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Hermiston Changes Code To Allow For Taller Buildings

OPB | March 26, 2014 3:34 p.m. | Updated: March 27, 2014 3:15 p.m. | Bend, Oregon

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Eastern Oregon’s largest city could be getting a bit taller over the next few years.  This week the city council in Hermiston approved a 40 percent increase in the maximum allowable height for buildings in its commercial zones.

Hermiston business district

Hermiston business district

Williamborg / Flickr

Clint Spencer heads Hermiston’s planning department.  He says the city had already granted a number of variances to the previous height limit of 35 feet. 

Developers can now build as high as 50 feet.  He says the city’s planning commission requested the change in response to what’s been a growing trend in the hotel industry - buildings that are four stories, rather than three.

“And we’ve identified that there’s quite a bit of need for additional hotel space in Hermiston and the variances we’ve done in the past have been for hotels.  So it definitely makes sense with what we’re seeing,” said Spencer.

Spencer says while the previous height limit was designed with low density development in mind - he says there was another more practical reason. 

He says for many years the ladders on the city’s fire trucks could only reach as high as 35 feet.  New equipment, however, has extended that reach to 70 feet.

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