How to deal with flag lots

Hey everyone,
Has anyone ever dealt with a “flag lot”?
I’m currently holding two lots(next to each other) which seemed great when I bought them but didn’t realize it will be difficult to build on them because of zoning restrictions.
Neighbors in front (vacant lots as well) don’t want them nor do they want to sell me theirs.
What would you do with them?

@Levi-Shemtov I’ve never heard of the term “flag lot”. What makes a flag lot a flag lot?


This is an example of a flag lot. - narrow strip / access usually from the from leading to a wider area of toward the rear of the parcel with other property owners at front.


@Levi-Shemtov - Are your flag lots too skinny to build?

For those interested, this post discusses the value of flag lots.

I am curious what zoning restrictions you ran into? I am looking at buying a flag lot myself.

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@levi-shemtov what kinds of zoning restrictions are you dealing with? In other words, what can you and can’t you do with them?

A flag lot isn’t necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. It would help to have more information about what the problem is with them.

@retipsterseth fair enough.
The lots are zoned R-1, just like all the other lots on the block.
The issue is that the city council is telling me that while I may be able to build on one lot, the second one might be unbuildable as the ‘flag pole’ area that is shared by both lots will be problematic, something to do with frontage.
I scheduled a call with a real estate attorney in the area that will hopefully help me find a solution.
I figured if anyone here has dealt with something similar in the past, they can share some info/tipsWhatsApp Image 2021-04-26 at 12.56.35 PM.jpeg

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@levi-shemtov What they are talking about is that there is a minimum lot frontage requirement for lots in each zone. So for example, the minimum lot frontage in the R1 zone may be 50 feet for example. But if the flag pole portion that is adjacent to the public roadway is only 15 feet wide for example then they are saying there may be a problem because the lot width of the flag lot is “non-conforming”. What they are not telling you is that if the lot was legally created via a subdivision or even by deed description prior to the effective date of the subdivision ordinance then it is considered a legal lot and in most states a house can be built on it. Otherwise this can be considered a “taking”. There are ways to determine if it is a legal lot. If you do end up going to an attorney, take my response to them and have them look into it. I have a feeling that it may be a legal lot but would need more information from you to be able to know for sure. Good Luck!


@mikemarshall That’s quite helpful.
Thank you so much!