snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Legal Affairs

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 19 June 2009, 02:38 AM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is online now
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 108,384
Icon13 St. Louis buildings can't be taller than the Arch

Comment: I have heard it oft repeated that there is a law stating that no
building in St. Louis may be taller than the Gateway Arch. However, I
cannot find any reference to the actual law. Is this true, or just an
urban legend?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 19 June 2009, 02:23 PM
RealityChuck's Avatar
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
 
Join Date: 14 November 2003
Location: Schenectady, NY
Posts: 1,329
Default

Here is the St. Louis Zoning code. There are height restrictions, but no specific mention of the arch. Height for commercial buildings is governed by the size of the block their on. Without knowing the size of a particular block, it's hard to determine whether a building could be built bigger than the Arch under the law.

However, there is this rule for the Jefferson District:

Quote:
The height regulations are the same as those in the I central business district except that in no instance shall any portion of a building or structure including all appurtenances and super structures thereon, exceed a mean sea level elevation of seven hundred fifty-one (751) feet.
The Gateway Arch is 630 feet, with a city elevation of 465 feet. That would mean this restriction would keep building smaller than the arch.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 19 June 2009, 02:34 PM
DawnStorm's Avatar
DawnStorm DawnStorm is offline
 
Join Date: 11 March 2003
Location: Montgomery County, MD
Posts: 12,659
United States

It's said that no building in Washington DC can be higher than the Washington Monument, but I think that's a UL, and that many of the buildings in DC are shorter simply because of the technology of the time they were built.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 19 June 2009, 02:42 PM
Nick Theodorakis Nick Theodorakis is offline
 
Join Date: 05 November 2005
Location: Fishers, IN
Posts: 6,528
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
Here is the St. Louis Zoning code. There are height restrictions, but no specific mention of the arch. Height for commercial buildings is governed by the size of the block their on. Without knowing the size of a particular block, it's hard to determine whether a building could be built bigger than the Arch under the law.
...

The Gateway Arch is 630 feet, with a city elevation of 465 feet. That would mean this restriction would keep building smaller than the arch.
There are a couple of building in St. Louis almost as high as the Arch, although not exceeding it. I've heard the UL before as well, but never seen a source.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnStorm View Post
It's said that no building in Washington DC can be higher than the Washington Monument, but I think that's a UL, and that many of the buildings in DC are shorter simply because of the technology of the time they were built.
We might have talked about this before. IIRC, there is nothing in the code specifically mentioning the height as compared to the Washington Monument, but the conditions of the code make it unlikely.

Ah, here we go:

Quote:
A revised height law in 1910 did away with that fixed maximum [height of the Capitol building]. The newer legislation, still in effect today, states that no new building may be more than 20 feet taller than the width of the street in front of it.
Nick
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 23 January 2013, 06:11 AM
ricont ricont is offline
 
 
Join Date: 21 January 2013
Location: St Louis, MO
Posts: 1
Default

Actually it is true there is an L Jefferson Memorial District City Ordinance 55979 Chapter 26.64.040 which states sea level elevation limited to 751 feet with the city's elevation at 465 feet which means buildings can be limited to 286 feet in height. What is not stated on the city's website is the Ordinance defines the Jefferson Memorial District as the east side of Broadway to the Mississippi River and Cass Avenue on the north and Chouteau on the south as the boundaries this ordinance applies to. Any development on the west side of Broadway has no limitations.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 25 January 2013, 10:23 PM
NewZer0's Avatar
NewZer0 NewZer0 is offline
 
Join Date: 30 June 2004
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 2,404
Default

When I lived in Nebraska, I'd heard no building in Lincoln could be taller than the capitol. I'm looking that up right now. In doing so, I came across a site about that myth in DC.

Here we are. The Lincoln Municipal Code does have height regulations, but only for the capitol district, not the entire city.

--NewZer0
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 28 January 2013, 07:05 AM
Wintermute's Avatar
Wintermute Wintermute is offline
 
 
Join Date: 04 July 2003
Location: Walnut Creek, CA
Posts: 6,535
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Comment: I have heard it oft repeated that there is a law stating that no
building in St. Louis may be taller than the Gateway Arch. However, I
cannot find any reference to the actual law. Is this true, or just an
urban legend?
The version I heard was no building in Missouri could be taller then the Arch. When I worked at One Kansas City place this was the explanation for the height of the building. The building is just a tad shorter then the Arch.
I have no clue if it's true. There are no building in the state of Missouri taller then the arch but that alone doesn't mean anything.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 28 January 2013, 03:52 PM
katdixo katdixo is offline
 
Join Date: 12 November 2002
Location: Maryland suburb of Washington, DC
Posts: 382
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnStorm View Post
It's said that no building in Washington DC can be higher than the Washington Monument, but I think that's a UL, and that many of the buildings in DC are shorter simply because of the technology of the time they were built.
There is an actual law restricting the height of buildings in DC, and it is well below the height of the Washington Monument.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heights...gs_Act_of_1910

"The Heights of Buildings Act of 1910 (DC ST 6-601) was an Act of Congress passed by the 61st United States Congress on June 1, 1910 to limit the height of buildings in Washington, D.C.[1] The original act was passed on March 1, 1899 when the 55th United States Congress approved the Heights of Buildings Act of 1899.[2] The original act restricted the heights of any type of building in the United States capital city of Washington, D.C., to be no higher than 130 feet. In 1910, the 61st United States Congress enacted a new law limiting building heights to the width of the right-of-way of the street or avenue on which a building fronts, which is the main law presented by this act."
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 09:37 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.