Published on April 6th, 2016 |0
NPU-B board hears unusual agenda of zoning variance applications
First, it is unusual for three items to be held off the Zoning consent agenda to be heard by the full board. But the details of two of the items held over for board review made the situation even more unusual.
The three items dealt with a North Buckhead lot zoned R3 that was less than half the required size for an R3 lot, a combination of two lots in Brookhaven that caused the front yard of an existing house to move from Club Drive around the corner to West Brookhaven Drive, and the placement of a pool and pool pump equipment on a corner lot.
In the first case heard by the board, the R3 lot at 461 Loridans Drive is only 6,633 square feet, but the R3 zoning requires a lot size of 18,000 square feet. The owners of the property, Carlos Pineda and Beatriz Cardona, want to build a two-story, 2,300-square-foot house on the lot.
The North Buckhead Civic Association Zoning Committee opposed the application because it didn’t meet the standards for an R3 lot. But the applicant had the support of all the surrounding neighbors, including the immediate next door neighbor, who attended the March 29 Zoning meeting.
The owner went to the city and researched the history of the lot and discovered that the lot was platted in 1964 as an original lot, not a split lot. He also found that the lot was zoned R3 in 1982 when the city zoning ordinance went into effect.
After some discussion, and with the recommendation of Zoning Committee Chairman Bill Murray, the NPU board approved the application 13-0 with 3 abstentions.
The second application taken up by the full board was for 975 Stovall Blvd. NE, for a special exception to allow a swimming pool in a yard adjacent to a street on a corner lot. It had been approved 5-1-1 by the Zoning Committee, but because the decision wasn’t unanimous, it had to be heard by the full board.
The builder applicant is doing major remodeling on the existing home and wants to add a swimming pool. The neighborhood association voted in favor of the application and he had letters of approval from most of the surrounding neighbors.
However, the next door neighbor, Ben Turnipseed, objected to the placement of the pool pump equipment on the basis that it will cause unwanted noise on the side of his house where it would be located.
The builder pointed out that he could not move the equipment to the other side of the pool because the existing house is 15 feet into the setback already. Therefore, he cannot locate the pool equipment or air-conditioning units on the other side of the pool.
Murray pointed out that both the pool and the pool equipment are located legally in the setback and that the purpose of the variance is to protect neighbors across the street from the yard area of the corner lot where the pool would be located. They all approved the application. The NPU board also approved the application 11-0 with 5 abstentions.
The final application head by the board took the most time and consideration. The owner of the property at 4001 and 4007 Club Drive wants to consolidate the property where he lives with a corner lot he has purchased and wants to build a new home on the present home site.
The problem arose when the city told him that his front yard would now shift from Club Drive to West Brookhaven Drive. The footprint of his present home has a 100-foot setback from Club Drive, which is consistent with other homes on the street.
However, because of a stream that flows through the new lot, he needed to seek a variance to reduce the required front yard setback from 50 feet to 25 feet since the front yard had now been flipped to what was the side yard.
The application was deferred by the Zoning Committee on March 29 because the applicant had not met with the neighborhood’s zoning committee to present the proposal, which is a requirement of the process at the NPU. He did have letters of approval from seven neighbors.
The owner and his representative did meet with the neighborhood zoning committee on April 3, but that committee did not approve the plans submitted to them because it was not an architectural site plan, but rather only a landscape plan.
The applicant brought two of the neighbors who support his proposed plan to the NPU full board meeting April 5, but Cathy Boston, who represents the neighborhood on the NPU-B board and
chairs the neighborhood zoning committee, still objected to the plans submitted, even though the owner had his architect draw a more precise plan for presentation to the board.
Several members of the NPU board said the two plans presented do not have precise numbers on them related to the setbacks, etc. and that they need a document with precise numbers and with the actual building footprint.
After a lengthy discussion, Murray offered a motion to accept a 50-foot setback on Club Drive and the reduction of the 50-foot setback to 25 feet on West Brookhaven Drive side of the property as conditions attached to the landscape plan as long as the applicant would seek no further variances on the 4001 or 4007 Club Drive property. The board approved that motion.