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Conditional Use Permit request of Ken and Areil Lennon re 3622 Dana Road


Hearing Examiner #: HE-14-PL-026
Planning #:CUP2014-00007
Incident #:
Filing Date:05/23/2014
City Contact:Brian Smart
Hearing Date: 07/09/2014
Description: Conditional Use Permit request of Ken and Areil Lennon re 3622 Dana Road
Decision Date: 07/23/2014
Decision Summary:Approved with conditions

SUMMARY OF DECISION
The requested conditional use permit to expand and enclose a carport on an existing oversized accessory building for storage of the property owners' recreational vehicle at 3623 Dana Road, Bellingham, Washington is APPROVED subject to conditions.

SUMMARY OF RECORD
Request:
Timothy Ulrich, on behalf of Ken and Ariel Lennon (Applicants), requested approval of a conditional use permit to expand and enclose a carport on an existing oversized accessory building for storage of the property owners' recreational vehicle at 3623 Dana Road, Bellingham, Washington.

Hearing Date:
The Bellingham Hearing Examiner conducted an open record hearing on the request on July 9, 2014.

Testimony:
At the hearing the following individuals presented testimony under oath:

    Brian Smart, City of Bellingham Planner
    Timothy Ulrich, Applicant's Representative
Exhibits:
At the open record hearing, the following exhibits were admitted in the record:

Exhibit 1 Staff Report to the Examiner, dated July 9, 2014 with the following attachments:
          A. Conditional Use Permit Application
            1. Comments in support from three neighbors
          B. Site Plan / Elevations / Floor Plan (4 Sheets)
          C. BMC 20.16.010
          D. Oversized Accessory Buildings List
Exhibit 2 Notice of Public Hearing, issued June 27, 2014
Exhibit 3 Email from Kim Weil, Planning Department, dated April 16, 2014

Upon consideration of the testimony and exhibits submitted, the Hearing Examiner enters the following findings and conclusions:

FINDINGS
1. The Applicants requested approval of a conditional use permit to expand and enclose the carport on an existing oversized accessory building to allow storage of the property owners' recreational vehicle at 3623 Dana Road, Bellingham, Washington. The legal description of the subject property is Fox Heights N 98 FT of Lots 1 Thru 4 Block 2, Subject to Covenant to Bind Properties AF 910913092; Parcel # 380214469291. Exhibit 1. Exhibit 1; Exhibit 1, Attachment E.
2. The 26,262-square foot subject property is located in Area 1 of the Birchwood Neighborhood, with a Residential Single Detached zoning designation, which requires a minimum lot size of 20,000 square feet. Exhibit 1; BMC 20.00.020.
    3. The subject property is rectangular with an existing single-family residence adjacent to the (narrower) east end along Dana Road. A existing gravel driveway extends west from the frontage along the north property line. Near the northwest rear corner of the site, there is an existing oversized accessory building approved by the Board of Adjustment in 1991. The northern wall of the accessory structure is approximately 6.5 feet from the north side property line. Existing lot coverage by structure is approximately 20%. In its current condition, the site conforms to the use and development requirements of the underlying zoning district. Exhibit 1; Smart Testimony.
      4. Surrounding development consists of single-family homes on larger lots. Exhibit 1; Site Visit.
        5. The existing oversized accessory structure measures approximately 1,500 square feet in area. The northwest corner of the structure includes an exposed car port which Applicants propose to expand and enclose in order to allow them to store their recreational vehicle inside the building. The area of new roof would measure 12 by 12 feet and result in a total building size of 1,644 square feet. Exhibit 1; Exhibit 1, Attachments A and B.
          6. The Bellingham Municipal Code (BMC) restricts accessory structures to 800 square feet unless approved through the conditional use permit process. BMC 20.30.100.A.2. Although the existing structure is already oversized, new conditional use permit review is required for its expansion. Smart Testimony.
            7. The Applicants submitted the instant conditional use permit application on May 16, 2014 with detailed site plans and elevations. Exhibit 1, Attachment A.

            8. The proposed addition to the accessory structure is intended to create dry and secure parking for the Applicants' personal RV out of the elements. Enclosing the car port would have the added benefit of allowing the Applicants to turn the RV around on-site, preventing the need to back into the street or turn around in the public right-of-way. Existing stormwater facilities are adequate to serve the minor amount of additional roof area. The elevations submitted depict a design consistent with the surrounding single-family development. No commercial activities are proposed. Approval would not result in additional trips to and from the site and would not increase demand for public services or infrastructure. No vegetation would be removed to accommodate construction. Exhibit 1, Attachment A; Ulrich Testimony.
              9. There is a wetland located off-site to the northwest, which according to the City's Environmental Planner requires an 80-foot buffer that extends near or into the site. However, no part of the proposed improvements would intrude into the 80-foot buffer. No critical areas permit is required. Exhibit 3.
                10. Submitted application materials assert that there are no known natural, scenic, or historic features of major significance in the vicinity. Exhibit 1, Attachment A.
                  11. The addition of cooking facilities would convert the proposed structure into an accessory dwelling unit, which is prohibited. The Bellingham Municipal Code defines accessory dwelling unit as a second, subordinate dwelling unit for use as a complete, independent dwelling with permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation. BMC 20.08.020. No cooking facilities are proposed or allowed within the structure. Ulrich Testimony; Smart Testimony.
                    12. The proposed addition to the northwest corner of the accessory structure would face the forested rear lot lines of adjacent larger residential lots and would be visible from few properties. If approved, the addition may not be visible from the street at all or may result in negligible alteration of the visible portion of the structure from the street. Exhibit 1, Attachment A; Site visit.
                      13. The required neighborhood meeting was held on May 14, 2014. Two adjacent neighbors attended and indicated support of the proposed carport enclosure. Exhibit 1, Attachment D.1.
                        14. Including the existing structure, there have been 16 oversized accessory buildings approved in the Birchwood Neighborhood. They range in size from 942 to 1,536 square feet. With the proposal, the Applicants' accessory structure would become the largest in Birchwood by approximately 100 square feet. Exhibit 1, Attachment D.
                          15. Notice of application was issued May 28, 2014, and notice of the open record public hearing was issued June 27, 2014. The City did not receive public comment on the application up to the close of the public hearing. Exhibit 1; Smart Testimony; Exhibit 2.
                            16. Planning Staff recommended approval, asserting that the proposal would not impact public facilities or utilities, would not generate additional traffic, and would satisfy the required yard setbacks and height limits of the underlying zone and all other applicable requirements in the Residential Single Development Chapter of the BMC. Exhibit 1; Smart Testimony.

                            CONCLUSIONS
                            Jurisdiction:
                            The Hearing Examiner is granted authority to hold hearings and make decisions on conditional use permit applications pursuant to BMC 20.16.010.D.

                            Criteria for Review
                            Pursuant to Bellingham Municipal Code 20.16.010.B, conditional use permits for conditional uses allowed in the general use type may be granted by the hearing examiner if the record demonstrates the following:
                                1. The proposed use will promote the health, safety, and general welfare of the community.
                                2. The proposed use will satisfy the purpose and intent of the general use type in which it is located.
                                3. The proposed use will not be detrimental to the surrounding neighborhood.

                            Pursuant to BMC 20.16.010.C, in applying the standards set forth in subsection B(above), the hearing examiner shall consider the following factors as to whether the proposed use will:
                              1. Be harmonious with the general policies and specific objectives of the comprehensive plan.
                              2. Enable the continued orderly and reasonable use of adjacent properties by providing a means for expansion of public roads, utilities, and services.
                              3. Be designed so as to be compatible with the essential character of the neighborhood.
                              4. Be adequately served by public facilities and utilities including drainage provisions.
                              5. Not create excessive vehicular congestion on neighborhood collector or residential access streets.
                              6. Not create a hazard to life, limb, or property resulting from the proposed use, or by the structures used therefor, or by the inaccessibility of the property or structures thereon.
                              7. Not create influences substantially detrimental to neighboring uses. “Influences” shall include, but not necessarily be limited to: noise, odor, smoke, light, electrical interference, and/or mechanical vibrations.
                              8. Not result in the destruction, loss, or damage to any natural, scenic, or historic feature of major consequence.

                            Conclusions Based on Findings:
                            1. The proposal promotes the health, safety, and general welfare of the community. The oversized accessory structure would allow indoor storage of the Applicants' RV in a manner that would be consistent with existing on and off-site residential development. The record contains no evidence of harm to natural, scenic, or historic features of consequence, nor of possible hazard to persons or property. Findings 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, and 16.

                            2. With conditions, the proposal satisfies the purpose and intent of the general use type in which it is located. Oversized accessory structures are allowed in the Residential Single Detached zone by conditional use review. As proposed, the structure would comply with the use, height, and setback standards applicable to the underlying zone. Findings 3, 5, 6, 8, and 11.

                            3. The proposal would not be detrimental to the surrounding neighborhood. The proposed addition is a minor change to an existing structure at the rear of the property that may not be visible from the street and would only be visible to a few neighbors. Its design would be consistent with the existing structure's appearance. Adjacent property owners have indicated support. There is no evidence that the project would result in noise, odor, smoke, light, electrical interference, and/or mechanical vibrations beyond those associated with typical single-family development. No new traffic is anticipated. In complying with setbacks and height restrictions, the structure would not adversely affect access to any existing structures, utilities, or the right-of-way. Findings 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, and 16.

                            DECISION
                            Based upon the preceding findings and conclusions, the requested conditional use permit to expand and enclose an existing carport on an existing oversized accessory building for storage of the property owners' recreational vehicle at 3623 Dana Road, Bellingham, Washington is APPROVED subject to the following conditions:

                            1. The structure shall not exceed 1,644 square feet in floor area.

                            2. The design, location, construction, and use of the proposed structure shall be substantially consistent with the plans, drawings, representations submitted in support of the application, except for such modifications as may be required to comply with the conditions of this conditional use permit or a building permit issued for the proposal.
                              3. New construction shall comply with all requirements of the Bellingham Municipal Code, including, but not limited to, Title 20, building codes, and stormwater regulations.
                                4. Use of the structure is restricted to the family residing on the property. No business or commercial uses of the accessory building shall be allowed. No cooking facilities are authorized.
                                  5. The Applicant shall submit a revised building permit.


                                  DECIDED July 23, 2014.
                                  Bellingham Hearing Examiner
                                  ________________________________
                                  Sharon A. Rice, Pro Tem
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