Building Heights: Here’s the Deep Dive

Early this month, Kevin McHugh resigned as the chair of the Port Orford Planning Commission for health reasons. It was an appointment he’d held for some years, shepherding the commission through a wide variety of tasks, from revising the Municipal Code to reviewing permit applications from citizens. The final, and perhaps most consequential for Port Orford, was the commission’s consideration of building height for new construction.

Below is McHugh’s personal testimony on that subject, submitted for the public hearing record.

Highlights from the letter include these statements:

  • In August, the City Council moved aggressively to preserve the small town ambience enjoyed by Port Orford residents.
  • The Planning Commission failed the Council by not adopting wording that satisfied Council’s instructions. This failure should not go without public comment.
  • Any claim that changing allowable building heights in all zones harms property values is unsupported by the facts. Building height has no direct effect on the value of developed OR undeveloped land in the city.
  • It is not in the best interest of the city of Port Orford for land to be held in speculation of greater profitability. This reduces the taxable base, pushes development into less desirable areas, and handicaps orderly growth.
  • Public safety is the most important consideration when setting allowable building height.