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Pitched roof for Resort Housing District approved

By Staff | Oct 4, 2017

The Planning Commission approved a recommendation amending the Land Development Code for a pitched roof in the Resort Housing District.

The proposal includes height limits for buildings to accommodate a 4:12 pitched roof on three story multifamily buildings built in the Resort Housing District, as well as articulation of facades and roofs to establish a limitation on the amount of total roof area that can be devoted to a flat roof.

Planning Director James Jordan said staff went to City Council to recommend changes to the Architectural Design Standards that were adopted in 2016. The standards, he said dealt primarily with commercial buildings, resort buildings, institutional buildings and multifamily buildings.

“Back earlier this summer we had a developer who came in proposing to redevelop 46 units existing resort use on the beach. One of the things that we found that was in conflict with that particular plan was to get the buildings and the number of units on that site, all of the buildings would have to be three-story buildings,” Jordan said. “Now the code allows for three story buildings above flood, but the Architectural Design Standard states that each building has to have a pitched roof. That is where the conflict really lies because what happens in the Resort Housing District and anywhere on the Gulf is over the years the flood elevation has increased making the buildings actually have to be higher than what they were 15-20 years ago.”

The average height was around 12 feet, compared to 18 feet today.

Jordan said what they thought would make sense atheistically was not to have the flat roofs.

The 4:12 pitched roof does not increase the area of the building, height, or volume of the building. Jordan said the peaked area of the roof could not be used for storage, habitual space, heat, or air-conditioning.

Commissioner Chris Heidrick said for the sake of architectural features, they are willing to increase the height requirement, which is essentially the question they are faced with.

“There is no question whatsoever, a pitched shape roof will perform much better in a storm than a flat roof. In fact insurance companies give credits, this is just residential properties, to a pitch shaped roof,” he said. “If it’s going to make these properties safer and perform better and withstand hurricanes better, in my opinion I think we should do it.”

Heidrick said three elevated floors and the footprint is all they have.

“This is not adding any usable space. All it is doing is changing the shape of the roof in the way that it will perform better against a storm,” he said.

Chairman Phillip Marks said he thinks with their experience with Hurricane Charley those roofs that were “flat” were the ones that suffered the most damage. He said he thinks a pitched roof increases architecture interests and aesthetics.

Vice Chairman Holly Smith asked why they are not incorporating other properties, such as Mariner Point, which is located outside of the Resort Housing District.

“We have passed something before that affected the Resort Housing District only and we had to go back and kind of add in some of the other areas that were kind of unintentionally left out. So, I was wondering why we are only limiting it to Resort Housing when there are other areas that could be affected? Why aren’t we including them now, so it’s not something we have to look back at later,” Smith asked.

Jordan said the standards that have been adopted to date have only been for the Resort Housing District. He said where the use is outside of the district the same provisions are not permitted outside of the code because they are not conforming uses because they could go away.

Smith asked if she could have a list of how many could be affected outside of the Resort Housing District.

“This is not anything that was a mistake, or oversight. This is what the code requires. It does not allow you to further a nonconforming use, unless that use is changed, the use permitted in the district it is located,” Jordan said.