Samford University got the go-ahead for an additional 39 feet (three stories?) of height on its new Brock School of Business building, and there was a denial among what turned out to be routine variance requests tonight. That may not be the case next month, however. A potential neighborhood uproar was averted when a lot variance request for proposed condominiums at the Broadway Street/Carr Avenue intersection was abruptly withdrawn by the developer shortly before tonight’s meeting. The residential DiChiara property for sale on the Broadway “triangle” was considered not long ago for a neighborhood park, then dropped in favor of the more affordable lot across short Saulter Road–which the city is in the process of considering for purchase. Neighbors, however, weren’t pleased to see the condo plan appear there, and the furor could return
when if the case is presented at the next BZA meeting, Oct. 3. [Sept. 6-The Friends of Broadway Park and Community Garden reported on its Facebook page that the developer, Drake Homes, has withdrawn its rezoning application.]
Members present: All–Valerie Askew, Jeffrey Foster, Hope Cannon, Ross McCain, chairman, Lauren Gwaltney, Trey Shaeffer, Sandy Eichelberger.
Members Absent: None
Staff Present: Donna Bridges, board secretary, Vanessa McGrath and Greg Cobb, staff members of the city’s Building, Engineering and Zoning Department.
Audience attendance: 18
All votes were unanimous unless otherwise stated.
Approved: Minutes of the August 1, 2013 meeting
Approved: The board approved an 8 foot rear setback variance to add a porch entry at rear of 3040 Independence Drive [U.S. 31], the former Tidwell Flag building. This will be an office for the owner, who is an architect.
Approved: The board allowed an additional 33 feet, 9 inches of height beyond city regulations for the new Brock School of Business building at 840 Montague Drive, on the Samford University campus. There were no public comments on this project.
Approved: A 4 foot front setback variance was approved to allow a front porch at 1729 Oxmoor Road with a proffer from the owner that the porch will not be enclosed. The porch will not encroach on the setback but, because it will be 4 feet in front of other houses on the block, the owners presented their request as a courtesy.
Denied: A homeowner (and member of the Park and Recreation Board) was denied a 16 foot variance to allow a storage building on an exposed side of a newly built house at 745 Saulter Lane after board members determined he did not meet the required “hardship” to be granted relief. The lot is irregular, with exposed sides — or “front yards” –on three streets. The owner claimed as a hardship the need for more storage, which wasn’t noticed until the house was under construction.
Two neighbors spoke. One neighbor felt this hardship was self-imposed and the board apparently agreed, focusing its discussion on the unmet “hardship” requirement, as an accessory structure wasn’t part of the original design and the house wasn’t modified to add more storage. The contractor and the owner hoped instead to get the accessory structure approved at a size of 16 feet by 30 feet. No design was available for this structure.
Approved: A non-conforming corner building at 3045 Independence Drive (U.S. 31) was allowed renovations within its existing footprint–variances permitting an extra 13 feet on one side and extra 6 feet on a second side. A Google search of that address shows a small building containing orthodontist and insurance offices.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:35 p.m.