orphan lot
n. In a subdivision, a plot of land marked as a housing lot, but considered unbuildable because of terrain or environmental constraints.

Example Citation:
"Michael Cassettari likes the woodsy feel of the vacant lot at the end of Rowland Avenue. . . . 'That lot is part of the fabric of the neighborhood,' he said. 'Before we bought, I pulled into the end of the street, and the first thing I see is open space. When we checked the zoning map, we found it had been ruled unbuildable by the town. That attracted us. We always assumed it could not be built on.' In the past, development bypassed these odd parcels of land, which came to be called marginal lots, wood lots, remainder lots, nonconforming lots, unconforming lots, landlocked lots, widow lots, porkchop lots, and now, 'orphan lots.' "
—Kerry Drohan, "Developers Line Up to Adopt 'Orphan' House Lots," The Boston Globe, January 16, 2000

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