When Maps Collide

By Dave Fratello | April 5th, 2010
A week ago, MBC discussed a couple of curious cases of Tree Section listings calling themselves Sand Section. (See "The Church in the Sand?")

The point in that story, with a graphic map as illustration, was that there was no ambiguity to the maps real estate agents typically follow – homes to the east of Ardmore, and north of MBB, are clearly in the Tree Section. Therefore, the listings calling themselves "Sand" were off-base.

We've now been pointed to a city zoning map that provides some explanation for these quasi-"Sand" listings being called such.

You can see the blue dotted line here around 12th and 13th Streets, indicating that those homes fall under Area III zoning rules; the rest of Area III is what everyone calls the Sand Section west of Valley/Ardmore. (Click graphic to enlarge.)

This pocket of the Martyrs area, as MBC noted in last week's story, has smaller lots and higher-density housing, more typical of the beach-adjacent areas, and this difference in zoning allows and reflects that. You can build higher, with smaller setbacks, than in other parts of the Tree Section.

In other words, if the area "feels" more like the Sand Section, it's because it's zoned that way.

(To get the full, high-res PDF zoning map from the city, go to this page and click on the link under the 4th bullet for "Zoning Map.")

So, does this city zoning map mean that MBC's original post was incorrect?


MB has been carved up into specific sections by the South Bay Association of Realtors, and it's that map that was the basis of the original MBC post saying that 2 current 12th St. listings were not in the "Sand Section" as proclaimed. Regardless of city zoning, they're not in SBAR's "Sand Section."

Looking at that city zoning map, you also see that homes along MBB (typically MFRs) also fall into this Area III's would-be "Sand Section" area. Yet those properties, when listed, are typically slotted under Tree Section (north side of MBB) or Hill Section (south side). That's because the listings follow the SBAR map, not zoning maps.

We took another look at how past listings in the area in question have been treated. 

Along 13th, we found 23 closed transactions dating back to 1996. Of those, 13 were coded as "Tree Section" and 10 were "Sand Section."

Every one of the "Tree Section" listings was sold after the year 2000. Meanwhile, 8 of the 10 "Sand Section" listings on the block sold before 2000. This difference based on sale dates suggests that there may have been a map or rule change at around the turn of the century.

One example, 625 13th, sold twice in 2001, once as a "Tree Section" listing and once as a "Sand Section" home. Its 2008 sale was as a "Tree Section" property.

Results were more mixed on 12th St.  Sales dating back to 1994 popped up in a search, 33 of them in total – many of the transactions being the same property sold a few times.

Of the 33 sales along 12th St., 17 were coded as "Sand Section" and 16 were "Tree Section."

Of all 33 transactions, 16 were post-2000, with most (10) listed as "Tree Section." This was similar to the pattern on 13th, but less definitive.

One example, 717 12th, sold in 1997 as a "Sand Section" property and a couple more times in the 2000s as a "Tree Section" offering.

So in most – but not all – cases, more recent listings in this disputed territory have been called "Tree Section," with 12th St. being home to greater confusion than 13th.

It's on 12th that 2 current listings (521 12th and 645 12th) remain coded as "Sand" at this time.

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