BZA agrees to move line
The Board of Zoning Adjustments issued conditional approval for a variance to reduce a rear building setback at 23 Pamona Drive during its July 18 meeting.
The adjustment was needed to accommodate a septic system on the same lot as a three bedroom home the applicant, Gary Person, would like to build.
“We picked this particular lot because it’s a beautiful location and what we want to be able to do is build a house that fits the character of the neighborhood,” he said. “We are asking for what we perceive to be the minimum amount that we need.”
Person said that the lot’s topography includes a dip in the front, which means the front of the lot cannot be used for septic.
The setback requested was 13.67 feet, compared to a typically-required 15 feet, making an adjustment of 1.33 feet, or roughly 16 inches.
Senior planner Jennifer Bonner said that there is also a drainage culvert in the front yard that needs to be worked around, which prevents the house from simply being moved forward.
“Believe me, I’ve looked at this for several days trying to come up with something simpler than this,” Bonner said.
Associate planner Sarah Bingham said that this property is surrounded by common property, meaning there is no neighboring lot someone may try to build on.
The applicant, she said, is in talks with the Arkansas Health Department about adjusting the septic lines to prevent this from being necessary. But if that falls through, she said, the applicant will need this variance to build his house.
Board member Charles Whittenberg said he had trouble understanding why the house couldn’t simply be moved. However, he said, because this configuration has already been submitted for approval elsewhere and the applicant would need to pay an architect for additional adjustments, it doesn’t seem reasonable to ask that he spend more money.
“My inclination is that I’m willing to grant the waiver given that nothing else changes,” he said. “I believe that our goal should be that we don’t have to issue variances when variances are not actually required.”
The board unanimously approved the variance on the conditions that it be approved by the health department, the city receives documentation from the POA allowing the applicant to encroach closer to the side of, but not over, the property line and, if the health department requires changes, the applicant needs to work with his architect to fit everything in without using this variance. Additionally, the approval for this variance is to be recognized if a way to include both within the required setbacks cannot be found.