September 16, 2015
Community Development Director Doug Self
Planning & Zoning Administrator Ashley Koehler
Planning & Grants Technician Annie Decker
Commission Chair Chris Valiante
Commission Vice Chair Larry Young
Commissioner Lindsey Love
Commissioner Douglas Rey
Commissioner Grant Wilson
Dear Driggs Planning and Zoning Commission,
The City of Driggs has done an excellent job with the code revision process. However, one point of concern is that the building height restrictions appear too high and out of character with downtown Driggs. In the DX zone, a building height limit of four stories, or 50’ (along with a 2 story, 24’ height minimum) and three to three-and-a-half stories, or 35’ to 40’ in the other mixed use zones and residential areas would be taller than most buildings in town. The existing scale within the downtown core is comprised almost entirely of one and two story buildings. A four story building adjacent to a two story building, or a three story house adjacent to a ranch house causes a sense of discontinuity in the landscape.
A common best practice for building design is that new buildings should appear to be in scale with the established context of existing buildings. While we understand that increasing density in downtown Driggs is a key priority, there are ways to create a better street edge character as well as building mass and scale. For instance, rather than a sheer 50’ street wall height, a building could be sculpted in ways that convey scale at the street level with upper levels offset. Another design feature to consider is the horizontal alignment of a building to create a sense of visual relatedness among buildings by extending façade lines along the block with moldings, cornices, or other details. The code otherwise is great, but perhaps Driggs should consider limiting downtown and residential height restrictions to two stories for now as a placeholder and revisit the issue of height, scale, and design at a six month check in.
Brendan P. Conboy
Program and Development Associate