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Commission recommends front-yard change

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 12:25 p.m. CDT

COUNTRYSIDE – Two months after deciding the opposite, Countryside’s Plan Commission voted Nov. 3 to recommend a change to the city’s 30-foot front yard setback standard.

The commission is proposing the city require newly constructed homes to be built farther than 30 feet from the street if neighboring houses are set back more than the 30-foot minimum. New houses would be allowed to split the difference between 30 feet and the setback distance of a house next door. For example, a house being built next to a house 50 feet from the street could be built with a 40-foot setback.

The change to the setback code, if adopted by the City Council at its Dec. 11 meeting, would revert to the policy the city used before 2001. 

“In certain parts of town, there are areas that have really large front yards,” said Richard Fullmer, Plan Commission chairman. “Countryside has such a wide variety of lot depths and widths that it just can’t be a one brush for all [policy]. It just can’t happen.”

The city has received few complaints about the 30-foot standard since it was adopted in 2001, Fullmer said. But a resident in the city’s second ward recently planned to build a home right at the 30-foot line until being persuaded to build it in line with the existing homes on the block, which are set back much farther. 

In addition to Countryside’s varied lot sizes, Fullmer said he supports reverting the setback code because it seemed to work before it was changed. 

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