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logo2013

Zoning Board of Adjustments /

building and standards commission

Special Session Agenda

July 22, 2015

6:00 PM

City Council Chambers

200 West Walker Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I.                    Call to order and Roll call of members

 

II.                 The Swearing in of Speakers and Witnesses

 

III.              Public Hearings and Action Items from Public Hearings (ZBA)

A.    Hold a public hearing and take action on Zoning Board of Adjustments Application, ZBA15-05 (LaChance Galveston Lease Space), a variance request to the minimum 10-foot front setback requirement for the property on approximately 0.259 acres zoned “CG” (General Commercial), legally described as Lots 1 thru 3, Block I of the Clear Creek Subdivision, generally located south of East Galveston Street, north of Walker Street, east of State Highway 3 and west of Clear Creek Avenue with an approximate address of 319 East Galveston Street.

 

IV.              Adjournment

 

CERTIFICATE

 

THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT THE ABOVE NOTICE OF MEETING WAS POSTED ON THE BULLETIN BOARD AT CITY HALL OF THE CITY OF LEAGUE CITY, TEXAS, BY THE 17th DAY OF JULY, 2015 BY 6 PM, AND WAS POSTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH CHAPTER 551, LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE (THE TEXAS OPEN MEETINGS ACT).  ITEMS POSTED IN THE OPEN SESSION PORTIONS OF THIS AGENDA MAY ALSO BE DISCUSSED IN CLOSED OR EXECUTIVE SESSION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE TEXAS OPEN MEETINGS ACT. THE BOARD RESERVES THE RIGHT TO HEAR ANY OF THE ABOVE DESCRIBED AGENDA ITEMS THAT QUALIFY FOR AN EXECUTIVE SESSION, IN AN EXECUTIVE SESSION BY PUBLICLY ANNOUNCING THE APPLICABLE SECTION NUMBER OF THE OPEN MEETINGS ACT, (CHAPTER 551 OF THE TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE, SPECIFICALLY INCLUDING CHAPTER 551.071 “CONSULTATION WITH ATTORNEY”), THAT JUSTIFIES EXECUTIVE SESSION TREATMENT.

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT THE PRESENCE OF A QUORUM OF THE MEMBERS OF CITY COUNCIL AT ANY TIME DURING THE COURSE OF THE ABOVE-REFERENCED PROCEEDING MAY CONSTITUTE A MEETING OF CITY COUNCIL PURSUANT TO THE TEXAS OPEN MEETINGS ACT, CHAPTER 551 OF THE TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE.  BY THIS NOTICE, THE PUBLIC IS HEREBY ADVISED OF SAID MEETING NOT LESS THAN 72 HOURS IN ADVANCE OF THE DATE, TIME AND LOCATION NOTED ABOVE.

 

 

__________________________________________ 

RICHARD WERBISKIS       

CITY PLANNER

 

MINUTES

CITY OF LEAGUE CITY

ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENTS/

BUILDING AND STANDARDS COMMISSION

SPECIAL SESSION

WEDNESDAY, JULY 22, 2015 at 6:00 P.M.

COUNCIL CHAMBERS

200 WEST WALKER STREET

*************************************************************

 

I.                    Call to order and Roll Call of Members

            Mr. Christiansen called the meeting to order at 6:01 PM.

 

            Members present:                                                        Members absent:

            James R. Christiansen, Chair                                         Ed Rainey

            Katie Benoit                                                                

            Michael Hendershot, Vice-Chair

            Lianne Russell

            Tamra Gann-Curry arrived at 6:02 PM.

                                                           

            City Representatives:

            Richard Werbiskis, AICP, Assistant Director P&D

            Mark Linenschmidt, AICP, CFM, Senior Planner

            Mark Rohr, City Manager

 

II.                 The Swearing in of Speakers and Witnesses

Mr. Christiansen swore in the witnesses, stating this is a quasi-judicial board, which is being recorded; therefore, anybody who speaks should be aware it is considered testimony. Any appeal of the decision by the Zoning Board of Adjustment or Building and Standards Commission must be filed with the Court of Competent Jurisdiction within 10 days for the ZBA and 30 days for the Building and Standards Commission after the date of the decision rendered by this board/commission, or such time period as indicated by Section 216.014 Texas Local Government Code.

 

III.              Public Hearings and Action Items from Public Hearings (ZBA)

A.     Hold a public hearing and take action on Zoning Board of Adjustments Application, ZBA15-05 (LaChance Galveston Lease Space), a variance request to the minimum 10-foot front setback requirement for the property on approximately 0.259 acres zoned “CG” (General Commercial), legally described as Lots 1 thru 3, Block I of the Clear Creek Subdivision, generally located south of East Galveston Street, north of Walker Street, east of State Highway 3 and west of Clear Creek Avenue with an approximate address of 319 East Galveston Street.

Mark Linenschmidt, Senior Planner - The applicant would like to construct a porch about eight feet deep and about 43 feet wide; similar to the porch at 710 E. Main St. The porch would be adjacent to East Galveston Street. Staff verified with the Engineering Department that there would be no concerns for sight triangle issues, although the property is at an intersection. Zoning Ordinance allows properties to extend to the rear of the sidewalks, and encroachments for awnings and canopies in mixed residential and commercial areas. City council has also adopted a Main Street project plan and comprehensive plan which supports this type of character in the area.

 

Pictures of the property were shown.

 

Mr. Linenschmidt – Other properties, both commercial and residential, in the area also have a similar characteristic as the canopy the applicants wants to build.

 

Mark Rohr, City Manager – In January of this year, City staff had a retreat at the Civic Center to come together as a community and envision the future direction of the City. As part of that process, ideas that the council voted on developed, in February of this year, into a plan called The Road Map into the Future. The plan defined and prioritized the City’s goals for the future. The second ranked priority on the Road Map into the Future is downtown development. City staff is working at developing a comprehensive plan toward accomplishing downtown development. The plan was supposed to be presented at a council meeting in June, but was not. Originally, after speaking to Mr. LaChance about his development, he indicated that the structure would not be historic in nature, nor embody the old-fashioned theme which the City was hoping for. However, after some time, Mr. LaChance expressed a desire to fashion his structure to reflect the historical theme and characteristics the City is developing in the downtown area.

 

Mr. Christiansen – Is it possible for the commissioners to get copies of the Road Map to the Future? Will you be speaking for the City?

Mr. Linenschmidt – The City staff will be available for any questions you may have.

 

Mr. Christiansen – Would you like to add anything else than what you already commented on?

Mr. Linenschmidt – There has been difficulty developing the property because of its size. .259 acres equates to approximately 11,300 square feet. Before the applicant could start developing the property he had to receive and did receive a decreased buffer requirement for the rear of the property, which decreased the buffer approximately 39 feet, and allowed 30 percent of the property to be developed. The applicant and his consultants have coordinated with staff to ensure that the applicant has complied with the requirements.

 

Ms. Benoit – When was the variance granted for the 39 feet buffer decrease?

Mr. Linenschmidt – November of 2013.

 

Ms. Benoit – Was the variance because there was commercial abutting residential?

Mr. Linenschmidt – Yes, and because there was an alleyway in the rear.

 

Ms. Benoit – Is there really an alleyway back there?

Mr. Linenschmidt – There is an undeveloped right-of-way, which is similar to an alleyway.

 

Ms. Benoit – I did not see an alleyway.

Mr. Linenschmidt – There is not a developed right-of-way.

 

Ms. Benoit – Was this site plan shown at the meeting and was it part of the discussion to put the parking in the rear and to move the building up to the front, when they gave the variance?

Mr. Linenschmidt – I’m going to ask the applicant to come-up because I was not the project manager on that, and he will be able to provide more information on getting the approval.

 

Mr. Christiansen – Will the applicant come up and state your name and address in the microphone, and give a brief explanation of what you are trying to do.

 

Barry LaChance, 620 3rd Street – I want to set an example for developing League City, especially along the Main Street Corridor. This area needs revitalization, and somebody needs to set the tone. The porch will embody the design of the porch at Wells Fargo, which is probably the best architectural example on Main Street. I want to do something similar with the stone, bricks, and columns, and create something that will be aesthetically pleasing. As the structure becomes more popular, it will set the tone for others developing on Main Street and motivate others to revitalize the area. I had to acquire the buffer variance before the site plan could be completed. It has taken a year and half to go through the entire process, starting with engineering and working through the various problems. The original canopy would have only been given a four-foot stoop and a three-foot canopy, which would have looked unappealing.

 

Mr. Christiansen – Two difficult tests to pass are “is it caused by the applicant” and “is a hardship caused.” You stated that your original intent was not to have a historical design, was this going to be a commercial building?

Mr. LaChance – I was going to put up a stucco façade – but not historical. Now I want to use brick and wood so that it will look more historic.

 

Mr. Christiansen – You started the building and then changed your mind, what was the reason for that?

Mr. LaChance – The revitalization of downtown.

 

Mr. Christiansen – If the building had not been started you could have redesigned it, moved it back, and had the architecture designs look like a historical building?

Mr. LaChance – The issue is if you move the building back it limits parking, and retail requires a certain amount of parking space, which would cause the office space to be smaller, which would limit income. The smaller the building the harder it is to rent. The plan encompasses enough greenery, office space, and parking for the site to be viable. Yes, I have caused my own hardship, but this is nothing new.

 

Mr. Christiansen - You had already started building the structure and then decided to change the architectural design?

Mr. LaChance – Yes.

 

Ms. Benoit – Is this not the façade anymore?

Mr. LaChance – No, it is going to look similar to Wells Fargo.

 

Ms. Benoit – It is not going to be all glass and aluminum?

Mr. LaChance – League City requires 25 percent transparency on any roadway, so the opening you see is all storefront glass and is the same on Clear Creek Avenue and the backside, so that the building would look more appealing.

 

Mr. Christiansen - Can you explain the cement driveway on the front side of the building.

Mr. LaChance – That will no longer be there. It will be replaced with a curb and pavers. It will also have the same lighting that is used on Main Street. The backside that faces Main Street will be brick, and the gutters will be verdigris.

 

Ms. Benoit – The setback was supposed to be ten feet, what will it be if you build the canopy?

Mr. LaChance – The code allowed for four feet and a three-foot canopy. The stoop would go to six feet the canopy would go to eight feet, and the columns would be on part of the six foot stoop. So, I am asking to go two feet towards the street and five feet more on the canopy, which will be hanging over the front. This will keep people who are entering the building from being rained on.

 

Ms. Benoit – So it will go to the sidewalk?

Mr. LaChance - No, but it is near the sidewalk.

 

Ms. Benoit – Is it a four foot sidewalk?

Mr. LaChance – Yes, but the sidewalk is being expanded. So, it will be five to six feet away from the side walk.

 

Mr. Christiansen – Is your intent to add sidewalk to the property line?

Mr. LaChance – Yes, that is what my site plan calls for.

 

Mr. LaChance described the sidewalk area on the PowerPoint presentation.

 

Mr. Hendershot – If this canopy is to protect people from the rain, what was the intent of the original design?

Mr. LaChance – There was going to be a canopy in the back, but this design will be useful and aesthetically desirable.

 

Mr. Hendershot – So the original design for the site was that the primary entry be from the rear.

Mr. LaChance – Yes. I wanted replicate the back and put it in the front.

 

Mr. Hendershot – Are you thinking of sloping the canopy?

Mr. LaChance - Yes. The design, coloring, and materials will be similar to what is at my home.

 

Mr. Hendershot – You are going to add material to the façade, is that going to project into the building line?

Mr. LaChance – No. EIFS always stands out about ten inches, but it was to have an eighteen inch face.

 

Mr. Hendershot - Your site plan takes that into account?

Mr. LaChance – Yes.

 

Mr. Christiansen opened the hearing at 6:27 PM.

 

Mr. Christiansen – Would anyone in the audience like to come forth and speak for or against this variance request?

 

Mr. Christiansen closed the hearing at 6:27 PM.

 

The commissioner reviewed the Variance Findings and rendered the following decisions:

            Test #1 –          True – 5

                                    False – 0

 

Test #2 –          True – 5

                                    False – 0

 

Test #3 –          True – 5

                        False – 0

 

Test #4 –          True – 5

                        False – 0

 

Test #5 –          True – 5

                        False – 0

 

Test #6 –          True – 1

                        False – 4

 

Test #7 –          True – 5

                        False – 0

 

Test #8 –          True – 5

                        False – 0

           

Mr. Christiansen - The votes were unanimous on items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8, and for item six it was one yes and four no votes.

 

Mr. Christiansen – To receive a variance you have to prove some type of hardship, the applicant’s hardship is only due to the fact that he started the building and changed the design to match City’s plans.  But, in doing so, he is following City’s recommendations, and I’m claiming he has a hardship.

 

Ms. Benoit – The building could have been smaller to accommodate the front, but I believe this will be a great improvement over what was planned. The hardship is that you changed your plans to a better one.

 

Mr. Hendershot – I do not believe the aesthetic changes constitute a hardship, which explains my false vote for item six, but it does follow the plans of the City. The fact that the entry is in the back undercuts the idea that you want to dress up the front as an entryway. That being said, the new design would look better.

 

Ms. Russell – I would like to thank you for listening to the citizens and the City, but I voted against the hardship because of the way it is worded; however, I do believe you have a hardship.

 

Mr. Hendershot –We have had a lot of home developers of subdivisions with an approximately 8,000 square feet lot, lay down the foundation and then ask for forgiveness because the side setbacks are encroaching by eight to twelve inches, and we have denied a lot of those request. However, I believe the building will be attractive.

 

Ms. Gann-Curry – I agree with Ms. Russell’s comments.

 

Mr. Christiansen – You really have to have a hardship, but I believe we have pulled a hardship out of the applicant.

 

Ms. Benoit motioned to approve the variance request.

 

Ms. Russell seconded the motion.

 

The variance request passed unanimously with a vote of 5-0-0.

 

IV.              Adjournment

Mr. Christiansen asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting.

 

Ms. Hendershot made a motion to adjourn.

 

Ms. Benoit seconded the motion.

 

The motion passed unanimously with a vote of 5-0-0.

           

Mr. Christiansen adjourned the meeting at 6:43 PM.

 

CERTIFICATE

 

THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT THE ABOVE NOTICE OF MEETING WAS POSTED ON THE BULLETIN BOARD AT CITY HALL OF THE CITY OF LEAGUE CITY, TEXAS, BY THE 15th DAY OF MAY, 2015 BY 6 PM, AND WAS POSTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH CHAPTER 551, LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE (THE TEXAS OPEN MEETINGS ACT).  ITEMS POSTED IN THE OPEN SESSION PORTIONS OF THIS AGENDA MAY ALSO BE DISCUSSED IN CLOSED OR EXECUTIVE SESSION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE TEXAS OPEN MEETINGS ACT. THE BOARD RESERVES THE RIGHT TO HEAR ANY OF THE ABOVE DESCRIBED AGENDA ITEMS THAT QUALIFY FOR AN EXECUTIVE SESSION, IN AN EXECUTIVE SESSION BY PUBLICLY ANNOUNCING THE APPLICABLE SECTION NUMBER OF THE OPEN MEETINGS ACT, (CHAPTER 551 OF THE TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE, SPECIFICALLY INCLUDING CHAPTER 551.071 “CONSULTATION WITH ATTORNEY”), THAT JUSTIFIES EXECUTIVE SESSION TREATMENT.

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT THE PRESENCE OF A QUORUM OF THE MEMBERS OF CITY COUNCIL AT ANY TIME DURING THE COURSE OF THE ABOVE-REFERENCED PROCEEDING MAY CONSTITUTE A MEETING OF CITY COUNCIL PURSUANT TO THE TEXAS OPEN MEETINGS ACT, CHAPTER 551 OF THE TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE.  BY THIS NOTICE, THE PUBLIC IS HEREBY ADVISED OF SAID MEETING NOT LESS THAN 72 HOURS IN ADVANCE OF THE DATE, TIME AND LOCATION NOTED ABOVE.

 

 

___________________________________                   ______________________________

Richard Werbiskis                                                      James R. Christiansen,

Assistant Director of Planning & Development           Chairperson, Zoning Board of Adjustment/

                                                                                    Building and Standards Commission 

 

Date minutes approved: ___________________