During City Council’s meeting this past Tuesday, December 13th, a presentation by one of the council members got other council members thinking. A proposed ordinance was to be voted on that day, but it was demonstrated that it was flawed and needed to be rewritten. Bump-outs are a decorative architectural feature in home construction. They are also a way to expand a home while legally “encroaching” into the setback. In Sea Isle, they can be as wide as 8 feet and can jut out as far as 18 or 24 inches from the house, depending on the size of the lot. Not only do they enhance the exterior of a home but make a significant difference inside by creating a feeling of a much wider space.
Zoning laws in Sea Isle currently allow bump-outs only in side yards. That is fine for inside lots. It is the corner lots that suffer under the proposed ordinance. The way corner lots are configured facing the street, they have only one side yard. Currently, that side of the house, which is the most visible, can’t have bump-outs. It is one long flat wall and has zero appeal. Below is a good example of a 56th and Pleasure home with bump outs on its street side wall.
Some water front properties would also benefit by allowing bump outs in all side yards. After all, isn’t architectural beauty something we should want to have in our community? Big boxy homes have been built on the island and they are “not” a sight for sore eyes. We don’t need any more of those. I hope all architects and builders take advantage of bump outs as much as possible.
All this arose out of the “much ado about nothing” complaints from a minority of taxpayers many moons ago about Monster Houses which obviously still isn’t completely resolved. Maybe after this hopefully last fallout is corrected, we will finally be at a good place again and be done with it.