A downtown Holiday Open House and a Ducks Unlimited event in Rosewood Hall (at city hall) tonight created a festive atmosphere for the start of the BZA meeting, but also delayed board members who had to search for parking spaces. Board members thought long and hard before approving a lot size variance that would allow a property owner to demolish a house on Saulter Road and replace it with two new houses to resell. The resurvey splitting the property was approved by the Planning Commission earlier in the week, and conditioned on BZA approval and submission of professionally drawn plans. In the absence of those, the applicant submitted the plan pictured here. Click image to enlarge.
Members present: Chairman Ross McCain, vice chairman Jeffrey Foster (arriving after the first case), Hope Cannon, Brian Jarmon, and Lauren Gwaltney.
Board vacancies: 1 seat (Ward 2 member Trey Shaeffer moved out of the ward).
Members absent: Valerie Askew
Staff present: Donna Bridges, board secretary, and Greg Cobb and Vanessa McGrath, Building, Engineering and Zoning Department.
Audience attendance: 11
All votes are unanimous, and no member of the public spoke unless otherwise noted.
Approved a 6-foot variance for an HVAC upgrade: The board allowed a variance at 1420 Ardsley Place to allow for the upgrade of an A/C unit. A neighbor stated that he had no objection to the variance, as long as it didn’t interfere with his driveway easement, and he was reassured on that point.
Absent from the vote: Mr. Foster arrived after the application had been presented.
Approved 4-1 a lot-size variance needed to make room for a sewer line: The applicant’s plan to split a single lot into two narrower lots was approved earlier this week subject to the BZA approving a lot-size variance. The applicant plans to demolish the existing house, which spans the back of the original lot, and build two houses in the two newly created lots. However, in order to connect and allow sewer line access to the eastern (right) half of the property, this lot must be deeded a strip of property 10 X 43-feet from the rear of the adjacent lot. (Jefferson County has become stringent in its requirements and won’t allow a service line for one lot to cross property belonging to another.) It is the proposed reduction in size of the western lot that necessitates a variance. Once the strip of land is deeded over, the western lot became too small to satisfy the city’s residential zoning requirements without obtaining a variance.
Two neighbors from Raymond Drive, behind the subject property, objected to the plan and any variance allowing it to go forward, saying that resulting lot sizes would be inconsistent with the character of the neighborhood. One neighbor said no hardship existed to justify the variance. In response, the applicant said the narrow lots were actually part of the original 1928 plat, and that setback requirements will determine the sizes of the houses ultimately planned for the two lots. [Presumably he will not be returning to request further variances.]
Members deliberated quite some time, questioning whether there was any other way to connect the sewer line without redrawing the lot line. No other way presented itself.
In response to questions from Ms. Cannon, the applicant said he had owned the property for about a week and was aware of the sewer issues before he bought it. He said the service line was the only solution because extending the main sewer to a second house was too costly and the lot was too small to accommodate a septic tank. In response to a question from Mr. Foster, he said he intended to build two single-story houses rather than two-story houses. The motion to approve was made and passed with one dissenting vote.
Voting no: Ms. Gwaltney, giving no specific reason.
Approved variances for on Woodland Drive: The board approved a 1.7-foot left building setback variance to make room for a fireplace chimney, and a 3.3-foot left variance for a new air conditioner at 509 Woodland Drive.
Approved, with conditions, two variances for an addition on East Edgewood Drive: The request was made on behalf of the homeowners at 133 East Edgewood Drive by David Siegel, a co-owner of Twin Construction and next-door neighbor. The homeowners are requesting a 1-foot right setback variance for a screened-in porch and a 2-foot right setback variance for a chimney so the fireplace wouldn’t take up too much space inside the porch. With provisos that the porch not be converted to enclosed living space and that the 2-foot variance apply only to a chimney, the board approved the application.
Approved variances for the Exceptional Foundation: The Foundation, at 1616 Oxmoor Road, was granted a 6-foot, 6-inch variance to the setback rules to allow mechanical equipment to be installed at the rear of the building. The request was approved with the proffer of “greenscaping” around the HVAC units.
Approved a variance on Bonita Drive for a new addition: The board approved a 3-foot left building setback variance at 118 Bonita Drive to provide room for a 1-story master bedroom addition that will jut out 8 feet from the back of the house. The setback was requested on the side because the left property line is not parallel to the house.
Approved a 15-foot variance for a covered patio on Hambaugh. The board granted an extensive variance to allow a covered patio. The house sits on the corner of Hambaugh Avenue and Lathrop Avenue.