Author: Ryan

Ryan Stanley is an armchair anthropologist who writes to us from Juneau, Alaska.

Approved, Unaminous

After what seemed like a long meeting (and a longer past four weeks), the Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve our Conditional Use Permit. This means we can continue construction, on the *whole* house, as designed, starting right now.

It is clear that our neighbors are losing a cherished view. This view, above our old house and past the 10-foot setback, was one they came to love, but don’t own. As they put it in their public statement, one day they got out of bed and instead of the view there was the side of our roof.

Their emotion doesn’t let them see that any house built to modern code on our lot would take away that view. Instead, as shown in the pic in my previous post, the only view they have any legitimate claim over is the one within that 10-foot setback which is filtered by a tree, and as the Planning Commission agreed, the loss of which is not excessive.

Outside of the setback our zoning height limit is 35-feet. Had we sold the lot, any developer would probably have gone higher than what we built, which is only up to 23-feet. And any single family home, with code heighted ceilings, would block the neighbor’s view. Through the city’s code there’s no recourse for anyone wanting to prevent a neighbor from building as high as zoning allows.

It gave me no pleasure to hear our neighbors speak, and I truly feel bad that the needs of my family negatively effect another. It’s not fair that a fire burned the Basin Road house, not fair that it destroyed ours, and not fair that it took another neighbor’s view. But the fact is, the view they cherished is outside of the setback, not part of the equation, and would be blocked by any new structure on the lot.

Keeping my emotions together at the meeting was difficult, especially seeing how many people came out to support us. The room was full of friendly faces, many of whom spoke in our favor. And even more of you signed our letters and wrote your own letters to the Commission. I could tell they read them and the community outpouring certainly made a difference.

So thank you all and we’re looking forward to getting this show back on the road! 🙂