Board of Zoning Adjustments, Sept. 4, 2014


BZAIt took almost 2 hours to dispatch eight cases, two of which pitted neighbor against neighbor. Most of the tonight’s attendance was for a new residence on Le Jeune Way–which passed–while two cases drawing less public attention drew denials.

*Members present: Valerie Askew (S), Hope Cannon, Brian Jarmon, Jeffrey Foster (S), Lauren Gwaltney, and Ross McCain, chairman.

Members absent: Trey Schaeffer.

Staff Present: Donna Bridges, board secretary, and Greg Cobb, Building, Engineering & Zoning Department

Attendance: 33

All votes were unanimous unless otherwise noted.

Approved minutes of the Aug. 7, 2014, meeting.

Approved variances to expand a second floor: The board approved  a 3.2-foot and a 4.2-foot right building setback variance for the first and second floors respectively at 3116 Whitehall Road to enlarge the interior space of the existing second floor, which is already non-conforming (varies from the current zoning code).

Approved a variance to allow a screened porch: A 6.5-foot front building setback variance was granted on the Hermosa Drive side of 2 Poinciana Drive to build a screened porch over an existing concrete patio. The owner proffered to not close in the porch (an accepted proffer is binding.)

Yes and no. The BZA approved part of a variance request and nixed another that would put a planned two-car garage too close to an alley.

Yes and no. The BZA approved part of a variance request and nixed another that would put a planned two-car garage too close to an alley.

Approved part and denied part of a variance request for an addition: Approved were a 4.2-foot and a 9.2-foot left side setback variance and a 3-foot height allowance at 307 Berkley Place, where owners planned to replace a one-car garage with a two-car garage with overhead storage, and connect it to the house via a breezeway.  Denied: However, the board didn’t allow a 3-foot height variance and an 18-inch rear building setback because it would put the new garage too close to the alley. The homeowners said the house has a basement that flooded, causing thousands of dollars worth of property damage, and a car that had to be parked on the street was vandalized. The new addition would have solved both issues. One neighbor wrote in favor of the project.

Denied.   Homeowners at 310 Poinciana want to rebuild on their double lot, adding a porte-cochere. The BZA requires combining the two lots and centering the house.

Approved. At last.
Homeowners at 310 Poinciana returned with an amended plan for a new residence with a porte cochere. Click image to enlarge.

Approved an amended request denied earlier: A 9-foot right building setback variance for a new house at 310 Poinciana Drive was approved. The case was denied in July because it is a double lot and the homeowners planned to rebuild on one side, adding a porte-cochere. The BZA, however, required combining the two lots and centering the house on the combined property. It is unclear what change made tonight’s request acceptable.

One neighbor spoke requesting that property lines be surveyed to ensure location. The owner and architect stated this would be done.

Approved a variance for a laundry room:  With letters of support from four neighbors, the board approved a 7-foot left building setback variance for a laundry room at 416 Crest Drive.


A new house planned on Le Jeune Way attracted a lot of attendance, but little opposition. Click image to enlarge.

Approved, with one abstention, variances for a new house:  Approved was a 10-foot rear building setback at 314 LeJeune Way in order to build a new house with an attached garage and storage area, although a neighbor expressed concern over damaging tree roots. (The existing free-standing garage is even closer to the rear property line.) The variance request was prompted by the homeowner’s decision to set the house farther back from the street than required. By code, the front of the house must be 35 feet from the front property line. However, to improve appearances, the owner wanted to set that point at 42 feet to more closely align with other houses in the 250-foot zone used as a yardstick. As a result, the rear of the house will be set back even further.  After discussion, the board voted to approve the variance.

Abstaining:  Mr. Jarmon, giving no reason.

Approved a setback variance for an addition: A 4-foot variance on the building’s right side was granted for an addition at 1008 Irving Road. The lot is irregularly shaped and the owners had worked with neighbors on a design that would satisfy all.

Denied, on a split vote, a variance for an addition that would put houses too close together: The homeowner at 117 Bonita Drive was denied a request to build just 6.7 feet beyond of the required setback limit, possibly due to a neighbor’s persuasive complaint about noise from being in such close quarters already. The house sits on a triangular shaped lot and the plan included a one-story addition that would follow the angled property line, but over the setback limit. The next door neighbor, however, said he very much objected as 1) his house is already only 3 feet from the property line, 2) Noise from next door already wakes his son at 8 a.m. on Saturday mornings, and 3) The property values may fall as a result. Following the denial, when asked by the owner what the main problem was, Mr. Foster said it was primarily a fire concern. However, the Fire Marshal had already given the variance his blessing.

Voting no: Mr. Foster (S) and Mr. McCain. According to BZA rules, there must be a majority of the whole board membership (4) voting in favor of a variance for it to pass. In this case there were only three: Ms. Gwaltney, Ms. Cannon, and Mr. Jarmon. The BZA, unlike other boards, used “supernumeraries,” or extra members who vote in place of absent members. Absences can matter, as Mr. Foster stood in for the absent Trey Shaeffer.

The meeting was adjourned.


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