Board of Zoning Adjustments, April 3, 2014

Building Up--This house on the corner of Ridge Road and Roseland Drive was granted a series of building variances -- with conditions attached--to allow a second story. Four of nine cases heard at the April meeting were to add second stories to existing houses.

Building Up–This house on the corner of Ridge Road and Roseland Drive was granted a series of building variances — with conditions attached–to allow a second story. Four of nine cases heard at the April meeting were to add second stories to existing houses.

The BZA meeting lasted almost two hours and passed nine cases, with Ms. Gwaltney dissenting on two. Two scheduled cases were not heard because one was withdrawn just prior to the meeting and the applicant was absent for the other. The items decided were a mix of new construction, additions, covered patios and HVAC units.

In nearly all BZA cases, applicants are asking permission to build outside of the boundaries set by law, whether that is building height, or width (setback).

Members present: Valerie Askew, Hope Cannon (leaving halfway through the meeting), Brian Jarmon, Jeffrey Foster, Lauren Gwaltney, and Ross McCain.

Members absent: Trey Schaeffer

Staff present: Donna Bridges, board secretary, Greg Cobb and Vanessa McGrath, Building, Engineering and Zoning Department.

Audience attendance: 20

All votes unanimous unless otherwise noted.

Approved minutes: The board approved the Feb. 19, 2014, meeting minutes.

Approved on a split vote: Four variances, with conditions attached, were approved to allow a second story on a corner house at 300 Ridge Road and Roseland Drive, as follows: 1) Approved a 4-foot front building variance to “square off” the Ridge Road side (front); 2) Allowed a 21-foot front variance for a second floor on the Roseland side, (which itself was built with a variance; 3) Allowed a 1.1-foot left building setback variance for the second floor on the Ridge Road side; and 4) A 2-foot, 1-inch left side variance on Ridge side for second story. The owner also made a proffer that the HVAC would be build inside the existing property line.

The Fire Marshall required Hardie Board (a cement and fiber material) or brick, fire-retardant exterior paint, and glass block window in the first floor bathroom. At last month’s hearing, when the case was postponed, the fire requirements were to include a sprinklers. The owner also made a proffer that the HVAC unit would be within the existing property line.

Voting no: Lauren Gwaltney, giving no explanation.

Case passed over due to applicant’s absence: The request for several variances at 218 Broadway Street was dropped from the April meeting.

Approved: A 7.8-foot left building setback variance and a 7-foot right setback variance was granted for a house at 116 Oxmoor Road for an addition at rear and front. The homeowner owns land behind this property and may come back to have the lots resurveyed into one parcel.

Case withdrawn:  A request for a 14-foot front building setback at 609 Morris Avenue was withdrawn by the applicant.

Approved a touchy case: The applicant won a requested 4-foot right side setback variance for a second floor addition at 203 West Linwood Drive. However, a neighbor at 205 West Linwood spoke about drainage issues he has had because of inadequate downspouts on the house at 203, along with other drainage problems on that street.  The matter has come before the BZA in February 2013 for another house granted a variance.  The applicant said he is having the same problem and all those concerns that were within his responsibility would be addressed.

Approved: The BZA granted a 4-foot right setback variance to allow an HVAC unit to be placed beyond the building line at 3114 Overton Road. The unit was behind the house but an addition took up any level space and there was no room on the left side because of a shared driveway.

Approved variances for a pool and pool house: The board granted a 17-foot, 5-inch left “accessory structure” variance and a 15-foot right variance for a pool and pool house at 309 Malaga Avenue. This lot backs up to Office Park in Mt. Brook and adjoins two Mt. Brook houses. (Part of this lot was the last part of Jefferson County to be annexed by Homewood and has a non-standard shape.) The owner had a letter signed by six neighbors who approved the variance (probably hoping to use the pool)!

Approved: To make way for a third HVAC unit and an expanded kitchen, laundry, family room and bedroom suite at 1806 Lancaster Road, variances were granted for 2.35 feet on the right side, 1.75 feet on the left side, and 4 feet on the right side for an HVAC.

Approved: The board grant a 6-foot right variance for a second floor, which is over an existing variance, at 512 Broadway Street.

Approved for roof over a second floor addition: Variances were granted at 264 Virginia Drive for a .3-foot right side and 6.1-foot left side for a second floor addition. Roof repairs required for a correct slope were the reason for the request.

Approved: A 2-foot right side and 4-foot left side variance were approved for a new house at 306 St. Charles Street. The original request was for 6 feet, but was reduced by the owner.

Approved: A 6-foot right side variance was granted to build a cover over an existing flagstone rear patio at 825 Forest Drive.

Approved on a 4-1 split vote: With one dissenting vote, the BZA granted a 1-foot left building variance for a new house at 1749 Wellington Road. Two neighbors were present, with one speaking against it. The objection was due to runoff onto the rear neighbor’s yard when the former residence was demolished in April 2013. The neighbor had asked that run-off be diverted to a culvert between the properties, and the contractor did so. Now, the neighbor wanted to be sure the same accommodations would be made for the new residence and that the bare ground would be planted. The contractor, Colt Byrum, offered to meet with the neighbor and walk the property to ensure that his concerns were addressed.

Voting no: Lauren Gwaltney

The meeting was adjourned at about 7:50 PM


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