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Planning board talks new rules for ranch ‘hood

Submitted by on 1, April 27, 2009 – 5:50 amNo Comment

12The Planning Board is set to discuss new rules Monday night for renovations and additions onto a neighborhood of ranch homes off Fernside Boulevard.

The city originally considered rules that could all but prohibit the addition of second stories to homes in the neighborhood, which includes single blocks of Washington, Adams and San Jose streets off Fernside. But staff is now recommending the board okay a set of design criteria to cover additions and other building projects in the neighborhood that would not impose set height or size limits.

The original proposal, presented to the City Council by neighborhood residents in 2007, would have limited building heights in the neighborhood to 20 feet and the size of second story additions to 800 square feet. City staff has also put a modified version of that proposal on the table that would impose less strict height and size limits.

Neighbors asked the city for the new zoning requirements to address concerns about new, two-story homes built in the neighborhood, which is predominantly populated by ranch homes. One couple who initiated the requirement request, Victor and Ann Quintell, told the city an earlier addition project has reduced the home’s light and privacy and expressed concerns about another planned, two-story house nearby.

“This overbuilding will affect the character of our neighborhood and if you look at some of the larger houses that the planning dept has already let be built in this neighborhood you have to wonder what they were thinking,” the Quintells wrote in a letter to the city about the proposed zoning change.

But others said the last thing this city needs is more zoning rules.

“Simply put, the overlay feels like a punishment to the neighborhood based on what has occurred on a very small percentage of the properties. It seems to me that this is a faulty solution,” another neighbor, Nancy Lew, wrote.

A group of homeowners who live on nearby Madison Street, which was originally included in the proposed new zoning district, filed a separate petition with the city saying they didn’t want to be a part of it. That street has since been removed.

The next item on the board’s agenda for Monday is approval of one of the homebuilding projects that kicked off the zoning request, the construction of a new home at 3295 Adams Street. According to the staff report, Forrest Reed originally filed his plans to build the home in December 2005, but held off to allow the city to sort out its zoning plans. Staff is recommending approval of the project.

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