Put the lid on
no good reason to allow Ketchum homes to be taller than commercial
grappling—again—with the amazing tendency of homes located on
hillsides to creep ever upward. It seems that every time the city puts the
lid on roof creep, some enterprising designer finds a way to wriggle out
of city restrictions.
written city ordinances that restrict the height of hillside residences
encourage wriggling by designers who want to build homes that make
"statements" for their clients.
person’s "statement" is another’s nightmare. They leave
downtown developers spluttering about the unfairness of a city that allows
homes to be taller than downtown commercial structures.
hillside height ordinances invariably get lost in the tangled vines of
grades, backfills, finished grades and slopes. To watch a group of
otherwise intelligent people trying to define how tall is tall is to enter
into Alice’s Wonderland. Just when they think they’ve got it nailed,
the White Rabbit shows up and leads everyone off into a new thicket.
should bring hillside residences back to earth by restricting long
driveways and forcing them to begin at street level and to top out at 35
feet—the city’s height limit. No long driveways or retaining walls
that cause houses to loom over neighborhoods should be allowed.
decades of dealing with the question, it’s time the city got it right.
It’s time to end the hillside digs and the surprise towers that inspire
widespread community dismay.