Three requests for variances put on hold last month were approved unanimously at the Sunnyside Board of Adjustment meeting held last night (Wednesday).
The variance requests were put on hold at the Nov. 17 meeting, which gave the board time to review a memorandum from City Attorney Mark Kunkler stating they could impose conditions on variances.
First on the list of variances approved was a request from Torchey and Sharon Cohu to impose on the 20-foot setback required for a side yard on a corner lot.
Cohu requested the variance to allow him to build 10-feet into the 20-foot setback at his Woodward Street home. The variance will allow him to build a 30x36-foot shop for storage.
Kunkler said city staff suggested the board approve the request because they didn't believe it will change the aesthetic value of the neighborhood. He added that in some communities the codes have been changed to better serve people living on corner lots. He explained that in those communities, residents living in corner lot homes choose a primary front yard, which allows for building within the setback on one of the yards.
Board of Adjustment member Terrie Williard said she felt allowing construction of a shop 10 feet into a 20-foot setback was quite a bit for an R-1 zone.
"It is a large chunk," said board member Rick Berk. "The code requires a 20-foot yard. In this case it does present an interesting dilemma."
Berk said the code needs to be looked at, but also that he could live with the variance.
Sunnyside City Manager Bob Stockwell said that in other jurisdictions residents on corner lots choose one of the yards as the front because otherwise the setbacks create a hardship for the property owner, which can be manifested in such things as unmaintained landscaping.
He explained that 10-feet of setback area is still 5-feet beyond the code required for homes in single family residential neighborhoods, and the building would still be 15-feet from pavement.
The three board members present at the time of the vote approved the request.
The board also approved the fence location request from Physical Therapist Dyke Dickie.
Dickie was seeking a variance that will allow him to build a 7-foot tall fence along his property line. The fence is intended to shield his patients undergoing outdoor physical therapy from onlookers at the Ninth Street and Lincoln Avenue site. The code requires a 10-foot setback on fencing.
The 110-foot long fence will run along Ninth Street.
One concern addressed was a sight triangle, which would allow drivers to see beyond the fence. But since the fence would not run all the way to Lincoln Avenue, the sight triangle is not an issue, said Kunkler.
Last night's approval by the board allows Dickie to build his fence 12'4" from the street. A strip of land that doesn't belong to Dickie runs through the area in question. When sidewalks are put in, that area will be reduced to 5-feet, which Dickie said he plans to landscape and maintain.
Kunkler said he is unsure of who owns the extra 5-feet, but said it could be a dedicated public right-of-way.
He suggested that the board approve the variance with the condition that when road improvements need to be make the fence may have to be moved.
The third variance was granted to Jim Morrow, which will allow him to build a garage at 908-1/2 Decatur Ave. within two feet of the property line. The variance also allows him to build on more than the 35 percent maximum lot coverage in an R-2 zone.