Hearing Examiner #: HE-14-PL-002
Planning #:SUB2013-00030 / VAR2013-00026
City Contact:Kathy Bell
Hearing Date: 02/12/2014
Description: Lot Line Adjustment and Variance request of Pacific Surveying & Engineering re 1700/10 Chuckanut Crest Drive (aka Northern Meadows)
Decision Date: 02/26/2014
Decision Summary:Approved with conditions
This matter came before the Bellingham Hearing Examiner for hearing on the 12th day of February 2014 on the application filed by Adam Morrow, Pacific Surveying and Engineering for a lot line adjustment and variance for property located at 1700/1710 Chuckanut Crest Drive.
Testimony was received from Kathy Bell, Planning and Community Development Department; Adam Morrow, Pacific Surveying & Engineering, 1812 Cornwall Avenue; Ryan and Elya Moore, 2701 California Street; Christoper Grannis, 701 Chuckanut Drive North; George Dodge, 2500 California Street; and Mark and Cathy McKenzie, 2700 California Street.
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. The Applicant, on behalf of the property owners, requests approval of a five-lot lot line adjustment with a variance from the requirement that each lot front on a street for the two lots that currently front on California Street via pipestem portions of the lots.
2. The subject property is legally described as Lot 3, Chuckanut Trail LLA; Lots A and B of the D. Gregory LLA; and Lots 2 and 3, North Chuckanut Estates Short Plat.
3. The property is located adjacent to the southern boundary of the city, south of California Street and northeast of Chuckanut Crest Drive.
4. The property is located in Area 9 of the South Neighborhood and is designated Residential Single, 20,000 square feet minimum detached lot size.
5. The property consists of five lots, two of which (Proposed Lots D and E) are currently occupied by single-family residences. These residences are accessed by Chuckanut Crest Drive, a private road. The other three lots are currently unoccupied.
6. Proposed lots D and E were created in 1994 with the recording of the Chuckanut Trail LLA. Proposed Lots A, B and C were created in 2005 with the recording of the North Chuckanut Estates Short Plat. The boundary line between proposed Lots C and D was altered in 2013 in the D. Gregory LLA.
7. Variances were granted by the Bellingham City Council at the time of preliminary approval of the North Chuckanut Estates Short Plat, relieving several of the lots from street frontage requirements. Two of the lots obtained street frontage through long pipestems extending along the southern and eastern boundaries of the plat to California Street.
8. Conditions of the short plats creating these lots required that the lots take physical access from Chuckanut Crest Drive. The pipestems included in the lots do not provide functional access to California Street due to the topography of the site.
9. The Applicant proposes to eliminate the pipestems leading to California Street and add the land within the pipestems to the abutting lots.
10. Elimination of the pipestems would allow proposed Lots A, B and C sufficient suitable area for the location of on-site septic systems.
11. If the requested variance is approved only proposed Lot A would have frontage on California Street. The other lots would not have frontage on a public street.
12. City staff recommends approval subject to conditions set forth in the Staff Report.
13. Public comment was received for this proposal. Most of the comments requested that access from the lots to California Street be prohibited, except for emergency access.
14. BMC 18.48.010 provides for variances to subdivision requirements if there are extraordinary conditions, such as unusual shape, exceptional topography, geological problems, or environmental constraints that cause the literal enforcement of the regulations to involve difficulties or result in an undesirable plat; or if the granting of the variance results in better lot design than previously existed; and granting the variance will not be unduly detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to property or improvements in the area.
15. The property is located on a steep hillside. The pipestems are not functional for access because a driveway could not be constructed within the boundaries of the pipestems due to the topography.
16. The area of the pipestems serves no functional purpose for the lots.
17. Elimination of the pipestems results in a better lot design. It allows the area included within the pipestems to be used by the abutting lots for on-site septic systems and buildable area.
18. Granting the variances will not be unduly detrimental to the public welfare and will not injure property or improvements in the area. The variances will not affect the manner of access to the properties. Restrictions on access to California Street that were previously imposed remain in effect.
II. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. The proposal satisfies the variance criteria set forth in BMC 18.48.010.
2. Variances should be granted to allow the elimination of the pipestems and to relieve the lots currently fronting on California Street through the pipestems from street frontage requirements, subject to the conditions set forth below.
3. The requirements for a lot line adjustment specified in BMC Chapter 18.10 have been satisfied, subject to the conditions set forth below.
The proposed Northern Meadows Lot Line Adjustment, together with variances from street frontage requirements for proposed Lots D and E, are approved, subject to the following conditions:
1. Principal vehicular access for all lots shall continue to be from Chuckanut Crest Drive/Chuckanut Drive, not from California Street. Emergency or other access to California Street shall be subject to such conditions and restrictions as may be determined by the City.
2. The variances granted herein are limited to the lots as shown in this lot line adjustment and for no more than one single-family residence per lot. Any further division or subdivision of the lots shall require further application for variance.
3. The following note shall be placed on the face of the plat:
1) All lots contained within this lot line adjustment shall conform to the Hearing Examiner Order No. HE-14-PL-002, as may be amended.
2) Lots A, B, and C of this lot line adjustment are subject to the conditions and restrictions imposed or set forth in North Chuckanut Estates Short Plat #1542, recorded under Auditor's File Number 2051004170.
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 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 right 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 $530.00. The filing of the mylars will change the legal description of the property to Lots A-E, Northern Meadows Lot Line Adjustment.
7. The City may impose additional conditions if it is found that sufficient information was not presented with the application and/or necessary to comply with the Bellingham Municipal Code.
8. The preliminary approval and the variance associated with the lot line adjustment application will expire three years from the date of this Order unless the plat is recorded with the Whatcom County Auditor's Office (BMC 18.04.100).
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.
ENTERED this 26th
day of February 2014.
Bellingham Hearing Examiner