With one lot-division case on East Hawthorne carried over to January, the board heard three cases–quickly approving two and just as quickly denying an ambitious plan to build a garage and apartment in front of a Hollywood house, and in front a garage that had already been converted to living space.
Members present: Ty Cole, Lauren Gwaltney, chair, Jeffrey Foster (S), Brian Jarmon and Beverly LeBoeuf.
Members absent: Hope Cannon
Vacancy: 1 at-large supernumerary
Staff present: Vanessa McGrath and Greg Cobb of the Building, Engineering and Zoning Department; Planning and zoning clerk Donna Bridges.
Audience attendance: 14
*Note on procedure: By state law, zoning variances granted by the 5-member board require a super majority of 4 members voting in the affirmative. To keep business moving in case of absences, the law also allows two substitutes (S) to sit in and vote if needed. There is one substitute vacancy remaining. Variances expire in 180 days if a building permit isn’t obtained.
Approved on a split vote four variances allowing a second story addition: Homeowners propose building a 5 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath house on the foundation of this 3/1 cottage at 1211 Irving Road, declaring their hardship their desire to preserve two pecan trees in the back yard. One homeowner, an engineer, described the finished product as a traditional house with dormer windows, (although the roofline may be turned perpendicular to the street instead of running parallel, as it does now). The kitchen will be moved from the left side of the house to the right and the left-side chimney eliminated. Requested variances would allow new construction to be built into the setback (clear space) by the following amounts: A) 4.6 feet on the right side for the second floor; B) 3.7 feet on the left side for the first floor; and C) 4.7 feet for the second floor. A 2.3-foot variance requested to allow a jutting 10-foot front porch was then reduced to .3-feet when the homeowner agreed to cut the porch width from 10 to 8 feet. The favorable vote was conditioned on the porch not being enclosed or made wider.
Voting no: Jeffrey Foster.
Unanimously denied variances for a “garage in front of a garage” on LaPrado Place: The homeowner’s designer proposed a monumental two-story detached garage and mother-in-law’s apartment built only 10 feet from the sidewalk, saying the large house at 246 LaPrado Place sits on a wedge-shaped lot that doesn’t allow further expansion without building into the setback. That said, the requested 15-foot front variance and permission to build a separate front-yard structure were denied after members questioned why the current garage space–which had been converted to an apartment by the previous owners–couldn’t be reclaimed for that use. A single neighbor speaking at the hearing asked the board to deny what he called the “outrageous” plan, saying when he outgrew his own house, he moved to a bigger one. The neighbor cited the city’s creation of the Neighborhood Preservation District zone in 2002, which he said had not stopped expansions, but none so far had built onto the front of a house. Members apparently agreed. After a motion to approve, members voted unanimously to deny either request.
Approved variances for a rear addition to a house on Edgewood: Board member Ty Cole, an architect, recused himself from this case because he works for the architecture firm contracted to ServisFirst Bank, which employs one of the homeowners. The case was a simple addition straight back onto the lot, which will encroach 1 foot on the right side setback because the house isn’t sitting parallel to the property line.
Not voting: Ty Cole.