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ALPINE COUNCIL AMENDS HEIGHT LAW TO ALLOW PERMITS FOR HOMES ON HILLS

SHARE ALPINE COUNCIL AMENDS HEIGHT LAW TO ALLOW PERMITS FOR HOMES ON HILLS

As many as eight builders of luxury homes in the foothills here were stopped by conflicting city ordinances that restricted a house's height and measurement.

But the City Council this week temporarily amended the ordinance to allow permits for at least six of the homes. Two builders had appealed to the Board of Adjustment.The council also set a public hearing for Dec. 10 to permanently revamp the height restrictions.

The current ordinance, approved last year, requires a 30-foot height from the natural grade.

But that can be detrimental to homes on a hill. Another ordinance apparently conflicted with the way height is measured, which resulted in plans not winning city approval.

However, City Attorney David Church said he thought the ordinances were clear.

But builder Guy Hatch, one builder pressing for a decision, suggested the council should follow the established norm. "An English tudor would not work" under the current ordinance, he said. The home he wanted to build would reach 52 feet at its highest point, a city official said.

After several unsuccessful motions, Councilwoman Pheobe Blackham found agreement with the Planning Commission's recommendation of a 30-foot height measured from the finished grade to the middle of the roof, which would give builders flexibility.

That could allow a home as high as 50 feet, other officials pointed out, because finished grades and rooflines could be adjusted.

Her motion also let through some of the homes that had been stopped by the ordinance.