Paradise Valley town staff are using the summer to discuss potential changes to the Town Code regarding building pads with the Planning Commission.
Town Engineer Paul Mood presented a list of discussion points at the Town Council’s June 25 meeting, saying any recommendations from the Planning Commission would come before the Town Council for discussion. The commission will review the bullet points and provide feedback on any potential changes to the Town Code or the Community Development Department’s procedures.
The list for Planning Commission discussion Mr. Mood presented consisted of:
The Town Council has discussed the building pad portion of the Town Code at a Jan. 23 meeting and a May 14 meeting. Mr. Mood’s list is based on those discussions and points councilmembers brought forward. Mr. Mood clarified the public would be part of the discussions with the Planning Commission.
The Town Code, per staff’s interpretation, allows homes to have at most 2 feet of earthen fill or at least 1 foot above the surface water elevation of the 100-year flood, a flood in a land area with a 1% probability of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. Earthen fill is defined as natural dirt, rocks or a combination of the two.
For sloped lots, builders can further add on top of the pad with non-earthen materials as a way to level the land. Staff has interpreted this part of the code to say there is no limit to non-earthen fill.
Both the pad and potential non-earthen fill do not increase the height of the house, which the town sets at 24 feet from the lowest natural grade.
One practice Paradise Valley homebuilders choose is building houses on the mountain, which bring a non-earthen wedge such as a two-sack slurry or a retaining wall to level the home on the slope. Others prefer building into the mountain, resulting in less of a wedge and a lower finished floor level.
The Planning Commission has two meetings scheduled for August. The group will meet on Aug. 4 and on Aug. 18.