CLAYTON — Trying to find a way to attract potential customers that would be interested in building homes in the Village of North Clayton was the topic of a recent discussion by Clayton staff and city council.
According to Director of Development Jack Kuntz, a number of empty nesters and retirees have expressed interest in living in the village, but due to architectural requirements most of the porches for homes are supposed to sit so high that they would require four to seven steps.
“That is not very conducive to retirees or empty nesters that are looking to age in place,” Kuntz said.
Staff started holding meetings with builders that own property in the village as well as the North Clayton Village Authority to find a happy medium to modify the regulations that would maintain the architectural integrity of the development for the residents that have already bought homes there while making the area more marketable to other customers.
While presenting council with a recommendation of the planning commission for a Planned Development modification for the village, Kuntz stated it is “really a simple solution.”
Of the four different types of lots available, depending on how wide the lot is there are different types of requirements for how high the structure’s elevation needs to be from the sidewalk. Lots that are between 40 to 49, 50 to 59 and 60 to 69 feet wide are targeted for the proposed modification. Lots 90 feet wide or more are not affected.
“The suggestion is this: we just reduce how high these houses have to be,” Kuntz said. “So we are going from four feet to two feet above grade, three feet to 18 inches depending on how wide the lots are.”
The Community Authority asked that if a customer chooses a style of home that has a porch, then that porch needs to have a railing with a ceiling elevation that is between nine and a half to 10 feet.
Kuntz and City Planner Jennifer Barclay went down to the Oregon District in Dayton and started taking photos of the homes located there.
“In the Oregon District there is actually houses that have elevations with seven steps on one house and three steps on another, but the porch height and ceiling height is the same,” Kuntz noted. “Visually when you are looking at the homes it looks like the same type of house but the steps are different. This goes back to keeping the architectural integrity of the development but making it so that it is more appealing to the particular demographic that wants to own, for lack of a better term, a patio style home.”
The patio homes must meet a certain height requirement for drainage purposes related to the alleys that are already in place. Instead of doing a lot of earth work to lower everything, the new houses must be above the alley.
Kuntz said while there would still be a step or two in front of any new homes, the builders could grade the back of the houses down so that when going into the rear entry garages residents could seamlessly walk-in to the homes without climbing any steps.
“Staff believes this will increase the marketability of the lots while maintaining the integrity of the development and the storm water standards,” Kuntz stated. “Everyone agreed that this was the way to go and the planning commission voted unanimously to support the proposed changes.”
Council passed a resolution to approve the Planned Development modification.