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Town Square

Should Atherton curtail large basements, or ease up on the restrictions?

Original post made by Richard Hine, editor of The Almanac, on Mar 10, 2007

When is a basement big enough? In recent years, Atherton has put some restrictions on basement construction, prohibiting basements under accessory structures and limiting the size to the footprint of the main house. Basement garages have also divided opinions in town, with some residents criticizing the aesthetics and others saying that hiding a garage underground improves the look of a property.
Atherton homeowners' enthusiasm for basements also figures in the recent controversy over potential fire hazards in the town. While homeowners may enjoy the bonus square footage they get from basements, firefighters generally view them as potential death traps.
It's likely that the Atherton City Council will be revisiting some of the restrictions on basements in the coming months. Should Atherton continue to curtail the development of very large basements, or should it ease up on the restrictions?
To see related stories:
-- "Digging in -- Residents' penchant for underground construction has Atherton officials up to their necks in controversy" Web Link
-- "Carpenter: Basement conversions are 'fire traps' " Web Link
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Posted by Amy
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 19, 2007 at 5:11 pm

My house has a big basement and all I can say is, who cares? If no one can see it then it is not an eyesore. The basement is a great place for storage and keeps our house better insulated during the winter. While I am not a fireman, I can say that the # of house fires in Atherton, or even the Bay Area, is so small that the worries concerning fire are rather antiquated.