LaGrange approves vinyl siding amendment, considering grandfathered exception for ongoing developments

Published 9:17 am Thursday, October 12, 2023

LaGrange has modified its unified development ordinance (UDO) to allow vinyl siding for home remodels to existing houses, but it’s still mostly banned for new construction. A proposed change would allow grandfathered use for previously approved development projects.   

On Tuesday evening, the LaGrange City Council approved a text amendment to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) that will allow vinyl siding to be used for renovating dilapidated homes.

Previously, the UDO only allowed vinyl siding on soffits, gables, eves and around window trim. Vinyl can also be used to replace existing vinyl that was unintentionally damaged.

The city began discussing the issue in July when it was discovered that a resident had used vinyl siding to renovate a home, which was against code at the time. At the time, several council members suggested that the UDO be amended to allow vinyl siding to be used to renovate existing houses – especially blighted ones.

The council later voted unanimously to approve a recommendation from the planning commission to allow vinyl siding for renovations of single-family detached homes, two-family dwellings and attached homes within Traditional Neighborhood Residential (TN-R) zoning districts.

Prior to the vote, during the morning work session, the council discussed another wrinkle in the vinyl siding code. The UDO currently forbids vinyl siding on all new construction, including developments that were approved before the UDO was adopted.

The developer of The Grove Homes on Northwoods Drive asked the council to consider allowing vinyl siding to fill in the remainder of approximately 50 homes that were planned for the development before the passage of the UDO.

The developer stated that they have delayed building out the remainder of the planned homes, not only because of significant cost differences but because the newer homes would not match the rest of the community.

The homes would cost an additional $4,500 each using Hardie board rather than vinyl, the developer said.

“This is a big issue when you’re trying to get houses under the $200,000 price range. That’s what everybody wants us to build, and that what’s needed. Every thousand dollars helps,” she said. 

Several councilmen voiced support for amending the UDO to allow previously approved developments to be grandfathered in and allowed to use vinyl siding to complete their projects and match the rest of the neighborhood.

The change would only allow previously planned homes to use vinyl and not expansions of current developments.

“It should only be for in fills, in my opinion,” Councilman Jim Arrington suggested.

Mayor Willie Edmondson instructed city staff to work on an amended ordinance for the council’s consideration that would allow ongoing developments with vinyl siding to be grandfathered in and allowed to complete the projects using vinyl.