Hearing Examiner #: HE-14-PL-007
Planning #:SUB2014-0003 / VAR2014-00003
City Contact:Kathy Bell
Hearing Date: 04/09/2014
Description: Plat Alteration request of Christine Myers and Stephen Regulinski re 104 and 106 Bayside Place (aka Lots 3 and 4 of the Edgemoor Manor Plat)
Decision Date: 04/23/2014
Decision Summary:Approved with Conditions
This matter came before the Bellingham Hearing Examiner for hearing on the 9th day of April 2014 on the application of Stephan Regulinski and Christine Myers for Plat Alteration and a Subdivision Variance to divide two lots at 104
-- 106 Bayside Place into four lots.
Testimony was received from Kathy Bell, Bellingham Planning and Community Development Department; Stephan Regulinski, Applicant; Christine Myers, Applicant; Paul Schissler,714 Wilson Avenue; Michael Hopley , 909 Cowgill Avenue; Lisa Heisey, 912 Wilson Avenue; Norman Hale, 1712 10th Street; and Brooks Anderson, 905 Wilson Avenue.
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. Stephan Regulinski and Christine Myers applied for an alteration of the Edgemoor Manor Plat to further divide Lots 3 and 4, located at 104 and 106 Bayside Place, into a total of four lots. They also request a variance from the requirements to construct Cowgill Avenue to three-quarter standard and to extend water and sewer mains in Cowgill Avenue across the full frontage of the property.
2. The subject property is located between Bayside Place and Cowgill Avenue, approximately one block from Fairhaven Middle School. It is in Area 2 of the Edgemoor Neighborhood and is designated Residential Single, 7,200 square feet minimum detached lot size. Special conditions include view.
3. The Edgemoor Manor Plat was approved by the City and recorded by the Whatcom County Auditor in 1953. It includes a total of 28 lots. Restrictive covenants applicable to the lots in the plat were filed for record in 1954. A copy of the covenants was submitted for the record in this proceeding.
4. The property includes a total of approximately 29,900 square feet, sufficient land area to accommodate four lots. It currently contains two single-family residences, one on each of the existing lots.
5. The Applicants propose to divide the property into four lots. Each of the existing residences would remain on lots fronting on Bayside Place. The two new lots would front on Cowgill Avenue only. Each lot would contain at least 7,200 square feet of land area. Each of the lots would be at least 70 feet wide at the building setback line and satisfy dimensional requirements of BMC 18.36.
6. The Applicants request variances from the provisions of BMC Title 18 which requires improvement of Cowgill Avenue to three-quarter standard and extension of water and sewer mains in Cowgill Avenue across the full frontage of the proposed lots.
7. RCW 58.17.215 provides for alterations of subdivisions. A proposed alteration of a subdivision may be approved after public hearing and determination of the public use and interest in the alteration. Applications for alterations that would result in violation of restrictive covenants applicable to the property must contain an agreement by all parties subject to the covenants for the termination or alteration of the covenants to accomplish the purpose of the proposed alteration.
8. Cowgill Avenue is constructed to approximately 16 feet in width abutting the property and to the east and west in this neighborhood. The narrow street is consistent with the expressed preference in the Fairhaven Neighborhood Plan and the Pedestrian Master Plan for this area to have streets left in a "rural standard".
9. Currently one of the existing lots in the subject property has vehicular access to Cowgill Avenue. The other lot obtains access from Bayside Place, but also abuts Cowgill. The proposed plat alteration would create one additional lot that would be accessed from Cowgill Avenue.
10. The proposal would extend water and sewer mains across the frontage of one of the lots and end at a point that would serve the other lot, but would not extend across its full frontage. These extensions of the water and sewer mains are not likely to serve any other properties.
11. Variance criteria for subdivision variances are set forth in BMC 18.48.010. BMC 13.08.050 also provides criteria for variances from street construction requirements.
12. City staff recommends approval of the plat alteration and variances subject to the conditions set forth in the Staff Report.
13. Comments were received from the public for this proposal. Most of the comments supported a variance from the requirement to improve Cowgill Avenue, citing the desire to maintain the character of the neighborhood. The comments also expressed concerns regarding the proposed plat alteration, including traffic safety, drainage, interface with the Fairhaven Neighborhood, neighborhood character, lot width, compliance with covenants, and the need for safety and drainage improvements in the area. Fairhaven Neighbors requested that the applicants be required to contribute to needed improvements in the area in lieu of street and utility improvements.
14. The proposed plat alteration would create two new lots that conform to the neighborhood density standard and other requirements of the subdivision ordinance, other than abutment on a three-quarter standard street and full abutment of water and sewer mains.
15. The proposed plat alteration will provide two additional residential lots, providing for housing needed to accommodate population projections for the community. It will serve the public use and interest.
16. Widening of Cowgill Avenue would not be in the best interest of the neighborhood. It would add a short section of improved street that would be out of character with the remainder of the street, and other streets in the vicinity, and would not significantly add to the safety or function of the transportation system.
17. The proposed lots fronting on Cowgill Avenue are the last lots to be served by the proposed water and sewer main extensions. The lots can be adequately served with main extensions that only partially abuts the frontage of one of the lots.
18. Granting a variance from street width and utility abutment requirements, as proposed, would not be unduly detrimental to the public interest or to the property or improvements in the area. It would avoid construction of infrastructure and maintenance responsibilities for improvements that are not desired by the neighborhood, are inconsistent with adopted plans, and provide little, if any, added function.
19. The proposed lots would conform to the requirement stated in the restrictive covenants that each lot be at least 70 feet wide at the building setback line. No evidence was presented that the proposed lots would violate any other applicable provision of the covenants.
II. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. The proposed plat alteration will serve the public use and interest and satisfies the criteria for approval set forth in RCW 58.17.215.
2. Interpretation and enforcement of private restrictive covenants are outside the jurisdiction of the City. No violation of the covenants has been demonstrated that would prevent the proposed plat alteration.
3. Requiring contribution to public improvements in lieu of street widening and utility extensions for which variances are granted is only appropriate if the public improvements are necessary to mitigate the adverse impacts of the variances. The Bellingham Municipal Code does not provide any authority for requiring contributions for unspecified improvements not required for mitigation.
4. The proposed variances from street construction and water and sewer main extension requirements satisfy the criteria specified in BMC 18.48.010 and 13.08.050.
5. The plat alteration and variances 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.
The proposed plat alteration, further dividing Lots 3 and 4 of the Edgemoor Manor Plat into a total of four lots, and variances from street construction and utility main extension requirements, are approved, subject to the following conditions:
1. The plat alteration shall consist of no more than four lots. All lots shall comply with the requirements of BMC Title 18, except as variances are granted herein. The plat shall be designed generally as shown on Exhibit A
, attached hereto, except as modifications are required to comply with the conditions set forth herein.
2. Each lot shall contain at least 7,200 square feet of site area, provided that lot averaging in accordance with BMC 18.36.020A may be permitted.
3. Minor amendments to the plat may be approved by the Technical Review Committee as specified in BMC 18.20.020.
4. Lot design shall conform to the requirements of BMC 18.36. Development of the property shall comply with the provisions of BMC Titles 13, 15, 16, 18, and 20 except as variances are granted.
5. This approval shall expire as provided in RCW 58.17.
6. Heavy equipment work shall comply with the provisions of BMC 10.24.
7. Impact and Subdivision fees for transportation, schools, and parks shall be paid in accordance with applicable BMC requirements.
8. Design and construction of the plat and improvements thereon and development of the lots shall comply with all applicable requirements of the Bellingham Municipal Code.
9. All required easement documents shall be subject to review and approval of the Planning and Community Development and Public Works Departments and the Office of the City Attorney, and recorded concurrently with the final mylars.
10. No further improvement of Cowgill Avenue is required with the plat.
11. Driveway location and design shall comply with applicable Public Works standards. A shared driveway for access to Cowgill should be considered, if feasible.
12. A public water main shall be installed in accordance with plans and specifications approved by the Public Works Department from the current main at Cowgill Avenue and 10th
Street west across the full frontage of Lot 3, and to a point determined by the Public Works Department as necessary to serve Lot 2.
13. A public sewer main shall be extended from the existing main in Cowgill Avenue east across the full frontage of Lot 2 and 10 feet across the frontage of Lot 3, or to a point determined by the Public Works Department as necessary to serve both lots. The design, location and installation of the sewer main shall be in accordance with plans and specifications approved by the Public Works Department.
14. The requirements for final plat set forth in BMC 18.20 shall be completed prior to final plat approval.
15. Mailboxes shall be installed as approved by the United States Postal Service.
16. Monumentation shall be as required in BMC 18.28.180.
17. The following shall be shown on the face of the plat:
Conditions for Final Plat Approval
b. Joint utility easements
c. A 10-foot wide easement adjacent to public rights-of-way reserved for utility purposes, as determined necessary by the utility providers.
d. A note stating that all lots are subject to the conditions set forth in this Order, and as may be amended, shall be place on the face of the final plat.
e. A note referencing the existing private covenants shall be placed on the face of the final plat.
The following conditions shall be satisfied and improvements accepted by the City prior to final plat approval pursuant to BMC 18.20. Financial surety may be accepted as provided in BMC 18.28.020.
1. All utilities, including public water and sewer, electrical, gas, phone, and cable, shall be installed, in accordance with variances granted herein and plans and specifications approved by the Public Works Department.
2. Construction of required stormwater management shall be in accordance with BMC 15.42. Thresholds for Stormwater requirements shall be determined as though the variance from street construction had not been granted.
3. The existing private utility services for Lots 1 and 4 shall be located and identified. Any service that unreasonably interferes with the buildable area of Lots 2 or 3 shall be relocated to avoid such interference.
4. All easements necessary for the private utilities shall be provided in a separate document recorded concurrently with the final plat mylars.
5. A minimum of two street trees for each of Lots 2 and 3 shall be installed in accordance with a Street Tree Permit approved by the City. Bonding may be accepted in lieu of installation for a time period not to exceed one year due to seasonal restrictions. A street tree permit application shall be reviewed concurrently with engineered drawings for the proposal to ensure there are no conflicts with the proposed location of the trees and proposed public infrastructure. If there are conflicts the public infrastructure shall be revised to avoid such conflicts.
Lot Development Requirements
Individual lot development for single-family detached units shall be subject to compliance with BMC 20.30.
ENTERED this 23rd
day of April 2014.
Bellingham Hearing Examiner