The article entitled “Deeds from the Dead” (4/12) concerned county lands (outside the urban growth boundary), but the same thing happens within the UGB. A look at the Friendly Area neighborhood reveals that at least one developer has successfully turned 100-year-old “legal” lots (too narrow to meet current standards) into new buildable lots.
Plat maps of the Friendly Area neighborhood reveal that most current tax lots contain two or more “legal” lots as specified by dashed lines. Your article noted, “once landowners have established multiple legal lots … within their ownership, they can move the lots into a more development friendly configuration.”
This means the internal boundaries of the two original legal lots can be erased and redrawn in any way the owner desires. Even if the dimensions of the two new lots bear absolutely no resemblance to the original two lots, the city will claim the new (developable) lots to be the very same legal lots platted 100 years earlier.
The result, of course, is that the savvy owner of a tax lot which would not by today’s standards be large enough to be legally divided and sold as two buildable lots finds a great loophole.
No one would argue that there once were two original lots, and after the reconfiguration (or lot line adjustment) there are still two lots, but to say they are the same two lots is either an interesting existential argument or a legal conundrum.