Depending on the size of a property, the town of Woodside limits the amount of floor area of residences above ground to maximums of 3,000, 4,000 and 6,000 square feet. The town has had no limits on the size of basements, however.
With a significant uptick in 2015 in the number of applications to build basements, and with designs that are increasingly sophisticated and massive, including tunnels connecting underground rooms, the Town Council will be considering an ordinance tonight (Feb. 9) that would set some limits.
The council meets at 7:30 p.m. in Independence Hall at 2955 Woodside Road.
The new ordinance would amend sections of the town's municipal code that are currently silent on underground structures, including basements, below-grade patios, egress/light wells and tunnels.
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.
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