lot plan
Tuesday, August 21, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

BoA considers a quirky corner case

Sometimes, a permit can be granted or revoked based on a four-degree angle.

“Even though I’m at an intersection, the city does not consider this a corner lot,” Joshua Lien, the owner of 14000 Echo Lane, explained to the Board of Adjustment at its Aug. 13 meeting.

He was there to request a variance that would allow him to continue with his building designs that took advantage of the 21-foot-6-inch corner lot setback instead of the 40-foot setback required under code for his zoning. Lien noted that many of the properties surrounding his were not in compliance with this setback requirement.

At the corner of Lien’s property, the two curbs make a 139-degree angle instead of a 135-degree angle, and so it does not meet the city’s requirements for a corner lot.

It does, however, qualify as one under Travis County’s requirements. Originally, because Lien’s property is in the city’s limited purpose jurisdiction, he applied for building permits from the county, which he was granted. However, because he didn’t realize he was within the Lake Austin Overlay, he assumed that the county’s permitting was enough.

“After I already had the foundation poured and all the framing in, that’s when I learned I was in … the Lake Austin Overlay,” he said.

With this new finding came new regulations, which he characterized as “super restrictive.” Part of the restrictions included the city requiring him to redesign his building plan to comply with setback requirements.

“Basically they would allow me to cut 10 feet off the building and leave the concrete, which I would rather not do,” he said.

That is, of course, unless he was allowed a variance to continue with his current plans, which the board unanimously granted after a brief discussion about the different requirements between the city and the county.

Board Member Michael Von Ohlen noted, “It is a very strange case.”

Map courtesy of the city of Austin.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

City of Austin Board of Adjustment: The city's Board of Adjustment is a quasi-judicial body that decides on variances, special exceptions and can issue interpretations of code.

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