Hearing Examiner #: HE-13-PL-001
City Contact:Lindsay Kershner
Hearing Date: 02/13/2013
Description: One and Three-quarter Rule Subdivision request of Yvonne Desaulniers and James Milord re 701 W. Illinois Street (aka Greenleaf Short Plat #2416
Decision Date: 02/27/2013
Decision Summary:Approved with conditions.
This matter came before the Bellingham Hearing Examiner for hearing on the 13th day of February 2013 on the application of Yvonne and James Milord for short plat approval and variances to divide the property located at 701 W. Illinois Street into two lots.
Testimony was received from Lindsay Kershner, Bellingham Planning and Community Development Department; and Adam Morrow, Applicant's Representative.
In addition to the Bellingham Municipal Code and Comprehensive Plan, the following documents were considered as part of the record: See Exhibit List.
I. FINDINGS OF FACT
1. Yvonne and James Milord applied for approval of a two-lot short plat, lot width variance, and rear yard setback variance for property located at 701 W. Illinois Street.
2. The subject property is located in Area 8B of the Cornwall Park Neighborhood. This area is designated Residential Single, 5,000 square feet minimum detached lot size.
3. The property is located at the southwest corner of W. Illinois and Grove Streets. It consists of Lot 7 and 8 of Block 225, Supplemental Map of the Town of Whatcom, as well as approximately 25 feet of unplatted property south of the W. Illinois Street right-of-way.
4. At the time the lots were platted in 1889 the plat stopped approximately 40 feet south of what is now Illinois Street. The strip of unplatted land south of Illinois Street was intended to be platted into lots that would be oriented towards Illinois Street. W. Illinois Street was constructed after the platting and took a portion of the land that would have been platted into separate lots, leaving the subject parcel with insufficient dimensions to divide under current lot requirements, including an increased minimum lot width for corner lots, without a variance.
5. An existing house is located on Lot 8 and the unplatted portion adjacent to W. Illinois Street. The Applicants propose to divide the property along the existing lot line between Lots 7 and 8.
6. The proposed Lot 2, the southern lot, would have approximately 5,002 square feet and the proposed Lot 1, the northern lot, would have approximately 4,880 square feet of area.
7. With the proposed division Lot 1 would have approximately 48.67 feet of lot width. Lot 2 would be approximately 50 feet wide. Each lot would be approximately 100 feet deep. BMC 18.36.020E requires a corner lot width of 60 feet. The Applicants request a variance to allow the corner lot width of Lot 1 to be approximately 48.67 feet.
8. Because W. Illinois Street abutting the property is a designated arterial street the yard abutting it is considered the front yard and the yard between proposed Lots 1 and 2 is considered the rear yard. The existing distance between the house on proposed Lot 1 and the rear lot line is 3.8 feet. BMC 20.30.040F requires a rear yard of 10 feet.
9. Other lots fronting on W. Illinois Street in the immediate vicinity are similar in size and configuration. Variances have been granted for other properties in the area under similar circumstances.
10. Both proposed lots abut the developed alley between Grove and Russell Streets.
11. W. Illinois and Grove Streets are improved to a modified three-quarter standard within a 60-foot wide right-of-way.
12. BMC 18.020A allows short subdivision of two or more lots of record with administrative approval if the total site area is at least 1.75 times the required minimum site area for two proposed lots. The total site area of the subject lots of record is greater than 1.75 times 10,000 square feet, the minimum site area required for two lots in this location.
13. The existing house on proposed Lot 1 was constructed in 1926, prior to the adoption of zoning regulations.
14. Due to the orientation of the home on proposed Lot 1 the rear yard to the south of the residence functions as a side yard. If designated as a side yard the required setback would be five feet from the property line.
15. Both proposed lots abut City water, sewer and improved street.
16. There are no special conditions applicable to Area 8B of the Cornwall Park Neighborhood.
17. Stormwater management is regulated by BMC 15.42. Impervious area in excess of 5,000 square feet may require stormwater mitigation.
18. City staff recommends approval of the short plat and variances subject to the conditions set forth in the Staff Report.
19. One public comment was received for this proposal. It expresses concerns regarding stormwater drainage and the type of structure that may be constructed on the new lot. A neighbor across Grove Street from the subject property indicated that filling in a ditch adjacent to the subject property could result in flooding of his property. He also indicated that several homes have been constructed on Grove Street that do not fit the neighborhood character and he did not want another one constructed on this site.
20. The Public Works Department indicates that enclosure of the ditch is approved, that the enclosure must be done in accordance with adopted development standards, and that stormwater controls and mitigation must comply with BMC 15.42.
21. The Applicant's Representative indicates that the property is sloped downhill from east to west so that water would run towards the subject property and not across Grove Street. He also states that the intent is to access the new lot from the alley and not from Grove Street.
22. No design standards other than building code requirements are applicable to single family residences in this neighborhood. The small size of the lot limits the type of design that could be accommodated on the property.
23. Criteria for variances from lot width requirements are contained in BMC 18.48. The unusual platting history, removal of a portion of the parcel for W. Illinois Street, and the construction of the existing residence prior to land use regulations are extraordinary conditions which would cause the enforcement of the lot width requirement for corner lots to result in an undesirable plat. The proposed lot width variance results in a better lot design and would not be detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to property or improvements in the vicinity. The proposed development is characteristic of other development in the neighborhood.
24. Criteria for variances from rear yard setback requirements are set forth in BMC 20.18.020. The existence of the residence constructed prior to land use regulations, the orientation of the improvements toward Grove Street, unusual platting history and taking of land for Illinois Street are unusual circumstances that would lead to the deprivation of rights and privileges enjoyed by other properties in the vicinity if the rear yard setback requirements were strictly enforced. Reduction of the rear yard setback as proposed will not impact other properties or the public interest. Efficient use of the property consistent with the City's Comprehensive Plan would be encumbered if the variance is not granted.
II. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. The subject parcel has sufficient site area for two lots.
2. The infrastructure necessary for the division of the property into two lots is in place.
3. The criteria for variance from lot width requirements for proposed Lot 1 have been met.
4. The criteria for variance from rear yard setback requirements for proposed Lot 1 have been met.
5. The proposed short plat and variances as requested should be approved, subject to the conditions set forth below.
6. Any Finding of Fact that should be denominated a Conclusion of Law shall be deemed to be a Conclusion of Law. Any Conclusion of Law that should be denominated a Finding of Fact shall be deemed to be a Finding of Fact.
Preliminary approval for the short plat, Greenleaf Short Plat #2416, and approval of the lot width variance and rear yard setback variance are granted subject to the following conditions:
1. Lot 2 shall have a minimum lot width of 50 feet. The remainder of the width of the property along Grove Street shall be the lot width of Lot 1.
2. Lot 1 shall have a rear yard setback from the property line between Lot 1 and Lot 2 of at least three feet eight inches, as determined by a licensed surveyor.
3. Mitigation for stormwater management necessary to support the proposed development based on an engineered stormwater site plan that addresses mitigation requirements of BMC 15.42 and the 2005 Department of Ecology Stormwater Management Manual for Western Washington shall be provided. Mitigation is not necessary at this time if it is demonstrated that the total of new or replaced impervious surfaces will not exceed 5,000 square feet. Notation on the face of the plat that limits the square footage of impervious surface for future development and redevelopment within the short plat boundaries is required. Contents of the notation shall be determined by City staff.
4. Five copies of the plat (checkprints) prepared by a licensed surveyor, a plat certificate, and plat closure sheet must be submitted to the Planning and Community Development Department for review and approval prior to submittal of mylars.
5. A licensed land surveyor must prepare and submit two signed mylar copies of the plat based on a record of survey and staff's review of the checkprints. At a minimum, the signature of any person having a vested interest in the subject property shall be on the mylar document.
6. A per lot filing fee, as established by ordinance, must be paid to the City prior to final short plat approval. The current established fee is $106.00 per lot, requiring a total payment of $212.00. The filing of the mylars will change the current legal description of the property to Lots 1 and 2, Greenleaf Short Plat.
7. The City may impose additional conditions if it is found that sufficient information was not presented with the application and/or such conditions are necessary to comply with the Bellingham Municipal Code.
8. The short subdivision application and preliminary approval will expire three years from the date of this decision unless the plat is recorded at the Whatcom County Auditor's Office within that time period.
9. The division and development of the property shall comply with all other applicable regulations of the Bellingham Municipal Code, except as variances are granted herein.
10. A condition shall be placed on the face of the plat stating that all development occurring on the lots shall comply with this decision, and as it may be amended.
11. The short plat and proposed development shall substantially conform to the materials submitted in support of the application, except as otherwise provided herein.
ENTERED this 27th
day of February 2013.
Bellingham Hearing Examiner