View ordinance to be studied

Ben Godar

The City Council has voted to hire a consultant to help study whether

a view preservation ordinance would be appropriate, but several

council members warned that any such regulation would be a difficult


balancing act.

Several hillside residents asked the council Tuesday night to help

prevent the so-called “mansionization” of the area, and Mayor Stacey

Murphy said the council needs to take action to help those residents


maintain their property values.

“When you bought your house, you bought it with that view,” Murphy

said. “What we’re talking about is changing your initial investment.”

The council voted unanimously to authorize Community Development

staffers to find consultants to aid in a two-step process that could

result in a possible ordinance. The consultant will first be asked to

solicit public input on a view ordinance, and if the community

desires, develop that ordinance. The consultant will be paid between


about $5,000 and $7,000 to gauge public opinion, and about $30,000 to

$35,000 to develop the measure.

While all council members agreed to examine a potential ordinance,

Councilman Dave Golonski suggested that developing a mechanism to

regulate view protection would be no easy task.

“We have to balance protecting one neighbor’s view and another

neighbor’s right to have trees or develop their homes,” he said.

Even agreeing on what constitutes a view could be difficult,


Councilman Jef Vander Borght said. He pointed out that some might

want to see trees while others might not, and some may want to see

the mountains while others want to see the valley.

“Whose view are we worried about?” he said. “Is it your view or

your neighbor’s view? It’s really, really hard.”

Home construction is currently restricted by what city officials

called generous “mansionization” restrictions, with roof peaks

required to be less than 35 feet high and homes to take up no more

than 60% of their lots.

A consultant will likely not be hired until October or November,

and Assistant Planner John Bowler said the city plans to work with a

consultant experienced in view protection ordinances.

“We want to hire a consultant with previous experience who can

talk about the limitations of view protection,” he said.