DATE:             July 18, 2001

TO:                  Board of Adjustment

FROM:           Oscar Graham, Planner
                        Community Development Department

FILE NO.:      VAR2001-00023

PROPOSAL: A Variance for an 8' allowance into the required 20' front yard set-back for a residential addition.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant:                         Dale & Ellen Campbell

Property Owner:              Dale & Ellen Campbell

Property Address:            9399 Rivercourt Way

Legal Description:             Lakewood, Block A, Lot 16

Parcel Code Number:       5-B21-0-119-016-0

Site Size:                           0.32 acres

Zoning:                             D-5, Single Family / Duplex Residential

Utilities:                            CBJ Water & Sewer

Access:                            Rivercourt Way

Existing Land Use:           Single Family Residence

Surrounding Land Use: North - Mendenhall River
                                    South - Single Family Residential
                                    East - Single Family Residential/Rivercourt Way
                                    West - Undeveloped Land (Zoned D-5)

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The subject proposal is to construct a 12’ by 20’ addition to an existing single family residence. The addition would extend the existing attached garage to within approximately 12 feet of the front property line located at the culdesac of Rivercourt Way. The addition will be a two-story structure which will include residential area on the second floor. The addition will adhere to all other dimensional requirements of the D-5 Zoning District.

BACKGROUND

Restrictive Covenants associated with the Lakewood Subdivision may also effect the location and extent of residential development on the subject property. Covenants recorded in conjunction with the subdivision addressing front yard setbacks, maintenance of forested areas and removal of riparian vegetation may apply to the proposed addition and should be also be evaluated by the property owner.

The property owner considered two options in developing the proposal. Option 1 would locate the addition along the north side of the existing residence almost entirely within the 50’ stream setback of the Mendenhall River. Option 2 which is the subject of this variance request would locate approximately one third of the addition within the required 20’ front yard setback with the southeast corner of the structure encroaching to within 12 feet of the front property line.

ANALYSIS

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. A variance may be granted after the prescribed hearing and after the Board of Adjustment has determined:

The proposed development was reviewed for:

Staff reviewed the nature and type of hardship and practical difficulties documented in the application. Staff agrees that a hardship and practical difficulties exist. The hardship is based on the lawful location and orientation of the existing residence, irregular lot shape and the applicant’s need to add an attached area to the structure. The practical difficulties are associated with the need to construct an addition in conjunction with the existing residential floor plan and required front yard and stream setback requirements. The hardship and practical difficulties represent an extraordinary situation affecting only a specific property and render it difficult to carry out the provisions of Title 49. Staff has determined that the variance process represents an appropriate remedy to the hardship.

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.
  2. The relaxation applied for would provide substantial relief to the applicant by authorizing construction of a 240 square foot addition, approximately 80 square feet of which would encroach into the front yard setback. While it is not clear that the relief requested is more consistent with justice to other property owners, several adjacent property owners have provided correspondence in support of the request. Because of the relatively small area of encroachment a lesser relaxation is not recommended. This criterion is met.

  3. 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.

Staff have determined that an encroachment to within 13 feet of the front property line located at the culdesac of Rivercourt Way would not inhibit the intent of Title 49 and that option 1 proposing construction within the streamside setback area may compromise the intent of the habitat provisions of Title 49. No impacts to public safety and welfare have been identified in conjunction with the proposal. This criterion is met.

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

While authorization of the variance would provide for encroachment into the frontyard setback, it does not appear that the encroachment would injure nearby properties. Several adjacent property owners have provided letters of support for the proposal. Injury to adjacent properties is addressed further under the restrictive covenants recorded in conjunction with the Plat of Lakewood. This criterion is met.

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

Approval of the variance would not authorize a use not allowed in the zoning district involved. The D-5 district provides for single family and duplex residential development at a density of five dwelling units per acre. This criterion is met.

    5. That compliance with the existing standards would:

    1. Unreasonably prevent the owner from using the property for a permissible principal use;
    2. While compliance with existing standards would limit the scale of use it would not unreasonably prohibit the property owner from utilizing the property for a permissible principal use. This sub-criterion is not met.

    3. 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;
    4. Compliance with the existing standards would not appear to prevent the owner from using the property in a manner consistent as to scale, amenities, appearance or features of existing development in the neighborhood. The subject property and its associated residential related structures is comparable to other residential uses and structures in the neighborhood. This sub criterion is not met.

    5. Be unnecessarily burdensome because unique physical features of the property render compliance with the standards unreasonably expensive;

The location of the existing structure on the irregular shaped lot and proximity to the Mendenhall River do appear to render compliance with the existing standards unreasonably expensive. The variance request appears to be a well-reasoned attempt to make the best use of the existing floor plan while minimizing encroachments into setbacks. This sub-criterion is 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.

No pre-existing non-conforming conditions were identified in conjunction with the subject property. This sub-criterion is not met.

Because sub-criterion (C) is met, criterion 5 is satisfied.

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

By granting the relief requested by the applicant a relatively small encroachment into the front yard setback area will be authorized. The encroachment of approximately 80 square feet will provide for a 240 square foot expansion of the residential footprint which will include an additional 240 square feet on the second floor. The support of adjacent property owners for the proposal suggests that granting the variance would result in more benefits than detriments to the neighborhood. This criterion is met.

JUNEAU COASTAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

While option 1 would require a finding relative to the JCMP, option 2 as proposed avoids encroachment into the stream setback area. Staff have reviewed the proposed development and determined that no enforceable provisions of the JCMP apply the proposal.

FINDINGS

  1. Is the application for the requested variance complete?
  2. Yes. We find the application contains the information necessary to conduct a full review of the proposed operations. The application submittal 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 July 13 and 23, 2001. Notice was mailed to owners of record of all property within 500 feet of the subject property.

  3. Will the proposed development comply with the Juneau Coastal Management Program?
  4. Not applicable.

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

Staff has determined that the requested variance meets criteria 1-6

RECOMMENDATION

It is recommended that the Board of Adjustment adopt the director’s analysis and findings and provide approval on the requested variance.