Board of Zoning Adjustments, Aug. 6, 2015

A homeowner who proceeded building after discovering he needed a variance got what he wanted--but not unanimously.

A homeowner who proceeded building after discovering he needed a variance got what he wanted–but not unanimously.

Samford University was allowed to install an above ground tank at a new facilities area below the new parking deck on the rear of campus behind Windsor Boulevard. One member disagreed with the exemption. A parade of seven residential additions and rebuilds followed, with Ms. LeBoeuf being the lone dissent in two of them.

Members present: All–Hope Cannon, Brian Jarmon, Jeffrey Foster (s), Beverly LeBoeuf, Lauren Gwaltney, and Ty Cole.

Vacancy: A supernumerary vacancy exists after Ms. Askew was removed from the board for excessive absences. Foster is the other super.; voting only when there are absences requiring it.

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

Audience attendance: 30


Carried over until September variances requested at 307 Broadway. 


915 Shades Road

915 Shades Road

Approved a variance for a deck on Shades Road: The homeowners want to build and screen in a deck at the rear of the property at 915 Shades Road, which narrows toward the rear, creating a hardship to build within the setbacks. The approval for a 5-foot left setback variance includes a binding proffer from the homeowners not to fully enclose the deck. A carport is also planned in the rear, but will not encroach into the setback.

109 Havenwood Court

109 Havenwood Court

Approved variances allowing an addition on Havenwood Court: The homeowners want to build a rear addition at 109 Havenwood Court for a second bathroom and washer/dryer, now located in the basement. No hardship was mentioned, but the applicant said houses on either side extend farther than his addition will, when complete. The board approved a 4-foot rear building setback variance, after making sure it would not occupy more than 30 percent of the back yard.

Very approximate location of Samford's facilities area and planned above-ground gasoline storage tank.

Very approximate location of Samford’s facilities area and planned above-ground gasoline storage tank.

On a 4-1 split vote, granted a variance to allow a 2,000 gal. above-ground gasoline storage tank on the Samford campus: With one dissenter, the board passed the variance allowing Samford University to install a new, 2,000-gallon fuel tank at a facilities area in the rear of the campus below the newest parking deck and backing up to Windsor Boulevard. The tank will serve Samford vehicles, be protected by bollards, and will be screened by what the Samford representative called a dense buffer of foliage. Many questions from the board related to whether the tank would be visible, or fenced, or secured from vandals. Ms. Cannon asked if the decision was based on cost, but the representative said it was motivated more by safety from undiscovered leaks. It replaces a 500-gallon tank that has been removed from a different location. City code doesn’t allow above-ground tanks without a variance.

Voting no: Ms. LeBoeuf.

513 Devon Drive

513 Devon Drive

Allowed, 4-1, variances for a house already under construction on Devon: The homeowner at 513 Devon Drive said he and his wife were planning their retirement and adding three bedrooms for visits from their adult children. The building had already been demolished and plans drawn when the homeowner realized he needed a variance at the right front corner–not only for the ground floor but for the second floor, which should be stepped in according to code. The homeowner, who said the variance “appeared not too challenging to get,” was correct in this case. He was granted a 1.8-foot right building setback variance (already existing) for the ground floor and the second story.

Voting no: Ms. LeBoeuf.

223 Crest Drive

223 Crest Drive

Approved a variance for a new front porch on Crest: A new front porch will extend 8 feet into the front yard at 223 Crest Drive, and still stay within an imaginary line drawn from the fronts of his two next door neighbors’ houses, he said. The homeowner’s hardship was a backyard that was on a steep downward incline. The plan requires a 6.5-foot variance, which was granted.

IMG_5752Allowed variances for a tear-down and rebuild on Ridge Road: The house at 104 Ridge Road sits alongside an easement that provides distance between the house and neighbor. The homeowner explored purchasing the right-of-way for expansion room, but discovered it was occupied by a county sewer main. Neighbors in either side had no objection to the project. The board approved a 4.2-foot right building variance.

IMG_5748Approved small variances for a Melrose Place addition: There were no objections from neighbors on either side of 1420 Melrose Place, where homeowners plan a master bedroom addition in the rear. They were granted a 1-foot variance on the right and left sides.

1516 Valley

1516 Valley Place (Google image)

Approved an addition variance for a Valley Place house: Like applicants before her, the homeowner at 1516 Valley Place is planning a master bath addition at the rear to contain a washer-dryer. The board allowed building 2.7-feet into the left building setback.

101 East Edgewood Drive

101 East Edgewood Drive

Allowed variances for a new house near an Oxmoor commercialized area: The homeowner at 101 East Edgewood Drive is trying to minimize the effects of his proximity to commercialized property on Oxmoor Road. The current house sits almost on the left side alleyway; he plans to rebuild further from the alley, but still within the setback, requiring a 5-foot left variance. He plans to put up a privacy fence as well on that side. A neighbor to the right was present, but satisfied when he learned the new house will not be built closer to his own property.


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