National News

Community voices concerns about 'tall and skinny' homes

Posted October 27, 2017 12:31 p.m. EDT

— Tall and skinny. In one case, some don't believe that's such a good thing. We're talking about those tall, skinny houses popping up around the city. One community is airing their concerns about a growing trend.

"They're concerned about the future look and feel and livability of the community," said Sheri Weiner, who represents District 22 of the Metro Council. The district covers Bellevue.

Weiner described tall skinnies as homes at least one-and-a-half times as tall as they are wide.

She said there are not any tall skinnies in Bellevue now. She said she also hasn't been approached about any rezoning or plans for tall skinnies either.

In a place of so much construction and change, Weiner said people still believe the arrival of tall skinnies in Bellevue could be just a matter of time. She said that's why she held a teach-in at Cross Point Church on Thursday night. She looked to address all questions she got about tall skinnies.

"What does it do to home values and the ability of people to stay in their homes, to stay in their neighborhoods as those home values continue to increase?" Weiner asked.

Neighbors in Sylvan Park Thursday said they've watched their property values go up. Neighbors were split between liking the look of progress and those who believe the area has lost its history.

Weiner said she's neutral on the issue, citing property rights. She said she understands the concerns of Bellevue residents but can also see some benefits.

"If the property owner decided they wanted to tear it down and build two nicer homes in its place, if neighbors are okay with that, it beats an eyesore I keep getting calls about," she said.

Weiner added, if a neighborhood's united against tall skinnies, there's something they can do.

"Every home owner in the neighborhood would have to agree to be in what we call a contextual overlay," she said. "Get me a petition specifying that's what you'd like with a signature and address of every homeowner in the area. Then, we'll gather a community meeting. We'll make sure we have everybody on board. Then, it can be filed with planning and zoning. Metro Planning Commission would hear it, and it'd go to council."