2011 Annual Report

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STAFF REPORT
Town Council Meeting, August 9, 2011

Zoning Board of Adjustment Annual Report (PL12-005)
Summary of recent activity and actions taken by the Zoning Board of Adjustment in FY 2011
Speaker:  Charles McDarris, Zoning Board of Adjustment Chairperson

From:  Jeffery G. Ulma, AICP, Planning Director
Prepared by:  Debra Grannan, Senior Planner 
Approved by:  Benjamin T. Shivar, Town Manager
Approved by:  Michael J. Bajorek, Assistant Town Manager

Executive Summary:

The Zoning Board of Adjustment has review and decision-making responsibilities for:

  • variance requests, as provided in the Land Development Ordinance (LDO), regarding lot width, setback, height, building coverage, or structure spacing standards;
  • variance requests for the square-footage limitations set for verandah and wall signs, setback requirements for real estate signs, and the requirements for signage in the Town Center area; and
  • appeals regarding any order, requirement, decision or determination by an administrative official charged with enforcement of the LDO.

Meetings are conducted on an as needed basis.

Background: 

Current members of the Board are: Robert Cassell, Madrica Lowery, Charles McDarris, William Upchurch (ETJ Representative), and Barry Shuster (Alternate).  Town Council liaison is Gail Adcock; Town staff that provides administrative and technical support to the board includes:  Assistant Town Attorney Lisa Glover, serves as legal consultant to the Board; Planning staff liaison is Debra Grannan, and Shelley Kirk serves as board secretary.

When considering requests for variances to setbacks, building size limits and allowable wall sign area, the Zoning Board of Adjustment must find unusual physical circumstances exist on the subject property.  As required by the LDO, Planning Department staff conducts pre-application meetings with potential applicants in order to provide a detailed explanation of the board’s obligations under the applicable regulations.  Staff participated in approximately 12 pre-application meetings with citizens who were considering variance requests. The actual number of applications submitted is relatively low compared to other types of requests associated with development.

Summary of Board Activity 2010-2011:

June 14, 2010 Meeting to Hear Variance Request (Case #10-V-01)

The board heard a request by the owner of 305 Livingstone Drive to allow an encroachment of 1.9 feet for an existing structure into a required side yard setback.  After conducting a duly advertised, quasi-judicial public hearing and after considering the application, testimony and evidence presented at the hearing, the board voted 5-0 to grant the variance with the conditions that the variance applies only to the existing principal structure on the subject property and that future buildings or additions would be required to comply with the recorded setbacks.

October 11, 2010 Meeting to Hear Variance Request (Case #10-V-02)

The board heard a request from the owners of 302 Schubauer Drive to allow the existing home to encroach 2.07 feet into a required 15-foot side yard setback.  After conducting a duly advertised, quasi-judicial public hearing and considering the application, testimony and evidence presented at the hearing the board voted 5-0 to grant the variance with the conditions that the variance applies only to the existing principal structure on the subject property and that future buildings or additions would be required to comply with the recorded setbacks.

February 14, 2011 Meeting to Hear Variance Request (Case #11-V-01)

The owners of 4015 Yellowfield Way requested a reduction in the required building separation from 16 feet to 13 feet between Lots 60 and 61 at Creekside at Tryon Village townhomes.  After conducting a duly advertised, quasi-judicial public hearing and after considering the application, testimony and evidence the board voted 5-0 to grant the variance with the condition that the landscaping between the buildings be enhanced.

March 14, 2011 Meeting to Hear Variance Request (Case #11-V-02)

The board heard a request by the owner of Wickham Place to a grant a variance to allow an existing storage shed to remain in its current location is approximately 5 feet into a 30-foot landscape buffer. After conducting a duly advertised quasi-judicial public hearing and after considering the application, the testimony and the evidence the board found that the request did not present a hardship and the property was not subject to unusual circumstances and voted 5-0 to deny the variance

March 22, 2011 Work Session

The board participated in a work session to review the quasi-judicial meeting process and become familiar with sunshine policies.

April 25, 2011 Special Meeting

To ensure the findings made by the board during the March 14, 2011 meeting were accurately documented, the board held a special meeting to adopt the resolution for case 11-V-02.  During this same meeting, staff presented a Volunteer Appreciation Proclamation on behalf of the Town Council thanking the board for their service, one new member was sworn in, and the Town’s legal staff reviewed updated quasi-judicial process guidelines.

May 25, 2011 Boards and Commissions Open House

Two board members participated in the Boards and Commissions open house to provide potential, future board members with information about serving on the Zoning Board of Adjustment.