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Zoning Board of Adjustments /

building and standards commission

Regular Session Agenda

November 5, 2015

6:00 PM

City Council Chambers

200 West Walker Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I.                    Call to order and Roll call of members

 

II.                 Approval of Minutes

A.     August 6, 2015

 

III.              Other Business

A.     Consider and take action to excuse members absences for the July 22, 2015 and August 6, 2015 meetings.

B.      Consider and take action on the Zoning Board of Adjustments / Building and Standards Commission meeting dates for 2016.

 

IV.              The Swearing in of Speakers and Witnesses

 

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

A.     Hold a public hearing and take action on Zoning Board of Adjustments Application, ZBA15-09 (311 South Iowa), a variance request for a garage to the requirement that structures destroyed by any means beyond fifty percent (50%) of their replacement cost must be reconstructed in accordance with the development regulations of the district (Schedule 125-191.E.) on property zoned “RSF-7” (Single-family residential with a minimum lot size of 7,000 square feet) on approximately 0.16 acres, legally described as Lot 11, Block of the Perkins and Johnson Subdivision, generally located north of East Walker Street, south of Lewis Street, east of Kansas Avenue and west of Iowa Avenue with an approximate address of 311 South Iowa Avenue.

 

B.      Hold a public hearing and take action on Zoning Board of Adjustments Application, ZBA15-10 (1411 Marina Bay Drive), a request for a variance to the minimum required parking (Schedule 125-170.D.) with the proposed use of Self Storage on approximately 1.205 acres, legally described as Reserve C-2 in the M. Peck Subdivision, generally located south of Marina Bay Drive (FM 2094), east of Compass Rose Boulevard and west of Lawrence Road with an approximate address of 1411 Marina Bay Drive.

 

VI.              Staff Comments

 

VII.           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 30th DAY OF OCTOBER, 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.

 

 

__________________________________________     

RYAN GRANATA    

PLANNING MANAGER

 

MINUTES

CITY OF LEAGUE CITY

ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENTS/

BUILDING AND STANDARDS COMMISSION

REGULAR SESSION

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 05, 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 6:10 PM.

 

            Members present:                                                          Members absent:

            James R. Christiansen, Chair                                        

            Katie Benoit                                                                

            Michael Hendershot, Vice-Chair

            Ed Rainey

            Tamra Gann-Curry*

 

            *Mr. Christiansen activated Ms. Gann-Curry as a voting member.

                                                           

            City Representatives:

            Richard Werbiskis, AICP, Assistant Director P&D

            Mark Linenschmidt, AICP, CFM, Senior Planner

            Nghiem Doan, City Attorney

 

II.                 Approval of Minutes

A.     August 6, 2015

 

Ms. Benoit motioned to approve the August 6, 2015 minutes.

 

Mr. Hendershot seconded the motion.

 

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

 

III.              Other Business

A.     Consider and take action to excuse members’ absences for the July 22, 2015 and August 6, 2015 meetings.

 

Mr. Rainey was absent for the July 22, 2015 and August 6, 2015 meetings.

 

Ms. Benoit asked if the excusing of members’ absences was required for other boards. Mr. Linenschmidt stated that it was recommended by the City Attorney for all boards and commissions, as there is an ordinance that addresses commissioners’ attendance.

 

Ms. Benoit asked if the excusing of absences was a board issue or a City Council issue. Mr. Doan stated that it is normally the other members of the board that excuse an absence.

 

Ms. Benoit asked if the ordinance pertains to missing three meetings. Mr. Doan stated that the ordinance pertains to missing three meetings without valid excuses, and the validity of the excuse is judged by the other board members.

 

Ms. Benoit motioned to approve the absences for the July 22, 2015 and August 6, 2015 meetings.

 

Mr. Hendershot seconded the motion.

 

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

 

B.      Consider and take action on the Zoning Board of Adjustments / Building and Standards Commission meeting dates for 2016.

 

Mr. Rainey commented that he would be absent for the January 7th meeting. Mr. Linenschmidt asked commissioners to email staff with meeting absences.

 

Mr. Hendershot motioned to approve the ZBA/BASC meeting dates for 2016.

 

Ms. Gann-Curry seconded the motion.

 

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

 

IV.              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.

 

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

A.     Hold a public hearing and take action on Zoning Board of Adjustments Application, ZBA15-09 (311 South Iowa), a variance request for a garage to the requirement that structures destroyed by any means beyond fifty percent (50%) of their replacement cost must be reconstructed in accordance with the development regulations of the district (Schedule 125-191.E.) on property zoned “RSF-7” (Single-family residential with a minimum lot size of 7,000 square feet) on approximately 0.16 acres, legally described as Lot 11, Block of the Perkins and Johnson Subdivision, generally located north of East Walker Street, south of Lewis Street, east of Kansas Avenue and west of Iowa Avenue with an approximate address of 311 South Iowa Avenue.

 

Mark Linenschmidt, Senior Planner, presented for the City of League City. City staff recommended approval with the following conditions: 1.) the replacement foundation of the garage is made on the same footprint as the existing garage, 2.) the replacement garage shall be in similar form and shape, as the examples provided to the board, and 3.) the property owner shall adhere to the recommendations made by the City Arborist in the letter provided to the Board.

Ms. Benoit asked how many feet the current garage was from the side and rear setbacks. Mr. Linenschmidt stated that the garage was approximately 3.8 feet from the rear and 2.7 feet from the side setback.                                                                          

 

Ms. Benoit asked how many feet the current ordinance requires the garage to be from the side and rear setbacks. Mr. Linenschmidt stated 5 feet from the side and 10 feet from the rear setback.

 

Mr. Christensen asked if the intent of the property owners was to use the alley way to access the garage. Mr. Linenschmidt stated the intent is to use the same driveway.

 

Ms. Benoit commented that the neighbor’s garage is located on the opposite side. Mr. Linenschmidt stated that staff received no complaints or any communication from the neighbors about the variance.

 

Mr. Christensen asked if the property owner was present. Mr. Linenschmidt stated that the property owner was unable to attend the meeting.

 

Mr. Christensen asked if a representative for the property owner was available. Mr. Linenschmidt stated that the renters of the property were unable to attend the meeting.

 

Mr. Hendershot asked if the property owner had submitted a letter. Mr. Linenschmidt stated that the property owner has submitted a letter for the board.

 

The public hearing was opened at 6:30 PM.

The public hearing was closed at 6:31 PM.

 

The following Findings were rendered:

 

Such variance will not be contrary to public interest.

True: 5

False: 0

 

2. Such variance will not authorize the operation of a use other than those uses specifically authorized for the district in which the property for which the variance is sought is located.

True: 5

False: 0

 

3. Such variance will not substantially or permanently injure the appropriate use of adjacent conforming property in the same district.

True: 5

False: 0

 

4. Such variance will not alter the essential character of the district in which it is located or the property for which the variance is sought.

True: 5

False: 0

 

5. Such variance will be in harmony with the spirit and purposes of this chapter.

True: 5

False: 0

 

6. The plight of the owner of the property for which the variance is sought is due to unique circumstances             existing on the property, and the unique circumstances were not created by the owner of the property and are not merely financial, and are not due to, or the result of, general conditions in the district in which the property is locates.      

True: 5

False: 0

 

7. The variance will not substantially weaken the general purposes of this chapter or the regulations herein established for the specific district.

True: 5

False: 0

 

8. The variance will not adversely affect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

True: 5

False: 0

 

The City Arborist made the following recommendations in the letter submitted to the board: 1.) the new structure be placed on the same location as the old structure, 2.) the placement of a protective fence along the drip lines of the trees for the duration of the project, and 3.) no heavy equipment or construction material shall be stored within the drip lines.

 

Ms. Benoit made a motion to approve ZBA15-09 (311 South Iowa) with the conditions presented by City staff and the recommendations of the City Arborist in the letter to the board.

 

Mr. Hendershot seconded the motion.

 

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

 

B.      Hold a public hearing and take action on Zoning Board of Adjustments Application, ZBA15-10 (1411 Marina Bay Drive), a request for a variance to the minimum required parking (Schedule 125-170.D.) with the proposed use of Self Storage on approximately 1.205 acres, legally described as Reserve C-2 in the M. Peck Subdivision, generally located south of Marina Bay Drive (FM 2094), east of Compass Rose Boulevard and west of Lawrence Road with an approximate address of 1411 Marina Bay Drive.

 

Matthew Grooms, Planner, presented for the City of League City, and staff did not recommended approval, as staff found the variance request failed Test 1, Test 6, and Test 7.

 

Mr. Rainey asked what the purpose and rationale was for the ordinance that requires one parking space per 1000 square feet. Mr. Grooms stated that he would look into the ordinance.

 

Mr. Rainey commented that most people park in front of their storage units. Mr. Grooms stated that the property would be an indoor facility.

 

Ms. Benoit asked if City was looking to change their ordinance. Mr. Grooms stated that the City was looking to change the ordinance, but the recommendation was based on the current ordinance.

 

Ms. Benoit asked if the City was going to reduce the parking by 75 percent. Mr. Grooms stated no decisions had been made.

 

Mr. Rainey asked if the City’s decision was based on the possibility that limited parking on the property would force people to park on the streets. Mr. Grooms stated that the City has not drawn that conclusion and the applicant has provided documentation of parking requirements of other cities and also input from industry professionals.

 

Mr. Rainey asked if the sources were credible. Mr. Grooms stated yes.

 

Mr. Christensen commented that he had contacted Extra Space Storage, and discovered that the manager who wrote the letter provided to the board has not worked for the storage facility for the past three years, and is not a credible source.

 

Reese Brown (applicant’s representative) – 18532 Michaels Run – introduced himself.

 

Mr. Christiansen asked about the statement that without a variance they will not be able to build the storage. Mr. Brown stated that the project is not feasible with the required amount of parking spaces.

 

Mr. Christiansen asked if it was not feasible because there would have to be less storage units. Mr. Brown stated yes, and that 57 parking spaces would be about one-third of the property.

 

 Mr. Brown commented that the developer for this property also developed a storage facility on Walker Street, and received a variance for that development.

 

Ms. Benoit asked for the date of when the variance had been granted and if it came before the ZBA.

Mr. Linenschmidt stated that it came before the ZBA twice, and Mr. Grooms stated that the first variance request was in July 2011 and the second was in December 2012.

 

Ms. Benoit asked what the variance request was for. Mr. Grooms stated that the request to reduce parking spaces from the required 118 parking spaces to 46 parking spaces, or a 61 percent reduction for that property.

 

Ms. Benoit asked if the request was for financial reasons. Mr. Linenschmidt stated no, and that the property owner’s issue was that storage facility did not require that amount of parking.

 

Ms. Benoit asked if City staff had changed the ordinance at that point. Mr. Linenschmidt stated no, but that City staff was discussing it.

 

Mr. Brown commented that the developers are asking for 1 parking space per 50 units, as allowed in the City of Houston.

 

Mr. Christensen asked how 14 parking spaces could be enough for 300 plus storage units, considering the units are enclosed and customers cannot park in front of the units. Mr. Brown stated that studies done by storage associations show that parking does not matter because the traffic is in and out.

 

Mr. Christiansen asked if there would be an onsite manager. Mr. Brown stated that a decision had not been made.

 

Mr. Christiansen asked if there was adequate space for a truck of any size to pull into the facility without impeding the traffic. Mr. Brown stated that two site plans are being drafted and one includes two driveways, with a large staging area and a covered awning.

 

Mr. Christiansen asked if it was enough space to accommodate a truck the size of an eighteen-wheeler. Morgan Monroe – 11 Mariners Lane - stated that they have been developing storage units for 30 years, with over 30 facilities, and that the design would accommodate all types of trucks and have sufficient space and parking.

 

Mr. Christiansen asked if there would be enough space between the right-of-way on Marina Bay Blvd and where the vehicles would pull into the facility. Ms. Monroe stated that there would be enough space.

 

Mr. Christiansen asked what the plan was an event in which more than 14 people wanted to park at the facility. Ms. Monroe stated that she did not have a plan, but would make one.

 

Mr. Hendershot asked for the amount of parking spaces at the storage facility on Walker Street. Mr. Grooms stated there are 46 parking spaces and 405 storage units.

 

Mr. Hendershot asked if the proposed facility was two-story. Mr. Grooms stated that it is.

 

Mr. Hendershot asked if a three-story facility was possible. Mr. Brown stated that it was not feasible because the area was not high density and for cost reasons.

 

Ms. Benoit commented that she had an issue with the significant difference between the amount of parking space required by ordinance and the amount of spaces being requested.

 

Mr. Doan commented that the board should not consider whether the facility would be feasible without a variance, and that the board sits to grant a variance, which is defined as permission to violate the law, in situations where an ordinance or rule creates a unique hardship for a specific property, due to the property’s characteristics, that does not exist on other properties for which that ordinance or rule applies. Mr. Doan also stated that the board can relax regulations and grant minor deviations from regulations to undue the hardship, but the board cannot usurp the legislative function of the City Council, and that a reduction greater than 50 percent is comparable to rewriting the law, and is a function reserved for City Council. Ms. Benoit agreed with Mr. Doan’s comments.

 

Mr. Brown asked for the reduction percentage for the storage facility on Walker Street. Mr. Grooms stated 61 percent.

 

The public hearing was opened at 7:10 PM.

 

The public hearing was closed at 7:11 PM.

 

The following Findings were rendered:

Such variance will not be contrary to public interest.

True: 2

False: 3, Hendershot, Benoit and Christiansen

 

2. Such variance will not authorize the operation of a use other than those uses specifically authorized for the district in which the property for which the variance is sought is located.

True: 4

False: 1, Gann-Curry

 

3. Such variance will not substantially or permanently injure the appropriate use of adjacent conforming property in the same district.

True: 4

False: 1, Benoit

 

4. Such variance will not alter the essential character of the district in which it is located or the property for which the variance is sought.

True: 5

False: 0

 

5. Such variance will be in harmony with the spirit and purposes of this chapter.

True: 2

False: 3, Hendershot, Benoit, and Christiansen

 

6. The plight of the owner of the property for which the variance is sought is due to unique circumstances             existing on the property, and the unique circumstances were not created by the owner of the property and are not merely financial, and are not due to, or the result of, general conditions in the district in which the property is locates.      

True: 1

False: 4, Hendershot, Benoit, Christiansen, and Gann-Curry

 

7. The variance will not substantially weaken the general purposes of this chapter or the regulations herein established for the specific district.

True: 3

False: 2, Hendershot and Benoit

 

8. The variance will not adversely affect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

True: 5

False: 0

 

Test 1, 5, and 6 failed, while Test 4 and 8 where voted unanimously true.

 

Mr. Hendershot commented that he was curious to know whether the company sought variances in other cities and stated that the ordinance’s requirements are there for a reason.

 

Mr. Rainey commented that although the board does not create legislation, it is their function to interrupt legislation, and since City staff could not explain the reasoning for the 1 parking space per 1000 square feet requirement, the requirement is arbitrary. Mr. Rainey also stated that the evidence presented by the applicant detailed the fact that storage facilities do not need a lot of parking spaces, free market aspects, such as competition, motivates storage facilities to have enough parking spaces, and the City has already granted a variance for a 61 percent reduction.

 

Mr. Hendershot commented that the issue of whether or not a law needs to change is not decided by the board, a 75 percent reduction could lead to others seeking a larger percent reduction in the future, and other businesses such as grocery stores are required to have a certain amount of parking spaces, even if all them will not be used.

 

Ms. Benoit commented that the board is not a legislative body, further discussion needs to happen with City Council and City staff about changing the ordinance, and the percentage of the reduction is too great. Ms. Gann-Curry agreed that the reduction amount was too much and that the ordinance needs to be revisited.

 

Mr. Christiansen stated that land use and hardship should be a main focal point, and in this particular instance, there is no hardship, and possibly the land chosen is not big enough for the storage facility the developers are attempting to build.

 

Mr. Hendershot made a motion to approve variance request.

 

Ms. Gann-Curry seconded the motion.

 

The motion was denied unanimously with a vote of 0-5-0.

 

VI.              Staff Comments

Mark Linenschmidt, Senior Planner, asked commissioners to resubmit their applications and additional documentation to the City Secretary’s Office within the next for City Council to consider for December.

 

Ms. Gann-Curry asked if an application needed to be submitted every year. Mr. Linenschmidt stated that it does not, but at the beginning of the year certain reappointments where held over a year, which is included in the position’s expiration date.

 

Ms. Benoit and Ms. Gann-Curry asked for an email to be sent to them if their position’s expiration date was approaching. Mr. Linenschmidt stated that he would direct the emails to each individual board member if their position’s expiration date was approaching.

 

Mr. Linenschmidt also stated that the December 3rd meeting would coincide with the tree lighting event, as well as an event held by the library, so parking will be limited.

 

Mr. Werbiskis stated that he and Mr. Doan were working on a schedule to have training provided to the board by Mr. Doan.

 

VII.           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 7:33 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 30th DAY OF OCTOBER, 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.

 

 

___________________________________                   ______________________________

Ryan Granata                                                             James R. Christiansen,

Planning Manager, Planning & Development             Chairperson, Zoning Board of Adjustment/  

                                                                                    Building and Standards Commission