Golden Valley Discusses Balancing Lot Size with Home Size
How big is too big when it comes to home size?
The Golden Valley Planning Commission discussed how to balance the need to preserve neighborhood integrity with a growing demand of families wanting larger homes. Protecting neighborhood character by revamping housing code is one of the city’s priorities this year.
Golden Valley resident Maggie Bostrom has been frustrated because a house she considers too big was built right next door to hers.
“It’s basically four stories back when you come around and take a look,” Bostrom said.
Bostrom says the new home built in 2018 just isn’t the right fit for the lot. And she’s not happy about it. “I cried. A couple times friends came over and I just cried like a baby when the walls started going up and the sunlight started going down,” said Bostrom.
Jason Zimmerman is the Golden Valley planning manager. He says the city is sympathetic to Bostrom as well as to people who want to stay in Golden Valley and build a larger home that fits their family.
One of Golden Valley’s priorities this year includes protecting neighborhood character by revamping housing code.
“Now is the time to get a drill down for these narrower lots and look at do we have the right regulations in place?” Zimmerman said. “Whether it’s setbacks, height, other things. Maybe it’s time to tweak some of those.”
There are 602 narrow lots in the city. A narrow lot is considered 65 feet wide or less. Most are in the northwest part of the city, close to the Golden Valley Country Club. For Golden Valley, it’s all a question of balance. How do you maintain neighborhood integrity while keeping the city attractive to families who want larger homes?
Kristen Pavek lives in a home on a 40-foot lot with her family. “We’ve never felt like our backyard is lacking,” Pavek said. She likes her backyard and enjoys being across the street from Theodore Wirth Park. “The draw here wasn’t the large lot, but being close to the city and being close to a park that’s the size of Central Park.”
But there is a drawback to a smaller footprint and what you can build on it. “Our house doesn’t have a garage,” Pavek said. “We can’t have a garage unless it has 2 stories because there’s no alley…so we have cars parked outside. With our house on the market, the reason it’s not selling is because it doesn’t have a garage.”
Pavek believes larger homes on smaller lots are inevitable as the sprawling Twin Cities metro area continues to expand. She is positive that there’s a way for the city to hear and value everyone’s opinion. “I would rather have dense houses that have a place to park than have no parking and single stories on 4o-foot lots.”
The Golden Valley planning commission discussed the issue last week. To listen to the full discussion, click here.