MONROE CITY BOARD OF ADJUSTMENTS MEETING
AUGUST 20, 2008
1. Board of Adjustments Chairman Rick Roberts called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
Prayer was offered by Board Member Bart Lee
Following review of the minutes of January 3, 2008, a motion was made by Board Member Murial Mathis seconded by Board Member Peggy Roundy to accept the minutes of the January 3, 2008 board of adjustments meeting as presented. All were in favor. Motion carried.
Board of Adjustments Chairman Rick Roberts
Members of the board: Peggy Roundy, Bart Lee, Murial Mathis, Brian Florang
Recorder Emalee Curtis
John and Janice Huntamer
2. John Huntamer - 455 East 580 South - Request for variance for a front yard set-back to allow the set-back to be 21'.3" instead of 30'. Monroe City Land Use Ordinance Section 1104-3.
Chairman Rick Roberts welcomed John and Jan Huntamer to tonight’s meeting. He asked if all board members had a chance to observe the property involved with tonight’s variance request? They had.
Mr. Huntamer explained that this portable carport has been in place for nearly two years. He was not aware that he was required to obtain a building permit until he received a letter from the Sevier County Building Inspector stating that he was in violation because he did not have a building permit and that the structure would not meet Monroe City’s front yard set back requirements.
Commissioners reviewed the city’s land use ordinance and definitions of a building, carport and private garage. They also reviewed the section relating to which structures require a building permit. They feel that this structure fits under carport or garage, which requires the same set back as other buildings under the city’s land use code and a building permit.
Board member Peggy Roundy said that she does not see that this application should be considered a hardship. The board is bound to uphold the land use laws of the city. She feels that this is a desire rather than a real hardship. She reported that in July, 2007, Ginnie Beckes applied for a similar variance. She wanted to build to within 21' of her front yard set back. She was much more constrained because of the location of her home and the canal. Her variance was denied. If this one is allowed, it would set a precedent.
Board member Roberts said that the planning commission and land use ordinance has clearly stated definitions requiring building permits. Conditions for approval have been defined by the land use ordinance.
The comment was made that even though at the present time, there is no one on either side of property, we have to plan for future development. That’s the reason the rules are in place.
Ms. Huntamer said that she has noticed quite a few buildings that look closer than 30' set back around town. Also, Lance Mills carport is still out of compliance.
There was a discussion about locating this carport to another area of their property.
Mr. Huntamer referred to page 54 of the city’s zoning ordinance which states that the minimum front yard set back for any building shall be 30' or an average set back of main buildings existing in abutting lots. It appears to him that this should give him an opportunity to have a variance. There was some confusion on his part on where his actual property line is located.
Board member Florang said that the set back should be at least 30' or an average of buildings on abutting lots, it doesn’t matter where the property line is, he just needs to follow the rule.
The board reviewed photos of Mr. & Mrs. Huntamer’s property and buildings on their lot.
Mr. Huntamer asked if a variance can be allowed based on the site conditions? The criteria for granting a variance were reviewed. Mr. Huntamer’s application stated that strict enforcement of the set back rule would produce undue hardship? He said if the structure is moved, it would have to be located on the other side of the house, which might interfere with drainage from the roof. If moved to that location he would have to install some type of drainage line or drain tile.
Board member Peggy Roundy asked what is being done with the present attached garage. She looks at this request as a desire than a necessity, not something that couldn’t be located some place else on the property.
The definition of front yard open space was read from page 34 of the land use ordinance.
Mr. Huntamer said that since this is not a corner lot, they are really not obstructing vision for any traffic.
Chairman Roberts said that if this variance was approved, everyone could be allowed to build within the 30' required front yard set back.
Board member Murial Mathis said that the city has ordinances that were adopted and should be followed consistently and fairly by everyone.
Mr. Huntamer commented that he feels that approval of a variance here would not be contrary to the public interest.
Board member Roundy said that when adjacent vacant lots are built on, it may create a problem. If this were to be allowed, then new neighbors would be allowed to build closer than the 30' set back because they would be in line with Huntamer’s carport.
The board of adjustments is trying to maintain the spirit of the ordinance now and for future development.
Mr. Huntamer’s concern is that there are quite a few structures in town that are closer than 30'. He showed photos of examples of structures closer than 30' on various properties.
Board members commented that as a board, they are trying to make sure that the current land use ordinances are followed from here on. They can’t undo what has happened in the past. Board member Round said that she feels that as long as there are other options for locating this structure somewhere else on the property, a variance cannot be granted. She has been charged with the responsibility of making decisions based on the good of the entire community.
Ms. Huntamer said that they want to do the right thing, that’s why they are here tonight.
Board member Roberts said that even if mistakes have been made in the past, this board doesn’t want to make mistakes now and have pledged to follow what is stated in the city’s current ordinances. As board members are trained, they are more aware of their duties and responsibilities serving on the city’s board of adjustments.
Mr. Huntamer referred to page two of his application. If the board does not find unreasonable hardship, might a variance be justified if related to unusual topography? He does not feel that there is a good place on his property to relocate the carport. He is not enlarging his home, just putting a roof on a concrete driveway. He is asking for a variance as he feels that moving the carport would cause him an unreasonable hardship because of the shape and topography of his property and special circumstances. He also feels that he has a right to a variance because of other examples he has pointed out where structures are located less than the required 30' front yard set back. He would like for the board to be fair. He understands that they want to do the right thing, but the board also must be fair.
Board member Roundy said that a variance is defined as waiving of strict requirements when there are conditions that cause an unreasonable hardship. She feels that this structure could be relocated on the other side of the house or to the rear of the property. She feels that this is a personal desire, not a hardship. She hates to have them move it, but does not feel it this meets the criteria for approval of a variance.
Mr. Huntamer stated that he feels that this does not constitute an obstruction and does not create any problem in his front yard. He understands that the board feels otherwise and is glad to have the opportunity to state his case. He understands that a decision will be made tonight.
Chairman Roberts asked if there was any more discussion or questions? There were none.
A motion was made by board member Peggy Roundy to deny the variance with the clarification that she feels badly that she will be making a motion opposed to their desires, however, she feels as a responsibility to the community that it would be a detriment to the town if permitted. Motion seconded by board member Murial Mathis. Voting for the motion: All were in favor, none opposed. Motion carried. Variance denied.
There was a brief discussion on a survey that was done within this subdivision and the location of property lines. Has the new survey been recorded? If not, the original plated subdivision property lines, or the perceived property lines and fence lines have not changed.
Recorder Curtis presented open public meetings training to the board.
A motion was made by board member Brian Florang seconded by board member Bart Lee to adjourn at 8:25 p.m. All were in favor. Meeting adjourned.
Approved this 29th day of April, 2009
Emalee H. Curtis, City Recorder