Dec 15 2018

Planning Commission Rejects 2 House Expansions

December 10th Planning Commission

On Monday, December 10th, I went to the Planning Commission meeting at Piedmont City Hall from 5-7 p.m. The Planning Commission meets on the second Monday of every month and makes decisions regarding local construction or housing modifications. In this particular meeting, the Commission made a decision about two specific houses, and whether they could start their construction.

The first house was 66 Hampton Road. For this house, three speakers came up and talked in support of starting the potential construction. The first two speakers were the owners of the house. Their first argument was that they had kids, and needed to build a second floor on their house so they could live more comfortably, since they all sleep in the same room at the moment. They brought a lot of passion with these arguments. They also made the argument that since they both worked at home, they needed more space to work all day. Then, they tried to counter their neighbors’ arguments.

The neighbors claimed the construction would cause them to lose a significant amount of light and privacy. For this argument, the owners of 66 Hampton Road sent their architect up to describe the sun study they did, which essentially concluded that the neighbors would lose minimal light and privacy.

However, the neighbors also brought up their architect who claimed the sun study was wrong and they would actually lose a lot of light. The rule was construction can only cost a neighbor to lose “little to no light.”

The Commission ended up unanimously rejecting the 66 Hampton Road proposal for a multitude of reasons. One planner noted that they couldn’t judge the case based on any emotions, so they couldn’t feel sympathy for the children. Another mentioned how the plans were turned in right before the meeting and that wasn’t adequate enough time to look over them. In the end, the neighbors were right, the city is strict on the amount of light lost for construction and too much light was lost in this case.

Personally, I agreed with the decision because the owners of 66 Hampton Road had a lot of holes in their argument. For instance, they claimed they wanted to be closer to their kids but planned on building a master bedroom on the second floor and being a full floor away from them. Also, their architect seemed way more disorganized and confused than the opposing architect, so I didn’t believe his sun study.

The second case was pretty much the opposite. In this case, 319 Magnolia Avenue, all the neighbors had agreed to the ­­construction, it was just up to the Commission. The owners of this house wanted to build out the second floor and extend their deck. This proposal was backed up by their neighbors, the Goldbergs. The Commission still rejected it though, because the build out called for a lot of variances which were not optimal.

by Carvel Tefft, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.


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