The ad hoc committee on affordable housing has several recommendations for the planning and zoning committee, with the biggest suggestion to create a new single-family zoning district.
The district, R-1D, would have a minimum lot size of 7,500 square feet. The minimum side lot setback, the committee agreed, is six feet, which will conform to the Insurance Service Organization (ISO) standards.
The committee, which includes city employees for advisement, realtors, bankers, developers and engineers, met for its second meeting Tuesday, April 2.
Other recommendations from the committee include to revert the minimum lot size in the R1-B single-family zoning district back to 6,000 square feet; to maintain current street and right of way standards; and to provide no city mandated architectural standards within the R1-B single-family or the new R-1D single-family zoning districts.
A development standards matrix for residential single-family homes in various communities was provided to committee members.
“One of the things that jumps out at me is that, of these (14 communities), there are only four cities that allow down to 6,000 square feet,” said Dan Boyce, city engineer. Those include Rolla, Jefferson City, St. Louis County and Chesterfield.
“I couldn’t find any architectural standards among any of these cities,” he said, noting that the only standard he did find was the city of St. Charles requiring a single-family home be a minimum of 1,000 square feet.
Most cities included in the matrix did have options on their single-family lot sizes.
Boyce said that by allowing duplexes on 12,000-square-foot lots, the city is essentially already allowing 6,000-square-foot lots, but that is not necessarily positive.
“You’re forcing people to build duplexes. There’s no option. People who want a smaller lot and a smaller unit — they have to share a wall,” he said.
The committee felt 6,000 square feet may be too small for lot sizes in the new zoning district and agreed that 7,500 square feet would be better.
Committee members unanimously agreed that street width and right of way codes should not be changed.
“To build a sidewalk per square foot actually costs more than building a street per square foot,” Boyce told the committee.
Therefore, for a 70-foot-wide lot, which is the minimum single-family lot width with a four-foot-wide sidewalk on both sides, and a street width and right of way width reduced by 5 feet, there would be a net gain of $38 if sidewalks were required.
Boyce noted that if sidewalks weren’t required, there would be a savings of about $758 for a 70-foot-wide lot.
“For $758 would a person be willing to give up parking on one side of the street and reduce the access for emergency service, etc., and not have the wide street to maneuver on and provide good two-way traffic?” Boyce asked.
“I think wide streets are the only way to go,” said Jim Wilson, a builder/developer.
Alan Whitworth, contractor, agreed.
“It’s more important to have a wider street than to save a few dollars,” he said.
Ray Frankenberg II with BFA engineering, said having a sidewalk doesn’t replace the value of having a wider street.
All committee members were in favor of maintaining street width and right of way.
Frankenberg said more options should be available for infilling, or developing areas that are already very tight; otherwise, they won’t be developed.
Prior to 1993, the zoning code allowed 6,000-square-foot lots in R1-B zoning districts.
A development in town that was zoned differently on the north and south sides, which allowed for one side to have 6,000-square- foot lots and the other side was required to have 10,000-square-foot lots.
Those who already had homes on larger lots were upset that other lots could be smaller.
Because of the disagreement, Lamb said, the council decided to increase the lot size in R1-B to 10,000 square feet.
At the same time, a change was made so that if there was some infill development, lot sizes could be smaller.
Boyce noted that though they changed the lot size requirement for R1-B, it didn’t change the other area requirements, such as lot width and side yard setback.
Committee members were against imposing architectural standards because the standards would be difficult to regulate and enforce.
Developers and homeowners associations will decide how subdivision houses will look.
The ad hoc committee will make its recommendations at Monday night’s planning and zoning meeting.
Planning and zoning will choose whether to forward the recommendations to city council, which has final approval.