Board of Zoning Adjustments, Sept. 8, 2015

The board tonight issued denials in five out of nine cases, and will seek a separate input from neighbors on a Kenilworth house that was advertised with the wrong information.

This meeting was rescheduled from its regular time on the first Thursday of the month, Sept. 3, due to a lack of quorum.

Members present: All-Beverly LeBoeuf, Lauren Gwaltney, chair, Ty Cole, Brian Jarmon, Hope Cannon and Jeffrey Foster.

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


307 Broadway

Approved 4-1 an addition on Broadway that was re-designed to assure better compliance: [Updated 9/9 to correct errors.] This is at least the third time the case at 307 Broadway has been on the agenda; the first being when it was mis-advertised in July as an addition and carried over to August. The case was carried over in August when the owners re-thought their plan to demolish the house and rebuild anew, a move that eliminated their hardship to building outside the code. The homeowners came back

307 Broadway

307 Broadway as it appeared in July, with a magnolia tree.

tonight with a new plan that has a conforming first floor and requires only variances for a second story.

They were granted a 5-foot right building setback and a 1-foot variance on the left.

Voting no: Lauren Gwaltney



204 East Linwood

204 East Linwood

Approved a variances for an addition on East Linwood: The board granted a 5-foot left building setback variance for a bathroom addition. A 7.3-foot variance already existed for a first and second floor at 204 East Linwood Drive. 

1516 Melrose Place

1516 Melrose Place


Granted variances for a bedroom addition to a house on Melrose: The owners are adding a bedroom on the main level. After discussion they were granted a 1.5-foot right setback variance (already existing). The Board asked about water drainage coming from the roof. The builder said he would build a four hip roof and create a new gutter system for the new roofline. The board was assured there were no issues with the foundation for the addition in the backyard, or water drainage for the bathroom.

A next door neighbor from 1520 Melrose Place asked if the 8 evergreen trees would be cut or trimmed, and what was the completion date. The builder said no trees would be cut, but perhaps pruned. Building would take four months, putting completion in February, 2016.

1405 Clermont Drive

Approved a variance for a second floor addition on Clermont: The owner asked to build 4 feet into the left setback area for a second floor addition at 1405 Clermont Drive. The lot is very narrow, only 50 feet wide, and  neighbor at 1407 Clermont spoke, saying he had no problem with addition as long it is was 1 1/2 stories high, not a full 2 stories. He asked the purpose of building setbacks and Ms. McGrath said for fire safety and sunlight needed between buildings.

410 Kenilworth Drive

410 Kenilworth Drive

A conditional approval granted if  neighbors agree to a corrected variance and a homeowner concession on Kenilworth: A staff error listed the requested variance as only 1 foot when the homeowner asked to build 4.2 feet beyond the required setback area at 410 Kenilworth Drive. The solution was approval contingent if neighbors on front, rear and both side neighbors’ had no objections. They would receive a written explanation and given 100 days to respond. Additionally, the homeowner made a binding offer (proffer) not to enclose the porch.

407 Clermont Drive

407 Clermont Drive

Denied part and approved part of a complex case on Clermont: The case at 407 Clermont Drive was divided into two decisions: 1) A requested 2.1-foot variance on the right side for a second floor addition, which passed unanimously, and 2) On the left side, a 2.4-foot setback variance on the first floor and 2.1-foot variance for a second floor, which were denied in a split vote. Dissenters objected to a protruding part of the structure for a staircase to be build beyond the foundation.

This remodel was characterized as “major surgery” by one member because it required extensive changes including to the foundation. Issues included the irregular shaped lot, a side sloping room from front to rear and the stair variance, to avoid more foundation work. Mr. Cole ommented that the architect was creating his own hardship.

Voting no to the left side variances: Lauren Gwaltney and Ty Cole.

111 Crest Drive

111 Crest Drive

A three-part vote wins some, loses some variances for deck and porch additions on Crest: The homeowners want to build a front porch, a rear enclosed deck, and to rebuild and widen an existing side deck for a barbecue grill at 111 Crest Drive. The front portico will include concrete columns and was not questioned. The plan proposed to widen a side stoop from 3.5 feet to 5 feet and nearly reach a wooden fence on the lot line.

The board chose to split the request into three separate vote and granted a 6.7-foot front setback variance, with one member voting no. The rear deck variance was approved unanimously and the side deck variance unanimously denied as excessive.

Voting no on the front variance: Ty Cole


300 Windsor Drive (on left)

Approved some, denied some variances for a contested two-story  garage on Windsor:  This case is a return visit for the homeowner at 300 Windsor Drive, an expansive corner lot that is nevertheless close to its right hand neighbor. The neighbor’s objections in May accompanied a denial. The homeowner returned with the two-car garage shifted away from the neighboring property, but with a covered carport added on its right side, which required a variance. Board members unanimously allowed a 5-foot variance for the rear of the accessory structure, but unanimously denied the 4-foot variance on the right. The neighbor, whose house is on the market, objected again in an email because the garage was too close, its height would cast shade on her plantings, and the structure violated code further by taking up more than 30 percent of the existing backyard. Board members disagreed about the percentage.

410 St. Charles Street

410 St. Charles Street

Approved variances after a second vote for additions on the dead-end of St. Charles. A contractor was lectured about poor housing design from architect Ty Cole, who voted no twice to variances requested at 410 St. Charles Street. The first vote was a failing 3-2 in favor of a variance to build 6 feet beyond the rear setback line for a parking area and a bedroom/bath addition, with Ms. Gwaltney and Mr. Cole voting no (An affirmative vote requires 4 yes votes). The steep front yard was the hardship offered for the rear parking. When the applicant reduced the request to a 3-foot variance, Ms. Gwaltney added the fourth vote in favor.

The contractor was advised that there was ample space to build on the lot without varying from the city code. The builder responded that the house was on a dead-end lot, with no nearby houses to consider.

Voting no on the 6-foot rear variance: Gwaltney and Cole

Voting no on the reduced, 3-foot rear variance: Cole

There being no further business, the board adjourned at 7:45.



5 responses to “Board of Zoning Adjustments, Sept. 8, 2015

  1. This would be a very informative page, if it wasn’t wildly inaccurate. Even the redactions and reprints are completely wrong. If you are going to report the facts about the meetings, you should put your personal feelings aside and simply print the facts about the meetings. Spellcheck would not hurt you either. This is a great service you could provide, but your jaded perspective ruins any journalistic integrity.


  2. The vote on our case was 5-1 with Gwaltney being the only no. You don’t have Gwaltney even listed as being present. I also don’t understand what the magnolia tree picture is shown for as it has nothing to do with the variance.
    Again, this is a great service to provide residents, especially for free, but it has to be accurate and should only involve relevant facts.


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