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When are Story Poles Required?

Story poles may be required by the City to allow review authorities and the public an opportunity to evaluate the potential visual effects of new development prior to construction. Story poles are typically required for hillside development, to illustrate the potential bulk, mass, grading and tree removal of proposed construction when viewed from adjacent properties, or a large area of the community.


Story poles shall be placed in a manner, which accurately depicts a proposed structure(s) location, mass, bulk, height, and other relevant information prior to action on a development application. The following guidelines shall be used for story pole placement and documentation:

  • Story pole placement may be as simple as placing several wooden poles at the perimeter of the proposed structure or a more complex arrangement of poles that are connected by construction barrier tape or similar material to illustrate the ridge lines and full massing of the structure.
  • Additional information may be required such as placing markings on the poles to note finish grade, finish floor height, parapet or eave height and maximum height of roof, and/or structure’s footprint outlined on the ground.
  • A reduced size site plan exhibit (no larger than 11” x 17”) shall be provided to City staff showing the location of story poles placement on the site. A simple roof plan outline shall also be indicated, along with height of story poles placed at building corners, eaves and maximum roof ridge.
  • Story poles shall be photographed to document the location of the poles from various vantage points approved in consultation with City staff. The photographs will serve as part of the record for visual assessment of the project.
  • The applicant shall install story poles and provide all required information at least 10 days prior to the scheduled hearing date.
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