DATE:             October 3, 2001

TO:                  Board of Adjustment

FROM:           Tim Maguire, Planner
                        Community Development Department

FILE NO.:      VAR2001-00024

PROPOSAL: A variance to reduce the minimum required 20 foot frontyard setback to 14 feet to allow construction of gas pumps, and to 5 feet to allow construction of a canopy over the proposed pumps, in conjunction with the existing convenience store use.


GENERAL INFORMATION

Applicant:                     No Creek Jack, Inc.

Property Owner:          Coogan General, LLC

Property Address:        9951 Stephen Richards Drive

Legal Description:        USS 2100 FR

Parcel Code Number:  5-B21-0-131-000-0

Site Size:                     Approximately .4 Acres

Zoning:                       D-15 Multifamily

Utilities:                      CBJ Water & Sewer

Access:                      Stephen Richards Drive

Existing Land Use:     Convenience store (retail, package store, and laundromat).

Surrounding Land Use: North - Glacierview Mobile Home Park
                                    South - Mobile Home Park
                                    East - Vacant, Duck Creek


PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The applicant has requested an amendment to the existing conditional use permit for the convenience store use (Duck Creek Market) with the addition of fuel service (USE2001-00033). The proposal includes 2 fuel pumps located at the front (north side) of the building. In addition, a canopy is proposed over the pumps and a 6,000-gallon fuel storage tank is shown on the west side of the building.


BACKGROUND

During a revision of the Comprehensive Plan in the late 80’s this site was identified as an area appropriate for neighborhood commercial use. To implement the Plan, the site was designated a convenience store overlay district. Although the underlying zoning remained residential, the overlay district allows limited retail commercial use if a conditional use permit is obtained.

On August 4, 1989 the Planning Commission denied a request for a conditional use permit to establish a convenience store at this site. On October 14, 1989 the Assembly overturned the decision of the Planning Commission an approved the conditional use permit, with conditions.

The applicants are now requesting a modification to the existing conditional use permit to allow fuel service to be added to the existing convenience store uses (retail, package store, and laundromat).


ANALYSIS

The project proposes both the fuel pumps and the canopy to be located in the minimum required 20-foot front yard setback from Stephen Richards Memorial Drive. Specifically, the gas pumps would be located 14 feet from the right of way and the canopy within 5 feet from the right of way. Although these structures are not considered to be buildings, the following section of the Land Use Code specifically calls for these uses to meet building setbacks:

(2) As used in this section, the term building includes any substantial structure, which because of its size, shape, or use tends to constitute a visual obstruction or generate activity similar to that usually associated with a building. The following structures shall be deemed to fall within this description:

(A) Fuel pumps and associated overhead canopies or roofs;

(B) Carports; and

(C) Telecommunication satellite receiving antennae.

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 topography as well as pre-existing development at the site. Staff finds that the hardship and practical difficulty results from the extraordinary situation of the pre-existing building and site plan. Moving the proposed pumps and canopy 20 feet back from the roadway is impossible due to the limited area between the roadway and the building. Location of the fuel service use on another portion of the site appears to be impractical due the requirement for maintaining functional circulation and minimum number of parking spaces. Based on hardship and practical difficulty, we 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.

Staff has recommended through the conditional use process that the canopy size be reduced to be more compatible with surrounding development in the area. Specifically, that the clearance under the canopy to be reduced to 14 feet, the height of the leading edge of the canopy be reduced from 2 feet to 1 foot, and that the length canopy be reduced from 34 feet to 30 feet . After these reductions, it appears the canopy would be at a minimum size to be useful based on comparable structures. With regard to the fuel pumps, there does not appear to be any room to increase these setbacks and allow for a minimum aisle width. Therefore this lesser relaxation (reduced canopy area in the setback) would give substantial relief to the owner of the property involved 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. Sections applicable to the proposed variance include:

  1. To achieve the goals and objectives, and implement the policies, of the Juneau Comprehensive Plan and coastal management program;
  2. To ensure that future growth and development in the city and borough is in accord with the values of its residents;
  3. 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.

The project generally conform to the Comprehensive Plan policy for establishing limited neighborhood commercial use at appropriate locations within the CB J. Staff review indicates no negative impacts to public safety and welfare.

This criterion is met.

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

There is no evidence that authorization of a variance to allow the canopy and fuel pumps to encroach into the frontyard setback would injure nearby property.

This criterion is met.

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

A convenience store, including fuel service with canopy is an allowed use in a convenience store overlay district, if a condition use permit is approved.

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 existing standards would make a canopy and fuel pumps impractical at this location. It could be argued that without a canopy, the fuel service would not be viable based on the fact that canopies are an important amenity to all other fuel service sites in the CBJ. However compliance with standards has not prevented the owner from using the property for the convenience store and other related uses. 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;

Prior to 1989, this site has been used commercial type activities associated with the adjoining Sprucewood Mobile Home Park development. For the past 12 years, the site has been used for a convenience store. The current proposal, to add fuel service, will be conditioned on reducing the size of the canopy and review of its design. Both condition are to make the canopy more consistent as to scale, amenities, and appearance to the existing store as well as existing development in the neighborhood. As noted above relocating the fuel pumps on site or increasing the setback is not feasible.

The mobile home park development directly to the west and bordering Stephen Richards Memorial Drive has numerous individual mobile homes that are encroaching into a 20-foot setback area. Therefore compliance with standards would unreasonably prevent the owner from using the property in a manner consistent with existing 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 is unaware of any unique physical features affecting this property that would render compliance with standards unreasonably expensive. This sub-criterion is not met.

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.

There do not appear to be any pre-existing conditions that would apply. This sub-criterion is not met.

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

Encroachment of the canopy into the front yard setback could result in some loss to the residential character of this area. However an attempt has been made to minimize this impact with conditions on the design of the structure. The benefit would be a cover from the elements for neighborhood residents who would use the fuel service because of its convenience. Without benefit of the public’s opinion, staff would see more benefit from the provision of the covered amenity with conditions to minimize any detrimental impact. 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

1. Is the application for the requested variance complete?

Yes. We find that application for the requested variance is has all required application forms, and drawings.

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

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?

Yes. Staff finds that the proposal meets the Grounds for Variances and all criterion for variances in Section §49.20.250.

 

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 gas pumps located 14 feet from the right of way and a canopy within 5 feet of the right of way, with the following conditions:

1.That the clearance under the canopy to be reduced to 14 feet, the height of the leading edge of the canopy reduced from 2 feet to 1 foot, and that the length canopy be reduced from 34 feet to 30 feet.

2. That the applicant submit a lighting plan with the building permit for approval by the Community Development Department. The plan must insure that lighting intensity will be limited, and that lighting be shielded and directed away from the surrounding residential area.

3. That the applicants submit building plans for the canopy that insure consistency with color and design of the adjoining building. These plans shall be approved by the CDD with the building permit.