Rules will limit size of homes

May 25, 2005

Mark R. Madler

The City Council put development standards in place Tuesday night as

a preventive measure against construction of large homes out of

character for residential neighborhoods.

The council voted unanimously, 5-0, to adopt the ordinance

following a public hearing during which residents came out supporting

and opposing the standards. It followed a year of community input and


discussion between the council and staff.

Neighbors were concerned about losing privacy, sunlight and views

to larger homes.

"These standards are an appropriate solution to managing growth,"

Burbank resident Robert Cook said.

The new standards, built into the ordinance, include limiting

homes to 30 feet to the top of the roof; a limit of two stories to a

home; a maximum of 50% lot coverage; two parking spaces in a garage

or a carport for houses up to 3,400 square feet; and three spaces for

houses more than 3,400 square feet.

Also, the floor area ratio -- the limits of square footage that

can be built on a lot -- was reduced from 0.6 to 0.4. The new

standards will hopefully be seen as a tool to allow residents to

expand their homes, yet also protect neighborhoods, Mayor Jef Vander

Borght said.

"Perfection is not going to be achieved," Vander Borght said. "But

what we have achieved is very typical of what you will find in other


During its discussion, the council did indicate that more

revisions may be made.

The intent of the standards is not to limit space needs of

families or to curb the number of large homes being built, said

Michael Forbes, a senior planner with the city.

"The council had commented that it is to address the most visible

offenders of neighborhood character," Forbes said. To gather

community input on the standards, meetings were held last May and


In September, the council adopted an interim ordinance as a

stopgap measure while the final language was worked on.

Additional community meetings took place in January and February,

and a study session with the council in April helped revise the

standards further, Forbes said.

The new standards would not be applied to all parts of the city.

For the hillside area, some standards would be different, such as

taking into consideration lot slope when determining a house's

height, Forbes said.

Also, homes in the hillside taller than 24 feet or larger than

3,000 square feet would have to apply for a permit that includes a

study showing the home would not obstruct the views of neighboring

homes, Forbes said.

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