New design standards for houses built on small lots could be put in place soon.

The Westbrook City Council gave preliminary approval Monday to design standards that would require houses built on lots that are smaller than the current minimum size, to match the other houses in their neighborhoods.

The city took up the issue of setting new standards for homes on small lots after councilors received complaints that homes being built on so-called substandard lots of record were destroying the character of neighborhoods.

By ordinance, the city requires homes to be built on 7,500-square-foot lots in the Residential Growth Area 1, which generally applies to the downtown area. However, the city has allowed homes to be built on 5,000-square-foot lots, if they were subdivided before the new lot minimum was adopted.

The proposed new standards require houses to be set farther back from the front and rear of the lot, porches to be built facing the street, the height of the house to match the average of those in the neighborhood, the pitch of the roof to match those on abutting properties and at least one tree to be planted on the property.

Councilor John O’Hara asked city staff to add more landscaping requirements before the Council takes a final vote on XXXXXXXX.

The preliminary approval Monday was unanimous.

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