Monday, March 25, 2013

A Tale of Four Old Town Additions

On the west side of North Loomis between Mountain and LaPorte are four old houses. All four houses have had additions built on to expand the amount of livable space. But one of these additions is not like the others.

4 Houses on North Loomis - Aerial view thanks to Google Maps
Looking at an aerial view is a helpful way to get a sense of the mass and scale of a house in comparison to the houses around it. The houses shown above are all over 100 years old with additions added at various times since then. These four houses are bounded by alleys to the north and south (in other words, there's an alley along the bottom of the photo (south) and another alley along the top (north)).

131 N. Loomis

Originally built in 1895, this house was most recently remodeled in 2000. With 1,656 square feet of building space on a 9,601 square foot lot, the building floor space is equivalent to 17% of the lot size. Under "The Good Neighbor Ordinance" that the city council passed in early March, the owners of this house could still add another 1,514 square feet of above ground floor space. This house currently has no basement listed in the county records. Because basement floor space is not counted under this ordinance (unless the ceiling of the basement is over 3 feet above ground level), the home owners could also add 1,656 square feet of basement space under the existing house for a grand total of 4,826 square feet of livable space allowed under the new ordinance (with 250 square feet of that space being used to add a garage in the back yard). 

127 N. Loomis

Originally built in 1910, this house hasn't been remodeled since 1976. There is 1,346 square feet of above ground floor space, 536 square feet in the basement and another 744 square feet in the large garage out back for an above ground total of 2,636 square feet of building space -equivalent to 22% of the 9,554 square foot lot. Under "The Good Neighbor Ordinance" that the city council recently passed, the homeowners could add another 525 square feet above ground as well as 810 square feet of basement space under the existing house for a total of 4,507 square feet of livable space allowed under the new ordinance. (If they were to add basement space under a 525 square foot addition, then the total livable space would be 5,032 square feet.) 
123 N. Loomis

Originally built in 1882 (and therefore the oldest of these four houses), an addition was added in 1995. With 2,626 square feet of floor space on a 9,602 square foot lot, the house covers 22% of the lot. Under the new ordinance, this house could still add another 554 square feet of above ground building space. If the homeowners were to expand their current 552 square foot basement to the size of the house plus addition, they could expand their housing space to a grand total of approximately 4,370 square feet
119 N. Loomis

Originally built in 1900, this house has the most recent addition, which was added in 2007. The house has 3,105 square feet of floor space. The backyard has two garages, one of which fits two cars and is 500 square feet in size. The other only holds one car and is 240 square feet. This adds up to 4,744 square feet of housing space (not including the 1915 square feet of basement space, only 899 square feet of which is usable) on a 9,620 square foot lot. With the addition, this house reaches the 40% FAR (floor area ratio) that used to be the limit for houses on a lot this size in the low density residential zone. (If the home owners had added on to a house just across the street, which is in the medium density residential zone) they could have built out the house to be 50% of the lot size.) Under the new ordinance, an addition of this size would not be allowed. With a maximum allowed above ground floor space of 3,174 square feet, this house is 570 square feet over the new limit. (The ordinance is not retroactive, however. So the home owners will be able to leave their addition as is.) If the home owners were to have begun their project now instead of 5 years ago, they would have had to add more livable basement space (with less above ground building) in order to meet the requirements of the new ordinance. This would give them the same amount of overall space while affecting their neighbors less. 

So of these four houses, 3 still have room to expand under the new ordinance that was approved by the city council on March 5th, 2013. One, however, would have to be creatively redesigned if it were to be built today. 

Three of the four houses can be seen in this photo.
119 N. Loomis is the White house taking up the left half of the photo.

The aerial view of the block was taken from Google Maps.
All dates and house size information was taken from the Larimer County Assessor's Website