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Subdivision Variance request of Tim Cornwell re 2305 Alabama Street (aka Cornwall-Xenia Short Plat #2442)

Hearing Examiner #: HE-13-PL-041
Planning #:VAR2013-00024
Incident #:
Filing Date:10/14/2013
City Contact:Kathy Bell
Hearing Date: 11/13/2013
Description: Subdivision Variance request of Tim Cornwell re 2305 Alabama Street (aka Cornwall-Xenia Short Plat #2442)
Decision Date: 11/20/2013
Decision Summary:Approved with conditions.

This matter came before the Bellingham Hearing Examiner for hearing on the 13th day of November 2013 on the application filed on behalf of Tim Cornwell for a two-lot short plat and subdivision variance for property located at 2305 Alabama Street in Bellingham.
Testimony was received from Kathy Bell, Bellingham Planning and Community Development Department; Tim Cornwell, Applicant; and Brian Christie, Applicant's Surveyor/Representative.
In addition to the Bellingham Municipal Code and Comprehensive Plan, the following documents were considered as part of the record: See Exhibit List.

1. Christie and Christie Surveying applied for a two-lot short plat and subdivision variance from lot width requirements, on behalf of the property owner, Tim Cornwell, for property located at 2305 Alabama Street.
2. The subject property is located in Area 1 of the Roosevelt Neighborhood. This area is designated Residential Multi, Duplex, 3,600 square feet, 7,200 square feet minimum detached lot size for single-family.
3. The property is located at the northeast corner of Alabama and Xenia Streets. It is approximately 127 feet wide and 120 feet in depth, containing approximately 15,257 square feet of area. It abuts an alley on the east side.
4. The property contains an existing single-family residence and detached garage.
5. The area surrounding the property is developed with single-family residences and duplexes. The Yew Street shopping center is located one block away.
6. The Applicant proposes to divide the property into two lots. The existing residence would be located on proposed Lot 2, a corner lot fronting on Alabama Street. Proposed Lot 1 would front on Xenia Street. Lot 1 would contain approximately 6,977 square feet in area and Lot 2 would contain approximately 8,280 square feet. The detached garage and a deck, which would straddle the proposed lot line, would be removed.
7. The proposed lot line between the two lots would be located approximately 10 feet from the foundation of the existing residence in order to maintain the required 10 foot rear yard setback.
8. Proposed Lot 1 would have a lot width of 55 feet. This width is five feet less than the 60-foot interior lot width required in BMC 18.36.020E.
9. Proposed Lot 2 would have a lot width of slightly more than 65 feet, which is approximately five feet less than the required corner lot width of 70 feet, as provided in BMC 18.36.020E. The Applicant requests a variance from the lot width requirements.
10. BMC 18.36.020A(6) provides that a lot averaging mechanism may be utilized for creation of more functional and desirable lot designs as long as the parent parcel contains sufficient land area to short subdivide and meet density requirements, provided each lot must contain at least 90% of the required minimum area. Each of the proposed lots satisfies this requirement.
11. Alabama Street and Xenia Street are at least 60 foot wide rights-of-way, improved to minimum standard or better. The alley abutting the property is improved and on the City's maintenance list. The property currently takes access from Alabama Street. Alabama Street is an arterial street with four travel lanes, left-turn pockets, sidewalks and gutters. It is served by Whatcom Transportation Authority transit buses.
12. The property is adequately served with City water and sanitary sewer, public streets and utilities.
13. The property is served by the Bellingham School District. An elementary school, with a safe walking route, is located several blocks from the property.
14. Public parks, trails and playgrounds are located within several blocks of the property.
15. Development on the parcel is not anticipated to exceed 5,000 square feet of impervious surface. In the event new or replaced impervious surfacing on the property exceeds 5,000 square feet mitigation for stormwater will be required in accordance with BMC 15.42.
16. The property consists of three platted lots that are 40 feet wide. Other properties in the area were similarly platted. Some of these lots were developed as stand-alone parcels and do not meet the current lot width requirements. It is unlikely that the current lot width standards were in effect at the time the neighborhood was developed.
17. City Staff recommends approval of the short plat and variances subject to the conditions set forth in the Staff Report.
18. No public comment was received for the proposal.
19. Variance criteria are set forth in BMC 18.48.010
20. Granting a variance from the lot width requirements allows for better utilization of the property while maintaining the existing residence. Due to the shape of the lot and the location of the existing residence division is not possible without removal of the residence or reduction in setback area.
21. The proposed variances will not impact the function of the arterial street as the existing residence and access to it will remain in its current location.
22. The proposal is consistent with other properties in the area.
23. The proposed variances will result in a better lot design, which satisfies the goals of the Comprehensive Plan encouraging infill development and efficient use of the City's land supply.
24. Granting the variances will not be unduly detrimental to the public welfare nor injurious to the property or improvements in the area.
25. Appropriate provisions have been made for the public health, safety and general welfare, for open spaces, drainage ways, streets, alleys, transit, potable water, sanitary waste, parks and recreation, playgrounds, schools, sidewalks and safe school routes.
26. The public use and interest will be served by the short plat.
1. The proposed short plat satisfies the criteria for short plat approval in BMC 18.12.
2. The proposed variances satisfy the criteria set forth in BMC 18.48.010.
3. The proposed short plat and lot width variances should be granted subject to the conditions set forth below.
The two-lot short plat, known as the Cornwell-Xenia Short Plat #2442, is preliminarily approved, generally as shown in Exhibit A, and lot width variances are approved subject to the following conditions:
1. Lot 1 shall have a minimum lot width of at least 55 feet.
2. Lot 2 shall have a minimum lot dimension abutting Xenia Street and the alley of at least 65 feet.
3. Vehicular access to Alabama Street from Lot 2 shall be restricted to the existing curb cut. This restriction shall be noted on the final mylars.
4. The following note shall be shown on the face of the plat: The single-family residence located on Lot 2 shall not be converted to multi-family use unless the structure is brought into compliance with multi-family development regulations specified in Bellingham Municipal Code Chapter 20.32, as amended.
5. All structures which straddle the interior lot line, or which would unlawfully encroach into required setbacks, shall be removed prior to final approval of the short plat.
6. Necessary mitigation for stormwater management necessary to support the project based on an engineered stormwater site plan that addresses mitigation requirements within BMC 15.42 and the 2005 Department of Ecology Stormwater Management Manual for Western Washington shall be provided. Mitigation is not necessary at this time if demonstrated that the total of new or replaced impervious surfaces will not exceed 5,000 square feet. Notation on the face of the plat that limits the square footage of impervious surface for future development and redevelopment within the short plat boundaries is required. Contact the City for the appropriate notation.
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 current legal description of the property to Lots 1 and 2, Cornwell-Xenia Short Plat.
10. City staff may impose additional conditions if it is found that sufficient information was not presented with the application and/or they are 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 decision unless the plat is recorded at the Whatcom County Auditor's Office (BMC18.040.100).
12. 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.
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 22nd day of December 2013.
Bellingham Hearing Examiner
Dawn Sturwold