a minimum lop depth variance was approved by the slimmest of margins – 4-3.
The Coon Rapids Planning Commission had unanimously recommended approval of the lot split and there was no opposition.
Planner Scott Harlicker gave a history of the parcel. A conditional use permit was issued for the duplex in May 2004 and it was located facing 107th Lane, rather than Foley Boulevard to avoid having driveway access on to Foley.
The property has been foreclosure and the new owner wants to subdivide it so that each half of the twinhome is on its own lot and can be sold individually with two owners and not one as is the case now, according to Harlicker.
Without the lot split, the twinhomes would have to be sold as one with one person owning both units, Harlicker wrote in his report to the council.
The lot split would not alter the appearance of the units or the site from the street or adjacent properties, he wrote.
There are about 30 duplex lots that might be eligible candidates for a zero lot line lot split in Coon Rapids, according to Harlicker.
In the mid-2000, the council ordered a halt to all duplex construction in the city because of issues that had arisen where the owner of one side of the duplex wanted to do some exterior work, like fix the roof, and the owner of the other side of the duplex did not agree.
A condition of the zero lot line lot split approved by the council is the submission of a party wall agreement to the city attorney that would spell out, at a minimum, the maintenance of the structure, maintenance of open and/or common space, accessory structures and exterior decoration.
While that satisfied Councilmembers Denise Klint, Paul Johnson, Bruce Sanders and Steve Wells who voted for the lot split, Mayor Tim Howe and Councilmembers Ron Manning and Jerry Koch could still foresee problems.
It was Manning that recalled the issue that led to the council banning the construction of duplexes in the city.
And Koch, who is a real estate professional, said the only way to enforce the party wall agreement would be for owner to take the other owner to court.
City Attorney Dave Brodie agreed that any disagreement between owners would end up in court, party wall agreement or not.