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Cherrywood casita gets BoA approval

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 by Elizabeth Pagano

Despite a squabble over parking that split the Board of Adjustment last week, plans for a Cherrywood casita will move forward.

Homeowner Holly Kincannon was asking for two variances in order to build a casita behind her house at 3102 Lafayette Ave. for her mother-in-law. The first variance would reduce the parking requirements, and the second would eliminate the need for a driveway.

In the end, board members voted 6-1 to approve the variances, with Board Member Bryan King voting in opposition.

Attached to the board’s approval was a condition that the casita could not be rented out by the owners.

“I think that this is a prime example of affordable housing,” said Board Member Sallie Burchett. “And the lack of parking spaces and a driveway, to me, isn’t an issue if your mother is living there. If we can condition it to not be a rental property, I think it’s what the purpose of this board is.”

In a letter to the board, Kincannon explained that her family currently lives in a house that is less than 1,000 square feet, and needed additional space to accommodate her mother-in-law while preserving the trees on the property.

“They are really lovely trees, quite grand, but they effectively block the access to the rear property,” said Kincannon. “No one wanted to see the trees removed.”

Kincannon said that, while designing the accessory house, she discovered her current two parking spaces extend into the right of way and the critical root zone of the protected trees. A redesign fixed these problems, but then there was only space for two spaces — not the three that would be required if the casita were built.

Though code also requires a driveway, Kincannon pointed out that her family has never had a functioning drive to the garage in the 10 years they have lived in the house. She said that to require one in conjunction with the casita seemed “overly burdensome.”

Kincannon said adding a third space would be “basically impossible” without getting rid of her front walkway or exceeding the allowed front yard impervious cover.

The Cherrywood Neighborhood Association supported the requested variances.

“It all came down to not wanting to see three parking spaces in our front yard,” said Kincannon.

Board Member Bryan King said he couldn’t support the variances, because ownership and the use of the land could change in the future. Chair Jeff Jack agreed, and said it would be possible to get a third space in the front yard.

King said that his own neighborhood had “severe on-street parking problems” and thought the house should be “parked adequately for any future use it might see.”

“I have seen what happens when this is repeated, and it will be repeated,” said King.

Alternate Stuart Hampton countered King’s argument, saying that although parking was something the board wrestled with, there was no law against on-street parking. He said that if there were adequate parking, homeowners were within their rights to park on the street.

“There is no enforcement, and no moral obligation,” said Hampton. “We can only go so far with a parking requirement. It’s not really a requirement, it’s a parking suggestion. It’s in code, and it’s in zoning, but it doesn’t mean it happens.”

 

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