Lincoln City Planning Director Richard Townsend received what many say was a much deserved unanimous vote from his city council Monday night. After many months of long public hearings and at times strident testimony from unhappy neighbors, the city council adopted Townsend’s fix for what ailed many residents in Lincoln City. Namely, new homes going in that looked more like high rises, which spoiled their views and privacy.
The new rules stop “slope averaging” which allowed new homeowners to take the average of two elevation extremes and call it within prescribed limits. Except that the top floors had more in common with the clouds than the ground.
The other fix took aim at another loop-hole new homeowners were using to raise their homes up and over their neighbors. A contractor would substantially built up the grade of a lot, and then add to that, high retaining walls, which then became the home’s highly elevated ground floor. They were basically using fill and retaining walls like a child’s booster seat, except they were putting three and four story houses on them.
Planning Director Richard Townsend outlined new design regulations and tighter inspection requirements which he said will put an end to an era of playing fast and loose with city codes on maximum building heights. He said it’s basic common sense that tells you where the starting point is for building a house. But he added that the tighter rules are not meant to prevent a contractor from filling in a lot if there’s a big depression in the middle of it. “That we’ll appove,” he said.