Accessory bldg. ordinance wins board approval

Published 7:55 pm Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The issue of accessory buildings raised its ugly head againTuesday night, and after much debate and deliberation, aldermenhave finally reached a conclusion.

Ward Six Alderman David Phillips, who tackled the task of gettingthe city out from under the moratorium on accessory buildings bywriting an ordinance on the allowed size of outbuildings on privateproperty in residential areas, presented another draft of hissolution Tuesday night.

It came under immediate fire from Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell,who had written his own version of the ordinance as well, basing iton Phillips’ suggestions from the last meeting.

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Phillips suggested that the allowed size of an accessory buildingshould be based on the percentage for that area, with a maximumsize of 2,500 square feet.

Maxwell argued that there should be no maximum size, sinceresidents of affluent areas might have several outbuildings such aspool houses, storage buildings, and things associated with tenniscourts, for instance.

“We’re three months into this moratorium, and that’s a long time tokeep people waiting,” Phillips said, adding that he had spent alarge amount of time on the research for the suggested ordinance.”We are always changing, this can change in the future also.”

Phillips went on to say that the ordinance said that under nocircumstances should the total accessory building footage on apiece of property exceed 2,500 feet.

“That’s reasonable,” he said. “Most people don’t have homes thatlarge.”

The ordinance applies to residential areas only, Phillipsreiterated.

Maxwell, who said at the last meeting that he is interested inbuilding a 2,400-square foot accessory building on his property,stood firm that he did not believe there should be a cap on thesize of the building beyond the percentage.

“I have a problem with limiting it to 2,500 feet, because when youdo that it’s useless to leave the percentage in there,” Maxwellsaid.

City Attorney Joe Fernald said in the past when the question hascome up, boards have looked at each situation on a case-by-casebasis, especially where multiple adjoining lots werepurchased.

Board members reminded Maxwell that people who want to build largeraccessory buildings than what are allowed can appeal their plans tothe board, and can be permitted by special exception. In addition,Phillips said, there can be and should be an on-site inspectionbefore the city issues the permit to build.

The board finally voted unanimously to accept the ordinance withthe allowance that there can be appeals for specialexceptions.

After further discussion, the board agreed to hold a public hearingon the changes to the zoning ordinances, which include R1, R2 andR3, as well as recent previous changes to the C1 areas. The hearingwill be held on August 17 at 6 p.m.

There could be another potential public hearing in the case of aproposed candy shop in Ward Three that was turned down in an R2neighborhood by City Building Inspector Chip Gennaro and theplanning commission, officials said.

Ward Three Alderman Mary Wilson wanted to make a motion to allowthe candy shop, but other officials said that it would instead needto be a vote to either uphold or turn down the planningcommission’s denial of the shop. Mayor Les Bumgarner explained toher that laws are in place for a reason and it’s not the place ofthe city board to break them.

“This is an easy one,” Phillips said. “It’s not a vote against Mrs.Wilson, it’s a vote for the ordinance. This is spot zoning in itspurest form, which is illegal. There is no reason this should bepassed.”

Wilson’s motion against the planning commission’s decision wasdenied by a 4-3 vote, with Wilson, Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates,and Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron casting the dissenting votes.The commission’s decision was then upheld in a separate vote by a5-2 margin with Bates and Wilson against.

City Clerk Mike Jinks also set a tentative time for the publichearing on the budget on Thursday, Aug. 26 at 5:30 p.m.

Budget workshops will start depending on aldermen schedules inAugust. Jinks said he hopes the new budget can be adopted at theSept. 7 board meeting.