DATE:            July 17, 2001

TO:                 Planning Commission

FROM:          Teri Camery, Planner
                       Community Development Department

FILE NO.:     VAR2001-00019

PROPOSAL: A Variance for construction of a 9 foot by 18 foot, 4.3 feet high building to cover freezers, 4.3 feet from the rear setback where 10 feet is required.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant:                     Horst Schramm

Property Owner:           Horst Schramm

Property Address:         2315 Industrial Blvd., Juneau

Legal Description:         Mason Industrial Park, L 7A1

Parcel Code Number:   4-B17-0-108-007-1

Site Size:                      15,148 Square Feet

Zoning:                         I, Industrial

Utilities:                        CBJ water & sewer

Access:                        Industrial Boulevard

Existing Land Use:      Car repair service on the north side of the lot, seafood processing on the south side of the lot.

Surrounding Land Use: North - Body Shop
                                    South - Printing Trade Company
                                    East - Industrial Boulevard
                                    West - Alaska Lumber Mill

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The applicant seeks a variance for construction of a 9 foot by 18 foot, 10.5 foot high building to cover freezers, 4.3 feet from the rear setback where 10 feet is required. The structure is needed to protect the freezers and minimize the noise from the freezer compressors. The structure will be placed in the rear of the lot in line with placement of the existing seafood processing building. It will be in-between the seafood processing building and the car repair building, which is on the same lot (Attachment A, site plan).

BACKGROUND

The Industrial Zone has setbacks of ten feet on all yards according to current standards. This building was constructed in 1984 under different zoning requirements. The building has legally non-conforming setbacks of four feet in the south side yard, and 4.4 to 4.5 feet in the west rear yard, where the proposed freezer building will be placed.

ANALYSIS

Physical Features

The subject lot is level with no outstanding physical features.

Neighboring Structures

The car repair building on the applicant’s lot to the north is 2 and 2.6 feet from the rear setback (Attachment A). The building adjacent to the south of the applicant’s property encroaches over the property line by .4 inches along the length of the building, and encroaches four feet for an 8.2 feet wide staircase (Attachment A). The structure on the adjacent property to the west rear of the lot, the Alaska Lumber Mill, appears to be very close to the property line, though the exact distance could not be verified by a survey. The Alaska Lumber Mill building does not have any windows facing the applicant’s property.

A staff site visit indicates that all buildings immediately adjacent to the subject property have substandard side and rear yard setbacks. Other industrial buildings in this vicinity also appear very tightly placed, though exact measurements could not be verified.

Safety considerations

A staff site visit indicates extensive activity in this crowded narrow area between two active businesses, with various types of heavy equipment and mechanical tools. Construction of a freezer cover would protect the freezers and minimize noise from the compressor. It would also improve the appearance of this busy area and reduce the hazards to employees from exposed, open equipment.

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 resulting from an extraordinary situation
  2. or

  3. hardship and practical difficulty resulting from a 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 area of the lot as well as the development pattern of the neighborhood. Staff finds hardship and practical difficulty resulting from the extraordinary situation of existing substandard setbacks on the lot and in the neighborhood of the subject property. We therefore conclude that this variance request does meet the Grounds for Variances, as established in CBJ §49.20.250 (b). This code provision is required to be met prior to a Board of Adjustment application consideration.

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.

The relaxation applied for would allow the property owner to construct a freezer building in line with the existing seafood processing building in the rear of the lot, which would maximize use of the property in this busy industrial area. A lesser relaxation would push the structure farther forward into the area of highest activity and minimize options for use of the area behind the structure. Other property owners in the immediate area have structures at or near, and sometimes over, the property line. Thus staff finds that the relaxation would give substantial relief to the property owner and be more consistent with justice to other property owners.

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.

The intent of Title 49 is established in Section §49.05.100 Purpose and Intent. Those sections, which are applicable to the requested variance, are as follows:

    1. To identify and secure, for present and future residences, the beneficial impacts of growth while minimizing the negative impacts;
    2. To ensure that future growth is of the appropriate type, design, and location, and is served by a proper range of public services and facilities such as water, sewage, and electrical distribution systems, transportation, schools, parks and other public requirements, and in general to promote public health, safety and general welfare;
    3. To provide adequate open space for light and air; and
    4. To recognize the economic value of land and encourage its proper and beneficial use.

The proposed variance does not violate any of the stated goals, and specifically supports goal #4, which encourages proper and beneficial use of the land by placing the structure to the rear of the lot to maximize use of the remaining area.

This criterion is met.

3. That the authorization of the variance will not injure nearby property.

Staff has reviewed the proposal through application materials and on-site, and has found no evidence that authorization of the variance will injure nearby property.

This criterion is met.

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

A building to cover freezers is an allowed use in this zone.

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;

  • Compliance with standards would not prevent the owner from using the property for industrial use, the permissible principle use on this lot.

    This sub-criterion is not met.

  • (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;

  • The lot currently has substandard setbacks for both side and rear yard setbacks for the auto repair building as well as the seafood processing building. The adjacent printing building extends over the property line. The structure to the rear of the lot is near the property line. Staff therefore finds that compliance would prevent the owner from using the property consistent with development in the neighborhood.

    This sub-criterion is met.

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

  • Staff has not found evidence of unique physical features on the property.

    This sub-criterion is not met.

    or

  • (D) Because of preexisting 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.

  • The lot has pre-existing legally non-conforming setbacks in the south side yard and west rear yard from previous construction under different code requirements. The proposed development would be the same distance from the rear setback as the existing building. Therefore, a grant of the variance would not result in a net decrease in overall compliance.

    This sub-criterion is met.

     

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

    The structure as proposed will further crowd an already crowded parcel. However placement of the structure within required setbacks will not change this, and will only exacerbate the crowding by placing the structure in a more awkward location further in the middle of the greatest activity. The structure will provide benefits to the neighborhood by reducing noise and protecting employees from exposed equipment. The structure will also improve the appearance of the area. Therefore staff finds that a grant of the variance will result in more benefits than detriments to the neighborhood.

    This criterion is met.

     

    JUNEAU COASTAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

    Staff has reviewed the development and found that no enforceable provisions of the JCMP apply.

     

    FINDINGS

                        1. Is the application for the requested variance complete?

    Yes. All required application materials have been submitted.

    2. Will the proposed development comply with the Juneau Coastal Management Program?

                        Not applicable.

    3. Does the variance as requested, meet the criteria of Section §49.20.250, Grounds for Variances?

    We find that the variance request meets the grounds for consideration of a variance, and meets all criteria.

     

    RECOMMENDATION

    We recommend that the Board of Adjustment adopt the director’s analysis and findings and grant the requested variance, which would allow construction of a 9 foot by 18 foot, 10.5 foot high building to cover freezers, 4.3 feet from the rear setback.