Hearing Examiner #: HE-13-PL-006
City Contact:Kim Weil
Hearing Date: 03/13/2013
Description: Setback Variance request of Tom and Kerri Lenderman re 1201 Northshore Drive.
Decision Date: 03/22/2013
Decision Summary:Approved with conditions.
This matter came before the Bellingham Hearing Examiner for hearing on the 13th day of March 2013 on the application of Tom and Kerri Lenderman for a variance from front yard setback requirements to construct a storage shed and covered patio on their property located at 1201 Northshore Drive in Bellingham.
Testimony was received from Kim Weil and Lindsay Kershner, Bellingham Planning and Community Development Department, Kerri Lenderman, Applicant, and Ernie and Trudy Judge, 1207 Northshore Drive.
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. Tom and Kerri Lenderman applied for a variance from front yard setback requirements to construct a storage shed and covered patio on their property at 1201 Northshore Drive.
2. The subject property is legally described as Lot C of the Minge Short Plat. It is located on Northshore Drive at the corner of Maynard Place in Area 3 of the Silver Beach Neighborhood. This area is designated Residential Single, Detached, 7,200 square feet minimum detached lot size. It is in the Urban I shoreline designation.
3. The property consists of two parts. The upland portion is located north of Northshore Drive and contains a residence. The secondary portion lies south of Northshore Drive along the shoreline of Lake Whatcom. This southern portion consists of lawn area and a vegetated area that is designated as a Native Vegetation Protection Area.
4. The Applicants propose to locate a storage shed and covered patio on the southern portion of the property. The proposed shed would be approximately seven feet deep by 17 feet wide. The proposed patio would be covered by a roof approximately 12 feet wide by 10 feet deep. The total footprint of the shed and patio would be approximately 525 square feet.
5. The southern portion of the property is approximately 75 feet wide by between 54 and 72 feet deep from the edge of Northshore Drive to the high water mark of Lake Whatcom.
6. A 25-foot setback from the high water mark of Lake Whatcom is required under the Shoreline Master Program in effect at the time of application.
7. Each portion of the property is subject to front yard setback requirements of 60 feet from the centerline of Northshore Drive, 30 feet from the property line abutting Northshore Drive. Application of the front yard and shoreline setbacks to the southern portion of the property would leave a small sliver of land of approximately 30 square feet available for structures. The Applicants propose to locate the shed up to the property line.
8. Shoreline regulations allow normal appurtenances to a residence to be located within shoreline jurisdiction and exempt from shoreline permit requirements as long as they are outside the shoreline setback area. A shed and patio would be considered normal appurtenances to the residential use.
9. Northshore Drive was designated as an arterial street in 1980. This designation resulted in an increased front yard setback requirement for abutting properties. A number of existing structures are located in the vicinity within the front yard setback. They were probably constructed prior to 1980.
10. Other properties in the area have a shoreline access portion with structures similar to those proposed by the Applicants.
11. The residence was constructed on the upland portion of the lot in 2011. Requirements of the Lake Whatcom Regulatory Chapter, BMC 16.80, required establishment of a Native Vegetation Protection Area (NVPA)and an engineered stormwater management system for the property. The shed and patio are proposed to be located adjacent to the NVPA.
12. The proposal will require review for compliance with stormwater management regulations. The reconstruction of an existing fence within the right-of-way will also require Public Works Department review and approval.
13. City staff has recommended approval subject to conditions set forth in the Staff Report.
14. Public comments were received for the proposal. They either indicated support or lack of objection to the proposed variance. One comment indicated that vegetation in excess of 15 feet in height would block his view.
15. Variance criteria are set forth in BMC 20.18.020.
16. The property is unusual in that it is bisected by Northshore Drive and, therefore, subject to two front yard setback requirements. Application of the standard setbacks leaves virtually no space for structures on the shoreline portion of the property. These factors deprive the property of privileges enjoyed by other shoreline property owners to have full access to the shoreline portion of their properties. Without a variance the property owners are required to carry belongings associated with enjoyment of the shoreline back and forth from the residence, across Northshore Drive. A variance will allow them to store these belongings in a secure structure in the area where they are used.
17. Granting the variance will not be unduly detrimental to the public welfare or to other properties in the vicinity. The proposed structures are similar to others located nearby. They do not encroach on the shoreline setback or the NVPA. More than half of the frontage of the property would remain uncovered by structures. The structure is proposed to be approximately 12 feet high at its highest point.
18. Without a variance no functional structures could be located on the property. This impairs the ability of the property owners to use the shoreline portion of the property.
II. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. The proposal satisfies the criteria for a variance from front yard setback requirements.
2. A variance should be granted to allow construction of the proposed structures within the front yard setback as proposed, subject to the conditions listed below.
A variance is granted to allow construction of the proposed shed and covered patio within the front yard setback on the southerly portion of the property located at 1201 Northshore Drive subject to the following conditions:
1. No part of the proposed structures, including but not limited to eaves, foundations and walls, shall be located within the right-of-way.
2. The location, design and construction of the proposed structures shall be substantially as described in the materials submitted in support of the proposal, except as modified herein, provided that the structures may be reduced in footprint, size and height.
3. The Shoreline Exemption Permit (SHR2012-00021) shall be issued prior to any site work.
4. All grading and construction for development of the patio, shed, roof, and stormwater facility shall be outside the NVPA. The conservation easement (AF#2100800963) expressly prohibits grading and any kind of construction in or disturbance to the NVPA.
5. Prior to issuance of the Shoreline Exemption Permit a final site plan shall be submitted to the Planning and Community Development Department that shows the complete work area for both construction and maintenance of the shed. A development setback of at least three feet from the surveyed NVPA shall be provided and shown on the final site plan.
6. Prior to construction the final footprint of development shall be measured from existing survey points to ensure that it is not encroaching in the right-of-way, NVPA or the shoreline setback. City staff may perform an inspection of the measurements prior to any site disturbance.
7. Construction of the patio and stormwater infiltration trench, and any other work requiring land disturbance shall occur only between June 1st
and September 30th
in accordance with BMC 16.80 and BMC 15.42.
8. No materials are allowed to be stored or placed in the Northshore right-of-way north of the existing fence. No vegetation removal or planting in the right-of-way is allowed without permission from the City.
9. A Stormwater Permit shall be obtained at the time of or prior to the issuance of the Shoreline Exemption Permit. The stormwater management plan shall meet the stormwater requirements for development in the Lake Whatcom watershed., BMC 16.80 and 15.42.
10. A right-of-way use permit shall be obtained prior to rebuilding the fence in the Northshore Drive right-of-way. The fence shall be no more than four feet, six inches in height in accordance with BMC 20.12.050 or as allowed per BMC 20.30.110.
11. Failure to meet conditions or this variance or other required permits during construction shall be subject to a stop work order.
12. The location, design and construction of the proposed structures shall comply with all other requirements of the Bellingham Municipal Code.
13. This variance is limited to the structures proposed in the application.
14. The southerly, shoreline portion of the property shall remain consolidated with the northerly portion of the property described as Lot C, Minge Short Plat.
ENTERED this 22nd
day of March 2013.
Bellingham Hearing Examiner