BOA 20-07 Staff Report

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Planning Staff Report

November 15, 2007

BOA # 20-07

Request by Scott Sessions and Mel Peterson for a Variance to Allow a Cantilever to Encroach a Maximum of 10 Inches into a 30 Foot Rear Yard Setback

Located at 2086 S. 3425 W. in Taylor

The petitioners are requesting a variance to allow a cantilever to encroach a maximum of ten inches into a 30 foot rear yard setback located at 2086 S. 3425 W. in Taylor. The petitioners are requesting a variance, and feel that they meet the requirements for a variance for the following reasons:

  1. Cantilevers are not currently addressed in the Zoning Ordinance, but should be.
  2. Unique circumstances exist due to the small size of the lots in the subdivision.
  3. Other cities measure setbacks to the foundation of a home and allow cantilevers to encroach.
  4. The variance request is small and any readjustment to the home would affect multiple aspects of the completed construction.

A home is currently under construction at this location on Lot 1 of Wally’s Acre Cluster Subdivision Phase 3. Because this lot is part of a cluster subdivision, it contains 10,708 square feet which is significantly less than the 40,000 square feet required for a non-cluster subdivision, and it has yard setback requirements which are smaller than those required for a non-cluster subdivision, to compensate for the smaller lot size. Chapter 22B (Cluster Subdivision Special Provisions) of the Weber County Zoning Ordinance states: “Where lots are reduced to 20,000 square feet or less, the front yard setback may be reduced to twenty-five (25) feet and the side yard setback to a minimum of eight (8) feet with the total of the two side yards not less than eighteen (18) feet.” The petitioners were the developers of this subdivision and were aware of the setback requirements for the lots prior to the subdivision being recorded.

A Land Use Permit for this lot was issued by the Weber County Planning Department on August 10, 2007. The permit was issued only after the submitted site plan for the lot had been reviewed for correct yard setbacks. The site plan showed a building envelope that met the required setbacks and the home, including the cantilever portion was shown inside the building envelope. However, the built location of the home does not follow the site plan because the cantilever encroaches 10 inches into the 30 foot rear yard setback. The encroachment was discovered by a Weber County Building Inspector during an inspection.

Chapter 23-8 (Yards to be Unobstructed-Projections Permitted into Required Yards) of the Weber County Zoning Ordinance states:
Every part of a required yard shall be open to the sky, unobstructed except for accessory buildings in a rear yard and excepting the following permitted projections:
  1. Belt courses, sills, and lintels may project eighteen (18) inches into required front, rear and side yards
  2. Cornices, eaves and gutters may project three (3) feet into a required front yard, five (5) feet into a required rear yard, and two (2) feet into a side yard
  3. Outside stairways, fire escapes, flues, chimneys and fireplace structures not wider than eight (8) feet measured along the wall of a building, may project not more than five (5) feet into a required front yard, ten (10) feet into a required rear yard, and three (3) feet into a required side yard
  4. Unwalled porches, terraces and balconies may extend five (5) feet into required front and rear yards
  5. Building accessories and sun breaks designed and intended to control light entering a building and being a permanent part of such building may project five (5) feet into a required front yard, ten (10) feet into a required rear yard and three (3) feet into a required side yard 5-71
  6. Service Station Canopies may extend into the required front yard of a service station site to cover pump islands and the adjacent vehicle service areas provided such canopies are located not closer than five (5) feet to the front property line.

Weber County currently measures setbacks to the closest projecting portion of a structure, not to the foundation, and every portion of the structure must be within the setback or meet the allowable encroachment requirements. Any encroachment other than those listed above obstructs the yard from being open to the sky as required by the Zoning Ordinance. The Cantilever in question is not mentioned in the Ordinance shown above and it does obstruct a portion of the required rear yard from being open to the sky.

The petitioners were aware of the encroachment requirements shown above prior to beginning construction on the home in question. Therefore, the hardship appears to be self-imposed. Several cities have been contacted by the County and the petitioners to determine how their setbacks are measured and the results were varied with some cities measuring the way the County currently does, and some cities measuring to the foundation of the home and allowing cantilevers to encroach. Due to this, the Weber County Planning Department has begun to look at the possibility of amending the existing ordinance language.

In order to grant a variance the Board must find that the request complies with the following:

  1. The variance will not substantially affect the comprehensive plan of zoning in the County and that adherence to the strict letter of the ordinance will cause unreasonable hardships, the imposition of which upon the petitioner is unnecessary in order to carry out the general purpose of the plan.
  2. Special circumstances attached to the property covered by the application which do not generally apply to the other property in the same zone.
  3. That because of said special circumstances, property covered by application is deprived of privileges possessed by other property in the same zone; and that the granting of the variance is essential to the enjoyment of a substantial property right possessed by other property in the same zone.
  4. That the condition and/or circumstances are not considered to be economic hardships or self-imposed hardships.

Staff Recommendations

Staff recommends that the variance be denied based on the following reasons:

  1. The current Zoning Ordinance requires that yard setbacks remain unobstructed.
  2. The hardship appears to be self-imposed.
  3. The petitioners are not being denied a right possessed by other property owners in the same zone.

Any motion for approval or denial of the variance should include specific findings to substantiate the motion.

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