BZA Denies Variance for Cobblestone Home

BLYTHEWOOD (July 14, 2016) – The Board of Zoning Appeals continued to hold the line on granting variances for residential developers who change their plans after their site plans are approved. But Board Chairwoman Sabra Mazyck said the variance denials are not personal choices of the Board members but are determined by the five criteria set forth by the state statute that Board members must follow in determining whether they can grant a variance.

“A variance request must, by law, meet all of the criteria before we can vote to accept it,” Mazyck told The Voice.

A variance application submitted to the Board Monday evening by developer D.R. Horton, owner of the undeveloped lot at 702 Coriander Road in Cobblestone Park, did not meet the criteria.

Jordan Hammond, representing D.R. Horton, asked the Board to reduce the minimum building setback along Links Crossing Drive, in The Groves section, from 15 feet to 11.9 feet to accommodate a proposed new home. He said the customer would like to build a particular house that does not fit the lot as it is.

“Would the (prospective) home buyer consider a lot other than this corner lot?” Town Zoning Consultant Michael Criss asked Hammond.

“The customer wants a corner lot and is very emotional about this (house) plan,” Hammond said.

“This parcel is located within the R-2 land use category of the Cobblestone Park Planned Development District (PDD),” Town Administrator Gary Parker wrote in a summary of the situation. “The corresponding minimum building setbacks are: front, 15 feet; side setback, five feet (12 feet total for both sides), and rear, 10 feet.”

Since the lot is on a corner, the minimum front setback of 15 feet applies to both streets, Criss told the Board.

Granting of the variance would leave only about a 12-foot setback along a part of the Links Crossing Drive street frontage. Parker said that might raise the question of whether or not that would create an offset from the neighboring home’s 15-foot setback, which would result in one house being closer to the road than the one next door.

“The problem here is that D.R. Horton owns all three lots (the two lots next to the one requesting a variance), so I would think the others are going to come back and ask for setback variances later,” Board member Pat Littlejohn surmised.

“If we approve this variance, than I think we can count on the others coming for variances,” Board member Sharon Pickle agreed.

In the end, however, what mattered was that the request did not meet the first of all five required criteria: “There are exceptional and extraordinary conditions pertaining to a particular piece of property.”

With that, the Board voted unanimously to deny the request.


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