using internet to research potential sites
From: Grace Kim (
Date: Sat, 11 Jun 2005 15:37:03 -0700 (PDT)
> Does anyone have any experience on how to navigate the maze of
> city record and personnel to find potential sites?  San Jose has
> a redevelopment agency but I'm intimidated by the whole land
> search process.

Diana - 

Often the people at the city's land-use/permit office are busy and don't
have time to help you research potential sites...especially if you're
looking at multiple sites.  

Some cities/counties do have tax records (with lot sizes, zoning info,
etc.) and land-use maps on line.  Those are your best tools for locating
potential sites...or at least targeting specific neighborhoods.

I don't know what is available for San Jose, but here are the links I
use to research property in Seattle.  Perhaps you can find the similar
link for your city/county if you know what to look for.  For sake of
example, feel free to plug in my condo address (2607 Western)

tax accessor's site - helps you obtain property info about lot size, sf
of existing structures, age of structure,etc.  click on property report
on lower left of screen
clicking on the DPD GIS will open up a page where you can type in the
address and look at the land use map...the options on the left can be
selected to overlay the zoning designations and building outlines on the

You need to know what the various land-use designations mean and what
you can build within.  Generally you'll be looking for zoning
designations that allow for multifamily housing with higher densities
(not single family lots).

I recognize that this is a bit complicated for the average person.  It's
generally helpful to have a local architect, planner, or realtor that is
familiar with the land-use code help you navigate this the first few
times.  Hopefully someone in your group fits this description.  With a
little practice, it becomes easier to navigate and a whole world of
information opens up to you.

Good luck!

grace h. kim, aia
schemata workshop
159 western ave west #483
seattle wa 98119
206.285.1589 v
206.285.2701 f

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