The City's New Tools for Buyers & All

By Dave Fratello | January 26th, 2017

People seem never to speak of their awe for, or satisfaction with, government. Certainly not in these times.

So in a case of truly contrarian blogging, we're going to express our appreciation right here, right now, for a new system that the city of Manhattan Beach has unveiled for public use.

It's a great new online tool for home buyers, realtors, builders and really anyone with a nose for facts about this town.

The city's new "Interactive Map" allows you to get detailed info on any area or specific property.

Many layers of city regulations are converted to visual guides, maps or convenient property reports. You just have to know what to tell the system to display.

In our first bit of tinkering, we were able to pull up details on a specific property, with its:

  • Zoning
  • Lot size & Max buildable floor area
  • Max height & stories
  • All setbacks (front, rear, sides)
  • Whether the property is in the coastal zone

If you've ever been researching a home – or, especially, a lot to build on – these are some of the very first questions you try to tackle. Often, a visit to a planner at the city needs to be part of the process.

Now you can get those basic answers online. Great. (You should always confirm the online info with a person, but this is a great way to begin.)

The property report also shows past sales, though not owner names or mortgage info.

Clear and shift and tweak the maps a bit, and you can display zoning maps, general plan info, or – as in this example – some combination of area maps and the coastal zone maps. Whether a property falls into the coastal zone can impact construction, and whether you fall inside our outside the "appealable" zone matters, too. Here you see the zig-zaggy boundaries in all their glory.

The same maps will switch from graphics to satellite views easily. Pretty.

Truly, we've just gotten started using this system. We'll probably want a briefing on all of the bells and whistles. (Sounds like a can't-miss subject for a geeked-out webinar, doesn't it?)

But when you find something you like, you just want to tell people about it, right?

Why not go check it out yourself? Poke around. Find stuff. Tell a friend...

At this point, we're already keeping this tool open as one of our permanently open browser tabs. (It's one of ~50, but that still makes it important.) Soon we'll post a permalink here at MBC under the TOOLS menu.

The link again: "Interactive Map" at the city website. (Sorry, we can't pretend to tell you how to find it using the complicated navigation from the city's main page.)

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