Champaign considering homebuilding rules change

August 7, 2018 by  

When is a house too large for its lot? That is the question Champaign will be discussing, after residents banded together to urge changes to the rules allowing people to build gigantic homes on small lots.

Resident Mike Reed and some of his neighbors started a group they are calling No Giant Houses. They oppose building huge homes on smaller parcels, many located in central Champaign.

Reed and his friends’ objections are based on the fact that the new, much-larger homes are dwarfing the smaller, older residences already located in the neighborhood, plus they are taking up more than their share of open space.

Champaign officials have been considering the issue. One of the city’s planners, Eric Van Buskirk, says making changes to the rules governing home building will have a wider impact than just one neighborhood, so they are looking at the effects citywide. Early this year the council voted down a proposal that would have allowed new construction to create homes approximately 43% larger than currently permitted on the typical small lot.

Van Buskirk says one solution being proposed is to change the way house size is measured. Currently, a floor-area ratio is used, which considers the lot size in connection with the home’s square footage. He would like to change to lot-coverage, which considers the building’s footprint, and what percentage of the lot it covers.

Officials dealing with issues like this can use flyer printing to keep residents informed.