Bigger outbuildings could go on smaller lots

  • Thursday, February 21, 2013

At a certain point, garages and outbuildings get too big to go on residential property.
But just where that point lies eluded County Council on Tuesday, which sent a zoning change back to the Planning Commission for further discussion after council couldn’t come to a vote on the requested change.
The proposed ordinance would allow accessory structures as large as 3,000 square feet on residential properties as small as one acre.
The sole speaker during the public hearing, though, wanted council to change the allowable lot size to 0.75 acres.
The one-acre proposal came about, Councilwoman and former Planning Commissioner Carroll Duncan said, because the board of zoning appeals complained it had nothing to work with for properties smaller than three acres.
The board had requested the change be made for properties as small as 0.75 acres, but the planning commission decided, after “considerable” discussion, that a 3,000 square foot accessory structure on 0.75 acres was too big, Duncan said.
“You have to respect the rights of all property owners,” she said, including the neighbors who bought their land under the present rules and expect to not have such large outbuildings next to them.
Councilman David Chinnis said a 3,000 square foot building in addition to a house on 0.75 acres wouldn’t leave much room for a yard.
“I’m troubled as I started calculating 3,000 square feet and the acreage,” he said.
But expectations differ by neighborhood, Council Chairman Bill Hearn said.
Density expectations in Hearn’s Pine Forest Country Club neighborhood are different than those in Tom Smith’s neighborhood on Summerset Lane, he said.
Smith asked council to reduce the acreage.
He recently bought property adjacent to his home, giving him about 0.78 acres, and he wants to build a garage and carport to house the vehicles he collects.
However, the garage and carport would be about 100 to 200 square feet larger than the currently allowable 1,500 square feet, he said.
Councilman Jay Byars suggested council adopt a tiered approach rather than jump from 1,500 square feet to 3,000 square feet.
That’s a valid approach, Planning Manager Alec Brebner said, though the county should be careful not to make the rules too complicated.
On Chinnis’s motion, council postponed action.

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