DATE: April 2, 2001

TO: Planning Commission

FROM: Heather Marlow, Planner
Community Development Department

FILE NO.: VAR2001-00011

PROPOSAL: A variance request to reduce the front and rear setbacks to 5 feet in order to construct a single family dwelling.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant: Jerry Mastin

Property Owner: Jerry Mastin

Property Address: 315 West 11th Street

Legal Description: Lot 2, Block 204, Casey Shattuck Addition

Parcel Code Number: 1-C03-0-C04-002-1

Site Size: 3,600 Square feet

Zoning: D-5 Single-family/Duplex Residential

Utilities: Public Sewer and Water

Access: West 11th Street

Existing Land Use: Garage and yard

Surrounding Land Use: North – 11th Street

South – Access Alley

East -D-5 Residential

West -D-5 Residential

 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The applicant has proposed the development of a two story single family home with an attached garage on Lot 2, Block 204, Casey Shattuck Addition. As proposed, the development qualifies for an exception to the front yard setback requirement. The exception reduces the 20’ front setback requirement to 10’ as discussed in more detail below. The applicant requests a variance to reduce the front setback to 5’. A portion of the garage is proposed within the 20’ rear yard setback. The applicant requests a variance to reduce the rear setback to 5’. An analysis of both variance requests is provided below.

The site is developed with a 245 square foot garage. The garage does not meet current setback requirements and will be demolished with this project.

BACKGROUND

The applicant has provided a project description letter with background information on the use of the subject lot. In summary, the parcel has been used for garage and yard purposes.

ANALYSIS

Yard Exceptions

The CBJ Land Use Code provides for exceptions to standard yard setback requirements at CBJ 49.25.430. This section was reviewed for applicability to the subject development.

Front Yard- The subject development qualifies for a front yard setback reduction to 10’ per CBJ 49.25.430(J).

  • Existing Substandard Setbacks. If a lot under development is subject to a front yard setback greater than that which prevails throughout the neighborhood, the new building may have a front yard setback equal to the average front yard setback of the three closest adjacent buildings, except that if there are no such buildings within five hundred feet, the required setback shall be the average of such fewer number of buildings as may be within five hundred feet, and provided further that in no event shall the required setback be less than half that required by this chapter of ten feet, whichever is greater.
  • Rear Yard- The subject development does not qualify for a rear yard setback reduction to 5’ per CBJ 49.25.430(G) as the Director has determined that provision (i) is not met.

  • Carports and Garages. A minimum setback of five feet shall apply to carport and garages in any residential zoning district if:
      1. The topography, shape or size of the lot make construction a hardship;
      2. Similar problems exist in the neighborhood;
      3. The carport or garage is limited to one story with a maximum height of fifteen feet and a maximum area of six hundred square feet;
      4. Sight distance has been approved by the director; and
      5. Lot coverage is not exceeded.

    Variance Requirements

    Under CBJ 49.20.250, where hardship and practical difficulties result from an extraordinary situation or unique physical feature affecting only a specific parcel of property or structures lawfully existing thereon and render it difficult to carry out the provisions of Title 49, the Board of Adjustment may grant a variance in harmony with the general purpose and intent of Title 49. A variance may vary any requirement or regulation of Title 49 concerning dimensional and other design standards, but not those concerning the use of land or structures, housing density, lot coverage, or those establishing construction standards.

    The proposed development was reviewed for:

    1. hardship and practical difficulties
    2. resulting from an extraordinary situation or unique physical feature affecting only a specific parcel of property, rendering it difficult to carry out the provisions of Title 49.

    Our review considered the sub-standard area and width of the lot as well as the development pattern of the neighborhood. We conclude that there is an opportunity on this parcel to develop a single-family dwelling that meets the yard setback requirements and provides two on-site parking spaces. The footprint of the structure could be placed in an area that is 30’ wide X 60’ deep. The required parking could also be within this area or within the remaining yard setback areas. The subject parcel is a flat, rectangular lot that has 40’ of right-of-way frontage and frontage on a rear access alley. The arrangement and dimensions of the lot are typical of this neighborhood. Development of a single-family dwelling within these parameters does not present an apparent hardship or practical difficulty. While the subject parcel does not meet all of the minimum lot dimension requirements, this is not an extraordinary situation that is unique to this property. Rather, the subject lot is typical of parcels in the neighborhood. For these reasons we conclude that the variance requests do not meet the grounds for variances, CBJ 49.20.250 (b), a code provision that is required to be met prior to a Board of Adjustment application consideration.

    If the Board of Adjustment finds that 49.210.250(b) has been met, a variance may be granted after the prescribed hearing and after the Board of Adjustment has determined:

  • 1. That the relaxation applied for or a lesser relaxation specified by the Board of Adjustment would give substantial relief to the owner of the property involved and be more consistent with justice to other property owners.
  • Front Yard Variance

    The relaxation applied for would give substantial relief to the owner of the property and would be more consistent with justice to other property owners as a 5’ front yard setback is a common site dimension in this neighborhood. Both of the adjacent dwellings, as well as other dwellings in the immediate neighborhood, are developed with a 5’ front yard setback. We note that the 10’ front yard setback requirement could be met with an alternate site design.

    We find that this criterion is met.

    Rear Yard

    The relaxation applied for would give substantial relief to the owner of the property and would be more consistent with justice to other property owners as rear yard setbacks for garage structures commonly range from 5’ to 0’ in this neighborhood. On the alley that abuts the rear property line of the subject site, there are three garages that clearly do not conform with the 20’ rear yard setback requirement. We note that the 20’ rear yard setback requirement could be met with an alternate site design.

    We find that this criterion is met.

  • 2. That relief can be granted in such a fashion that the intent of this title will be observed and the public safety and welfare be preserved.
  • In summary, the intent of this title is to ensure that growth and development is in accord with the values of Juneau’s residents; to identify and secure the beneficial impacts of growth while minimizing the negative impacts; to ensure that future growth is of the appropriate type, design and location; to provide adequate open space for light and air; and to recognize the economic value of land and encourage its proper and beneficial use.

    Front Yard

    The front yard setback variance will provide for the development of a dwelling that is spaced and massed similar to other development on 11th Street and in the neighborhood. This neighborhood was developed with sub-standard, or non-conforming, setbacks. The non-conforming situations that are prevalent in this neighborhood are due to the fact that the Casey Shattuck neighborhood was developed prior to the enactment of yard setback requirements. The intent of this title is to ensure that development is in accord with the values and the needs of current and future residents. As the non-conforming development pattern for setbacks in this neighborhood has existed for a substantial period of time without deleterious impact, an argument can be made that this pattern is in accord with the values and needs of the community. Provisions of the CBJ Building Code will be applied to ensure that with setback reductions, the public safety and welfare will be preserved.

    We find that this criterion is met.

    Rear Yard

    The rear yard setback variance will provide for the development of a garage that is spaced and massed similar to other development on 11th Street and in the neighborhood. At the time this neighborhood was developed, there were no parking requirements. To accommodate parking demand there is a mixed usage pattern of on-street parking and on-site parking. The intent of this title is to ensure that development is in accord with the values and the needs of current and future residents. The proposed development will accommodate the requirement of two on-site parking spaces. Further, these spaces will be accessed from an alley, thereby reducing potential vehicle and pedestrian conflicts in the 11th Street right-of-way. As the non-conforming development pattern for setbacks in this neighborhood has existed for a substantial period of time without deleterious impact, an argument can be made that this pattern is in accord with the values and needs of the community.

    We find that this criterion is met.

  • 3. That the authorization of the variance will not injure nearby property.
  • Front and Rear Yard

    As discussed above, there is an existing pattern of non-conforming yard setbacks in this neighborhood. We are not aware of circumstances in this neighborhood where non-conforming yard setbacks have injured nearby property. The authorization of the requested variances does not appear to pose a threat of injury to nearby property.

    We find that this criterion is met.

  • 4. That the variance does not authorize uses not allowed in the district involved.
  • Front Yard

    The variance will authorize the development of a single-family dwelling that is sited 5’ from the front property line. A single-family dwelling is a permissible use in a D-5 zoning district.

    We find that this criterion is met.

    Rear Yard

    The variance will authorize the development of a garage that is sited 5’ from the rear property line. A garage is a permissible accessory use in a D-5 zoning district.

    We find that this criterion is met.

  • 5. That compliance with the existing standards would:
  • (A) Unreasonably prevent the owner from using the property for a permissible principal use;

    Front and Rear Yard

    Compliance with the existing standards would require the owner to develop an alternate site plan for the permissible principal use, a single-family dwelling.

    (B) Unreasonably prevent the owner from using the property in a manner which is consistent as to scale, amenities, appearance or features, with existing development in the neighborhood of the subject property;

    Front and Rear Yard

    Compliance with the existing standards would unreasonably prevent the owner from using the property in a manner that is consistent as to scale, amenities and appearance with existing development in the neighborhood of the subject property. There is an established pattern of non-conforming setbacks for dwellings and garages in this neighborhood.

    (C) Be unnecessarily burdensome because unique physical features of the property render compliance with the standards unreasonably expensive;

    Front and Rear Yard

    We are unaware of any physical features that are unique to the property.

    or

    (D) Because of pre-existing nonconforming conditions on the subject parcel the grant of the variance would not result in a net decrease in overall compliance with the Land Use Code, CBJ Title 49, or the Building Code, CBJ Title 19, or both.

    Front and Rear Yard

    The subject parcel does not comply with the lot area or lot width requirements for the D-5 zoning district. The grant of the setback variances would result in a net decrease in compliance with the CBJ Land Use Code.

    We find that this criterion is met as sub-criterion 5B is met.

  • 6. That a grant of the variance would result in more benefits than detriments to the neighborhood.
  • Front Yard

    Development of the project as proposed will result in a dwelling that is consistent with the scale and appearance of the neighborhood. With this project an old garage that is even closer to the front and side property lines will be removed. Both of these actions are considered to be a benefit to the neighborhood. We are unaware of any detriments that would result from the grant of the requested front setback variance.

    We find that this criterion is met.

    Rear Yard

    Development of the project as proposed will provide on-site parking that can be accessed off of an alley. Removing the existing garage and providing parking at the rear of the property will reduce the potential for vehicle and pedestrian conflicts on 11th Street, thereby benefiting the neighborhood. We are unaware of any detriments that would result from the grant of the requested rear yard setback variance.

    We find that this criterion is met. 

    JUNEAU COASTAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

    The Juneau Coastal Management Program has been reviewed for applicability. The provisions of the JCMP do not apply to this request. 

    FINDINGS

    CBJ 49.20.240, Board of Adjustment Action, states that the Board of Adjustment shall hear all variance requests and shall either approve, conditionally approve, modify or deny the request based on the criteria in CBJ 49.20.250.

    Under CBJ 49.20.220, Scheduling and Fee, the director makes the following determination:

  • 1. Is the application for the requested variance complete?
  • Yes. We find the application contains the information necessary to conduct a full review of the proposed operations. The application submitted by the applicant, including the appropriate fees, substantially conform to the requirements of CBJ code Chapters 49.15. Additionally, notice was provided in the Juneau Empire under Your Municipality which ran on March 30, 2001. Public notice was mailed to owners of record for all properties within 500 feet of the subject property.

    Under CBJ 49.70.900 (b)(3), General Provisions, the director makes the following Juneau Coastal Management Program consistency determination:

  • 2. Will the proposed development comply with the Juneau Coastal Management Program?
  • Not Applicable. The provisions of the JCMP do not apply to this request.

  • 3. Does the variance as requested, meet the criteria of Section 49.20.250 Grounds for Variances?
  • No. We find that the proposed development does not meet criteria 49.20.250(b) as the subject parcel does not present a unique physical feature or an extraordinary situation that would make compliance with the provisions of Title 49 either a hardship or a practical difficulty.

    RECOMMENDATION

    Staff recommends that the Board of Adjustment adopt the staff analysis and the Director’s findings which conclude that the grounds for variances are not met and deny the requested front and rear yard variance requests.