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City of Burlington, NC

February 8, 2005



Members Present                                                                  Members Absent

City:                                                                                        City:

Mr. Mike Gee, Vice Chairperson                                              Mr. H.E. (Ed) Wilson, III

Mrs. Mary Watson
Mrs. Margaret Stephens

Ms. Charlotte Straney

Dr. Ed Lance


Also present was Mr. Joey Lea, Code Enforcement Officer for the City of Burlington.


Mr. Mike Gee, Vice Chairperson, called the meeting of the Board of Adjustment to order at 8:30 a.mHe explained that the city representatives to the Board of Adjustment are appointed by the City Council and the representatives of the Extraterritorial jurisdiction were appointed by the County Commissioners. This is a quasi-judicial hearing.  Everyone speaking before the Board should state their name, sign the log on the podium, and swear or affirm that everything they say is true to the best of their knowledge.  Appeals of the Board’s decisions may be taken to the Alamance County Superior Court.  The City will state their position because of their knowledge of the case and the technical codes.  The applicant will state their case, and then anyone from the public may speak.  The Board will then close the meeting to the public and discuss the case and vote.  An affirmative four-fifths vote is required in order to grant a variance, a special use permit, or an appeal.


Mr. Joey Lea, Code Enforcement Officer with the City of Burlington, advised that due notice and publication of this meeting of the Board of Adjustment and matters to come before it had been made, and all contiguous property owners were mailed a notice advising of this meeting.


Prior to testifying before the Board, each party was sworn in or affirmed that the testimony they were about to give was true to the best of their knowledge.



Vice Chairperson Gee (Acting Chairperson) asked if there were any changes to the minutes from January 11, 2004 meeting.  There being no changes, Margaret Stephens made a motion to approve the minutes and Charlotte Straney seconded the motion.  There being no discussion, the motion passed unanimously.






Mr. Joey Lea explained that James McIver, Jr. owns property located on Key Street that currently has two houses on one lot. He wants to subdivide the lot so the houses are on their own individual lots. The lot is approximately 12,000 square feet and is zoned R-6.  With the subdivision all the regulations of the ordinance will be met with the exception of two.  First is the lot width, which is measured along the front foundation of the house. The subdivision regulations allow a lot as narrow as 30 feet measured at the street. As shown on his site plan he can meet most of the regulations but cannot meet the lot width on the house to the left on the plan.  The minimum lot with for this district is 50 feet. This subdivision will be approved by the Planning Department if the variances are granted. The actual variance request for the lot width is for 13 feet. Also, the house to the left currently is nonconforming from the front left corner facing the house because it is only 9.33 feet from the property line.  He is also asking for a 4.67 inch variance to the side yard requirement. Dr. Ed Lance stated that it appears on the drawing that the lot line drawn to subdivide the property appears to be less than 10 feet on the left side of the house. Mr. Lea responded that the plan is not exactly to scale but what he is showing here is 13 feet to the left and a little over 10 feet to the right. He pushed it over as far as he could to get as much lot width as he could.  Ms. Straney stated that the lot width appears to be 38.33 feet, which would be a variance of 11.67 rather than 13. Mr. Lea said that based on his dimensions the lot will be relatively square and will be 37 wide at the street. Ms. Straney asked if they would be able to be ambiguous about the exact known variance.  Mr. Lea stated that the best approach to this is to base the variance on what the actual survey will be.  Mr. Gee clarified that the proposal does meet the Subdivision Regulations for street frontage; it is just with the Zoning Ordinance that there is a difference.  Mr. Lea stated that they are different because the subdivision regulation allow a minimum width of 30 feet at the street and the zoning ordinance requires a minimum of 50 feet that is measured across the front foundation of the house.  Mr. Gee stated that there is a wooden deck off of one of the houses and asked if that was considered part of the structure? Mrs. Stephens stated that it is shown on both of the houses.  Mrs. Stephens asked that in case of a fire and if something were to happen and it was to burn to the ground would the City make them move the setbacks?  Mr. Lea stated no, not with the variance.


Mr. James R. McIver explained that he wants to separate the houses because the banks won’t make a loan with the way the property is now and showed the Board a letter from the financial institution.  Mr. McIver stated that he spoke to Haywood Cloud the Zoning Administrator for the City of Burlington and he said that in his opinion this was a mistake that the City made a long time ago and what he is about to do will help correct the problem and did not consider the deck when making the line but he is willing to make an alteration to the deck to meet the 10 feet.  Mr. Gee asked how close the deck is to the property line? Mr. McIver said it is about 8 feet.  Mr. Gee stated that that if it’s 8 feet that leaves a 5-foot setback from the side property line.  Mr. Lea stated that the ordinance allows a 4 foot encroachment into a side yard for decks, so he would need at least 6 feet from the outside of the deck to the property line.  Mr. McIver stated that he thinks he will have that but if not he will alter the deck to meet the guidelines and Mr. Lea stated he would make sure that it was verified.  Ms. Straney asked if he was getting ready to make improvements on the houses? Mr. McIver stated that he plans on paneling, carpeting, painting and will fix them up to make them look very nice.  Ms. Straney asked where the parking would be located? Mr. McIver stated that there’s a driveway located on the side of the house, which needs gravel and stated that people would park on the street.  Mrs. Stephens stated that he should have it on the side of the house that doesn’t have the deck on it. Mrs. Mary Watson asked if the houses are vacant?  Mr. McIver said that they are and have been for over a year, along with the houses across the street that is owned by John Patterson. Mr. Patterson and his sons look after those houses and they told me that if I fixed up these houses then they will fix theirs up so that will really help the community.  Mr. Gee asked if he was planning on renting the houses or leaving them vacant for sale?  Mr. McIver said either one, whatever comes first, and he surely can’t sell them the way they are right now.  Ms. Straney asked if the prime reason for the loan is to fix the houses up? Mr. McIver said yes and to generate some income, one way or the other and it will also improve the community.


Mr. Gee asked if there was anyone from the public that would like to speak? Ms. Diane Hamilton who is the Power of Attorney on the property for her mother who owns the corner lot on Rosenwald and Key Streets right next to the McIver property.  Her mother’s wishes are to sell the property when she dies and bury her with the money because she doesn’t have enough insurance.  Mrs. Stephens asked if she is speaking on behalf Mr. McIver because if he fixes up his houses that it will increase the value of their property? Ms. Hamilton stated yes, that is what she plans on doing.    




DISCUSSION & FINDINGS OF FACT:  There being no further comments from the public, Vice Chairman Gee turned the meeting over to the Board for discussion.  Mrs. Stephens stated that the problem he’s got is an existing problem because he bought the house but it turned into something bigger.  Mr. Gee stated that in granting the variance is will be in harmony with the ordinance and there is no endangering of the public welfare and there is testimony that it should improve the community as Ms. Hamilton testified she feels that it will aide in selling her mother’s property and it does preserve the intent of the ordinance.  Ms. Straney stated that as far as safety goes they can actually park off the street and it doesn’t appear to be a safety issue if the owner was able to add a driveway or other ways where they can get off the street then that would be helpful because it is a short and narrow street. Other than that there are no safety issues.  Mrs. Stephens stated that he’s requesting a variance and it is what it is so if he lived there and used the houses all along and had to park on the street or utilize the space between the houses then this would probably be easier.  Ms. Straney said that it appears that in granting the variance it would be in the interest of the public welfare and if the houses were repaired and remodeled that it would be more attractive and if he decided to sell, it would encourage new ownership which usually improves the neighborhood and it does uphold the intent of the Ordinance as it is written.


DECISION:  Vice Chairman Gee made a motion to grant the variance in 2 parts.  Vice Chairman Gee moved on the first part to grant a 13 foot variance to the lot width requirements and the second part is to grant an approximate 4.67 inch variance to the side yard requirement and stipulate compliance with a survey to be performed before subdividing property.  In addition, Mr. Gee further stipulated that if the deck on the property encroaches upon the 6-foot side yard requirement that adjustments be made to the deck to comply with the Zoning Ordinance.  Furthermore, that a driveway be placed on the property to remove vehicles from parking on the street in front of the house.  The findings of facts are the variances are in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the ordinance and preserves it’s spirit and granting the variance will allow the property owner to obtain the house and best use of the property and improve the existing neighborhood by increasing the probability of finding a tenant for these houses and the public safety and welfare will be assured by removing parking on the street and that substantial justice has been done.   


Mrs. Watson seconded the motion.


(AYES:  Gee, Watson, Stephens, Straney, Lance)

(NOES:  none)





                                                                                    Mike Gee, Vice Chairperson




                                                                                    Mary Fanelli, Secretary