Tonight: Woodside council considers basement ordinance


The Woodside Town Council will consider tonight (Jan. 26) formal definitions for several below-ground residential structures, including basements, below-grade patios, egress/light wells and tunnels. An ordinance before the council would amend sections of the town's municipal code that are currently silent on underground structures.

The council meets at 7:30 p.m. in Independence Hall at 2955 Woodside Road.

The proposed ordinance includes the following provisions:

■ No more than 50 percent of a basement would be allowed outside the footprint of the building above it.

■ The maximum excavation depth for a basement would be 20 feet.

■ Parts of a basement not located beneath a structure would require at least three feet of soil above.

■ As a whole, patios and egress/light wells cannot exceed 15 percent of basement grading.

■ The 15 percent limit also applies to tunnels, which are defined as 8 feet wide and 9 feet high when finished.

■ Basements within property line setbacks would be allowed under certain circumstances, such as under so-called nonconforming structures – buildings on smaller parcels where normal setback requirements cannot be met.

Basement code amendments are the last item on a crowded agenda.

The council has scheduled two discussions for tonight: on a policy about residents being members of more than one council advisory committee, and on requesting proposals for consulting architects to assist residents in preparing construction plans consistent with residential design guidelines.

Also before the council are an ordinance that would add Woodside to the membership of a county-wide initiative to provide community residents with an alternative to Pacific Gas & Electric as a provider of electricity, and an ordinance on water-efficient landscaping, including a requirement to cover outdoor pools and spas.

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2 people like this
Posted by request
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 26, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Can someone please propose term limits for certain committees? 5 years?

Like this comment
Posted by What???
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 26, 2016 at 5:32 pm

Up to 50% of a basement outside the footprint of the house? Really?

20% seems more reasonable. The basement shouldn't be larger than the entire house.

I wish someone had told me to propose a huge basement when we were doing our renovation to get around the ridiculous other guidelines. It shouldn't be a full-time sleuthing job to figure out the basics of what you can do or not.

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