The Evanston Plan Commission tonight is scheduled to review a city staff proposal that would dramatically reduce the options for most homeowners to expand their homes.
The city now limits the height of buildings in residential zones R1 through R3 to a maximum of 35 feet, or two-and-a-half stories, whichever is less.
For slope-roofed houses height is measured from the ground to a point halfway up the roof slope.
Under the proposed change height would be measured from the ground to the roof peak — which could knock as much as seven feet from allowed peak height of a building and substantially reduce the usable space on the top floor.
The changes would also add new restrictions to the shape of the top half story of a structure, requiring that it use knee walls no more than 3-feet high and barring the use of mansard and gambrel roof types to gain extra height.
And it would reduce the permitted size of side dormers to no more than 30 percent of the length of a wall from the 50 percent permitted now.
On the other hand, the changes would eliminate height penalties now imposed on existing lots that are below current zoning size regulations — permitting owners of those homes to build as high as their neighbors with bigger lots.
Top: An illustration showing the proposed new dormer limits.
Update 7/13/12: After a brief discussion late Wednesday evening, the Plan Commission postponed any action on the proposal until its next meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 8.