Sunset Hills moves to prohibit pier-based structures


By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

The Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen voted 7-1 Nov. 9 to prohibit the use of piers, posts, pilings and columns when elevating primary structures in residential districts. Ward 2 Alderman Casey Wong was the lone no vote.

The ordinance does not prohibit the use of restricted methods when addressing additions to primary structures like sunrooms, as long as city staff approves. The floodplain management program requires structures constructed in the 100-year flood plain to be elevated at least 2 feet above the base flood elevation — acceptable methods under the new ordinance would include fill or foundation construction.

Prior to the passing of this ordinance, there were no restrictions on construction methods for home elevation. 

Two citizens submitted public comments opposing the ordinance Oct. 12 due to the vagueness and potential contradiction with the floodplain management program.

“It would effectively eliminate the ability of all property owners in the 100-year flood plain to satisfy the floodplain management program appendix E requirement,” Jeff Briesemeister stated in a submitted public comment. “It would be impossible to meet these requirements and would effectively destroy the property value for citizens who own properties that must meet these conditions.”

Joe Mueller stated in a submitted public comment the restriction would bring a bad reputation to the city for people looking to buy homes, and the property value would fall.

The city’s effort to prohibit piers began in September at the planning commission level, mostly in an effort to limit the amount of pier structures of houses to be elevated in the near future.