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Floor Area Ratio — Examples

Posted by on February 14, 2013

The following is a list of houses on the west side of Old Town, Fort Collins that were built within the last 10 years or so. I took information on each house from the county property database and entered it into each table. I then calculated how these houses fit into the current FAR (Floor Area Ratio) rules and how they would fit into the new FAR rules if they are passed by City Council. There has been a lot of debate about whether the proposed FAR restrictions would be too restrictive to new building. I only have one house here that passed both with the current FAR and the proposed FAR. I suspect most new builds would pass under both, but my goal in this study was to find the outliers – the extraordinarily large houses that have been put up recently in Old Town.

To read more about the FAR and what it all means, check out my previous post on the topic – The Sadler House and the Proposed New FAR Rules.

I’m not entirely sure I did the calculations correctly on these houses. The consultants put out a list of houses that did and didn’t pass under the proposed FAR regulations. You can see their document via Google Drive.

(This post is subject to change as I add houses, correct data, or better explain what it’s all about. :-} Please bear with the changing nature of this post. I don’t usually modify things once they’re posted, but this is one of those posts that I wanted to get out there even before it was really finished. Feel free to comment on things that don’t seem to be accurate. I’d rather have the data correct than have a glaring mistake.)

730mountain

730 W. Mountain

Lot: 5878 ft2
House: 2960 ft2
Basement: 1414 ft2
Garage: 576 ft2
N-C-L Allowed Actual
Current Method 40% or 2351 ft2 60% or 3536 ft2
*Fail*
Proposed Method 20% + 1250 ft2
or 2426 ft2 total
2960 ft2
*Fail*
Notes:Detached Garage. Basement may be more than 3 feet above ground level. The above figures do not include basement square footage. If the basement is indeed 3 feet or more above ground, then the 1414 of square footage in the basement would also need to be counted under the proposed FAR.
730mountain-aerial 730mountain-side
<– The house is on a corner lot, which is why it looks like it is jammed to the right and back of the lot.

The house has three stories and an additional full basement that extends out under the porch.

 


 

309ssherwood

309 S. Sherwood

Lot: 9500 ft2
House: 3653 ft2
Basement: 0 ft2
Garage: 575 ft2
N-C-M Allowed Actual
Current Method 50% or 4750 ft2 45% or 4228 ft2
*Pass*
Proposed Method 25% + 1000 ft2
or 3375 ft2 total
4228 ft2
*Fail*
Notes:Detached Garage. Basement may be more than 3 feet above ground level. The above figures do not include basement square footage. If the basement is indeed 3 feet or more above ground, then the 1414 of square footage in the basement would also need to be counted under the proposed FAR.
309ssherwood-aerial
309ssherwood-backside
In this photo you can see how the back of the house looms higher than the neighboring house on the right hand side.

 


 

425wood

425 Wood Street

Lot: 8602 ft2
House: 3842 ft2
Basement: 1803 ft2
Garage: 588 ft2
N-C-M Allowed Actual
Current Method 50% or 4301 ft2 45% or 3842 ft2
*Pass*
Proposed Method 25% + 1000 ft2
or 3151 ft2 total
3842 ft2
*Fail*
Notes: According to a City planner that I’ve talked to, the reason the house looks larger than it pencils out to on paper is that when a room is vaulted — two stories high — then the space taken up by that second story isn’t included in the square footage. It’s essentially free space. So the building looks bigger from the outside due the room that balloons upward, but the square footage doesn’t reflect that.
425wood-aerial
425wood-northside
425wood-firstfloorcontext
425wood-southside In the photo with the basketball hoop, The northernmost house on the block is the white with blue trim house on the left. The next house over is the maroon with green trim that can be seen behind the basketball hoop. 425 Wood is the third house down the block and is substantially larger than the houses to either side of it, as can be seen in the second photo, which shows the the houses to either side are significantly shorter than the first story of the 425 Wood house.

The photo to the left shows the south side of the house with a couple of patios as it looms over the house next to it (which is in the lower right corner in shadow in this photo).

 


 

321wood

321 Wood Street

Lot: 8529 ft2
House: 2651 ft2
Basement: 1396 ft2
Garage: 600 ft2
N-C-M Allowed Actual
Current Method 50% or 4265 ft2 38% or 3251 ft2
*Pass*
Proposed Method 25% + 1250 ft2
or 3382 ft2 total
3251 ft2
*Pass*
Notes:Detached Garage.
321wood-aerial

 


 

317wood

317 Wood Street

Lot: 8529 ft2
House: 2856 ft2
Basement: 1434 ft2
Garage: 600 ft2
N-C-M Allowed Actual
Current Method 50% or 4265 ft2 38% or 3456 ft2
*Pass*
Proposed Method 25% + 1250 ft2
or 3382 ft2 total
3456 ft2
*Fail*
Notes:Detached Garage. This house was built in 2010 and is a rental property. The owners of this house live in Alaska.
317wood-aerial

 


 

210jackson

210 Jackon Avenue

Lot: 14125 ft2
House: 3670 ft2
Basement: 1239 ft2
Garage: 480 ft2
N-C-L Allowed Actual
Current Method 40% or 5650 ft2 29% or 4150 ft2
*Pass*
Proposed Method 20% + 1250 ft2
or 4075 ft2 total
4150 ft2
*Fail*
Notes:Detached Garage.
210jackson-aerial
210jackson-northside
The last photo shows the northside of the new house as seen from the street. The house that was at the 210 Jackson address before the new building was located entirely behind the corner house. As you can see in the photo, it now stands out dramatically behind the older neighboring structure.

 


 

400jackson

400 Jackon Avenue

Lot: 10607 ft2
House: 3480 ft2
Basement: 1574 ft2
Garage: 812 ft2
N-C-L Allowed Actual
Current Method 40% or 4243 ft2 40.4% or 4292 ft2
*Marginal*
Proposed Method 20% + 1000 ft2
or 3121 ft2 total
4292 ft2
*Fail*
Notes:Attached Garage.  This house appears to be a rental. The owners are listed as living at a different address within Fort Collins.
400jackson-aerial

 


 

227nwhitcomb

227 N. Whitcomb

Lot: 6377 ft2
House: 1836 ft2+ 440 ft2 Loft Space
Basement: 0 ft2
Garage: 572 ft2
N-C-M Allowed Actual
Current Method 50% or 3189 ft2 45% or 2848 ft2
*Pass*
Proposed Method 25% + 1250 ft2
or 2844 ft2 total
2848 ft2
*Marginal*
Notes:Detached Garage.

I think this house is particularly interesting when you compare the façade of this building with the surrounding buildings, and then compare the size of this building with the surrounding buildings, particularly with the house 3 doors south of it (the long green house in the photo below). 227 N. Whitcomb stands out like a sore thumb on this block because it is so tall compared to the rest of the houses on the block. And yet it is smaller in overall living space than the building at 221 N. Whitcomb, which goes a little further back (227 also starts closer to the street by a few feet, which make 221 look even longer in comparison than it really is) and which uses the basement as a means of increasing living space. So while it’s FAR remains low, It has over 3000 square feet of living space and fits in with the neighboring houses much better.

227nwhitcomb-aerialcontext
227whitcomb-context

 

 

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