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Subdivision request of K. Randhawa re 1015 Samish Way (aka Randhawa Short Plat #2453)


Hearing Examiner #: HE-14-PL-006
Planning #:CUP2014-00001 / SUB2014-00001 / VAR2014-00001
Incident #:
Filing Date:02/06/2014
City Contact:Kathy Bell
Hearing Date: 04/09/2014
Description: Subdivision request of K. Randhawa re 1015 Samish Way (aka Randhawa Short Plat #2453)
Decision Date: 04/18/2014
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 Ali Taysi, on behalf of Karmindar Randhawa, for a short plat of property located at 1011 and 1015 Samish Way to allow a motel and residence to be located on separate lots on the property, together with a Conditional Use Permit to modify a nonconforming use, and a Subdivision Variance to create a lot for the residence that does not abut on a public street or utility mains.
Testimony was received from Kathy Bell, Bellingham Planning and Community Development Department; Ali Taysi, Applicant's Representative; and Vinnie Randhawa, Applicant.
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. Ali Taysi applied for a two-lot short plat, a conditional use permit to increase the intensity of a nonconforming use, and a variance from street frontage requirements for property located at 1011 and 1015 Samish Way, on behalf of the property owner, Karmindar Randhawa.
2. The subject property is located on Samish Way in Area 4 of the Samish Neighborhood. It is designated Residential Single, 12,000 square feet minimum detached lot size.
3. The property contains a 10-unit motel and a single-family residence. The motel was first established in 1937. In 1969, a nonconforming use certificate was issued for a seven-unit motel on the site. In 1989, a conditional use permit was issued allowing construction and use of an additional three motel units. In 2006, a one-time administrative modification was granted to allow construction of a single-family residence on the property. This residence was constructed in 2010.
4. The proposal would divide the property into two lots, one for the single-family residence and one for the motel. The purpose of the division is to facilitate financing of the property. The motel owners/operators live in the residence, and intend to continue occupancy of the residence. However, so long as the residence is located on the same lot as the motel they are only able to obtain commercial financing, with higher rates and shorter terms than residential financing.
5. The proposed division requires modification of the conditional use permit because it would reduce the size of the parcel on which the motel is located.
6. BMC 18.12.040 requires that each lot created through a short plat process must abut City water, sewer, and an improved street. A variance from the street and utility frontage requirement is requested to create a lot for the residence in the northeast corner of the site, which does not have street or utility main frontage.
7. BMC 20.14.020E allows increasing the intensity of a nonconforming use through the granting of a conditional use permit. The proposal may not expand the use beyond the original site, add residential units, or result in further infringement of the land use development ordinance unless a variance is granted. The conditional use criteria of BMC 20.16.010 and .020 must be satisfied.
8. The parcel contains approximately 58,000 square feet of land area. The motel portion of the site is mostly flat. The residence is located on a knoll in the northeast corner of the site. Connelly Creek runs through the southern portion of the site. The motel and residence currently share a driveway off of Samish Way. They are served by individual water and sewer services.
9. The Applicant proposes to create a motel lot containing approximately 45,810 square feet and a residence lot with approximately 12,194 square feet.
10. In order to provide street frontage for the residence portion of the site pipestems would have to be extended along the northern portion of the property, along the eastern and southern boundaries of the site, or through the center of the site, bisecting the motel use and resulting in the creation of three lots. All of these options would adversely impact existing structures and functions of the property.
11. The application proposes a 30-foot wide easement for ingress, egress and utilities in favor of the residential lot through the motel lot in lieu of street frontage.
12. City staff have recommended approval of the proposal subject to the conditions set forth in the Staff Report.
13. No public comment was received for this proposal.
14. The proposed short plat does not expand the nonconforming motel use beyond the site described on the nonconforming use certificate and conditional use permit.
15. The proposal does not increase the number of residential units on the site.
16. The proposed short plat does not result in further infringement of the Land Use Development Ordinance.
17. The nonconforming motel use is a permitted use in some zoning districts in the City. It is not an industrial use.
18. The proposed division of the property will promote the health, safety and general welfare of the community. It will improve the function of the uses on the site, allowing more feasible financing for improvements and maintenance of the site.
19. The proposal will not be detrimental to the surrounding neighborhood or the public interest. It will not modify the functions of the site.
20. The proposal satisfies the requirements for short subdivision, except for street and utility frontage for the residential lot. Each lot will contain more than the minimum required site area and will exceed the minimum required dimensions. Each lot will be served by city water and sewer. The residential lot will be accessed by an easement through the motel lot, in the same area currently used for access and utilities for the residence.
21. No additional development is proposed for the site. Stormwater management requirements are not triggered by the proposal.
22. Granting a variance from the street and utility frontage requirements will result in a better lot design. It will avoid creation of pipestems for the residential lot that would impair the function of the existing uses and require removal of existing structures. Adding a pipestem in the location of the existing accessway for the residence would bisect the motel site, requiring the creation of three lots.
23. The residence lot can be adequately served by City water, sewer and street through an easement across the motel lot, as proposed. Granting the variance will not be unduly detrimental to the public welfare nor injurious to the property or improvements in the area.
II. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. The proposal satisfies the criteria for a Conditional Use Permit to modify/intensify the nonconforming motel use on the property by decreasing the site area on which the motel is located.
2. The proposal satisfies the criteria for a variance from the requirements of the Subdivision Ordinance that each lot front on a public street and City water and sewer.
3. The proposal satisfies the requirements for a short subdivision to divide the property into two lots, with a variance for street and utility frontage for the residence lot
4. The Conditional Use permit, Variance and Short Plat should be approved, subject to the conditions set forth below.
5. 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.
III. ORDER
The proposed short plat to divide the property located at 1011 and 1015 Samish Way into two lots, as shown in Exhibit A to the Staff Report and attached hereto, a Conditional Use Permit to allow intensification of the motel use by reducing the site area, as proposed, and a Variance from street and utility frontage requirements of the Subdivision Ordinance for proposed Lot 2, the residence lot, are approved, subject to the following conditions:
1. The property may be divided into two lots, generally as shown in Exhibit A. The site area for the nonconforming motel use may be reduced to the area of Lot 1 of the Randhawa Short Plat (SUB2014-00001).
2. All other terms and conditions of the 1989 Conditional Use Permit shall continue in effect for the nonconforming use.
3. Lot 2 shall comply with all requirements of BMC Chapter 20.30.
4. A joint use easement generally in the location shown on Exhibit A shall be submitted. The easement shall provide for access and utilities for Lot 2 and maintenance of the easement area and facilities and shall be recorded concurrently with final short plat mylars.
5. The location, design and installation of side services for City utilities shall be subject to review and approval of the Public Works Department.
6. Access facilities for ingress and egress to Lots 1 and 2 shall be subject to review and approval of the Public Works and Fire Departments.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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 legal description of the property to Lots 1 and 2, Randhawa Short Plat.
10. 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.
11. The short subdivision application and preliminary approval will expire three years from the date of this Order unless the plat is recorded at the Whatcom County Auditor's Office.
12. The division and development of the property shall comply with all other applicable regulations of the Bellingham Municipal Code, except as variances and nonconforming uses are granted herein.
13. 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 may be amended.

ENTERED this 18th day of April 2014.
Bellingham Hearing Examiner
________________________________
Dawn Sturwold
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