2017-07 BZA Special Meeting Minutes

Nolensville Board of Zoning Appeals
Nolensville Town Hall
July 13, 2017 7:00 p.m.

Members Present: Tommy Dugger, Joan Lawler and Mike Donaho

Members Absent:  Arthur Gay and Wade Wakefield

Staff Present: Attorney Bob Notestine, Town Planner Sarah Sitterle, Codes Assistant Cristin Webb

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairperson Joan Lawler.


Chairperson Joan Lawler led the pledge of allegiance.

Tommy Dugger moved to approve minutes from the 5/11/17 BZA meeting. It was seconded by Mike Donoho.  The motion passed unanimously.

No announcements were made.


Joan Lawler began the meeting saying that tonight the committee would be looking at a petition to allow the construction of semi attached flex rooms that may be used as a hobby room, shop or mother in law suite.  Joan Lawler explained that his feature allows access to the garage behind the house and has a covered passageway large enough for vehicles to drive through.  It allows secondary access to the home.  The roof shelters the passengers getting out of their vehicles. 

Michael Katsaitis of Astikon Architects came to the podium and asked for committee approval for the semi-attached structure that does not have a floor.  Michael Katsaitis explained that it can’t have a floor because the driveway is attached to it. This accessory structure can be a studio a hobby room or a mother in law suite.  It is intended to be unheated but can be heated. 

Joan Lawler asked for clarification of the conditions of a porte-cochere.  Michael Katsaitis answered that the conditions depend on the buyer.  It is intended to be unfinished but it could be finished with a mini-split system.  Or it could also be attached to the main HVAC unit of the house. 

Randall Smith of Celebrations Homes approached the podium and asked why is this structure currently not allowed in Nolensville?  Why is it not allowed here in Nolensville because it’s detached.  It’s allowed in Brentwood and Franklin so why not Nolensville?  He said he hoped that the committee would grant acceptance of this structure.

Joan Lawler asked Sarah Sitterle to speak to this question. 

Sarah Sitterle explained that in this case our Codes indicate it is not considered attached to the primary structure because it would need to involve a common roof, floor and wall.  Sarah Sitterle clarified that this particular structure has the roof connection and lacks the two other features that would make it an attached structure.

Christopher Smith came to the podium.  He is the developer of Telfair and said that he liked the unique elevations that Celebration Homes offers.  He said they are not trying to find a way around the codes here in Nolensville.  They are just trying to do something less garage forward on a 70 foot lot.  The goal is to try to minimize the garage. Celebration has created an elevation to where the width of the home looks bigger.  The two car garage is set about 75 feet back.  Christopher also asked for an exception to the variance.  Christopher mentioned that he likes this feature from a sales perspective. 

Joan Lawler asked how many of the homes they expect to have the porte-cochere approach and what portion of the homes would be the standard, simple three car garage. 

Christopher Smith answered saying about 30% of the 28 Lots will have the porte-cochere.  Joan Lawler clarified that about 10 lots will have the porte-cochere structure. 

Joan Lawler said she has a lot of questions and asked if anyone else on the committee has any questions. 

Tommy Dugger asked Sarah Sitterle if this application is for multiple lots.  Sarah Sitterle answered that yes the petition is for multiple lots since they do not know which specific lots will have the porte-cochere feature. 

Mike Donoho spoke saying he liked the design and the layout but perhaps it’s more of a legal question.  He suggested that perhaps it is not the job of the committee to change the code in this situation.  He further explained that the committee is formed to make a decision when there is hardship beyond someone’s control.

Bob Notestine added that in twenty one years of being the Town Attorney for Nolensville there has never been a blanket request up front from a developer.  There have been many single requests from Bent Creek for porch encroachments front load versus side load.  There has never in 21 years been a blanket approval by the BZA of an unknown amount.  One of the main aspects of the BZA is that they make sure the issue was not self-created.  Another criteria is that it is not detrimental to public interest.  Another criteria deals with topography and lot shape and the building envelope.  Bob Notestine further explained he has never seen the BZA approve something like this.  Bob Notestine said he likes the design in that it  has a nice, clean look with the garages behind.  However, he expressed concern that the committee may not make a ruling based on the that criteria.  Bob Notestine recommended to continue and defer and look at specific homes that are going to have this feature.  Bob Notestine said that generally the BZA looks at cases parcel by parcel. 

Michael Katsaitis then asked specifically for approval for Lot 94, 600 Dunmire Court. 

Joan Lawler asked about Lot 94 and the Brook Hollow, the Alpine and the Brookmeade.  The Brook Hollow and the Alpine do have a roof.  Joan Lawler asked about the electrical and how that would work with the Brookmeade.  Is the front porch the sole connection?  Michael showed Joan Lawler some drawings.  Joan Lawler then asked if the building is intended for human habitation?  Michael said it is not intended for that right now for this particular Lot 94.  There is no running water or plumbing.  Michael Katsaitis said that plumbing would come through the slab. 

Tommy Dugger said he liked the architecture however, he does not see how the committee can not impair the intent of the zoning ordinance.  He likes the homes and would rather the flex room not stand out.  Randall Smith came to the podium and asked how this impairs the zoning ordinance.  Tommy Dugger said it is missing those two key components:  a floor and a shared wall. 

Randall Smith said that he is really asking for the committee to take another look at the zoning ordinance on the front end.  He does not want to insult the Town of Nolensville.  He noted that Brentwood, Franklin, and Nashville allow it.  He asked if perhaps people would like to look at some examples of these homes. 

Christopher Smith asked how to go through the proper channels to change the ordinance.  He also asked for approval to build one home in Nolensville so the committee could see it.  

Mr. Lawler, a citizen attending the meeting, took the podium and asked if he could have the addresses where this feature is present so he could visit them. 

Tommy Dugger asked if these homes are in Berry Farms and Michael Katsaitis said no, not yet.

Bob Notestine said that to change the Zoning Ordinance there has to be an amendment sponsored by the Mayor or an Alderman.  Then there is a first reading and a second reading which is more like a public hearing.  Then there is a third reading.  Generally this is a three to four month process.  This would begin by speaking to Sarah Sitterle and getting a sponsor.  The BZA’s intent is generally more to get approval lot by lot. 

Mayor James Alexander took the podium to say that the Board is really to look for a hardship.  Mayor Alexander expressed that he does not support approving one of these lots.  There is no example in Nolensville.  We must follow our Zoning Ordinance as it stands now.  The Mayor said that if one lot is approved in a few months time another lot will need to be approved based on setting a precedence. 

Christopher Smith asked again to change just the Telfair zoning.  Bob Notestine asked Sarah Sitterle if this PUD was approved the other night but she said no it was previously approved.  Bob Notestine said no it is impossible to change only the laws for one subdivision.  The overall Town ordinance must be changed which is usually a three to four month process at minimum. 

Joan Lawler said that since there were so few members present this evening that it would be better if the issue was deferred until next month. Randall Smith said he is eager to submit this particular lot for permitting.  Tommy Dugger said he is okay with having a special meeting to address this issue in depth with the complete association present.  Mike Donoho asked if members could have a site plan with the particular lots that will have the porte-cochere’s. 

Bob Notestine said we would need three to seven days to advertise the meeting. 

Joan Lawler asked Sarah Sitterle to coordinate a new meeting so we can meet again. 

Mike Donoho asked for the meeting not to be on a Thursday.

Randall Smith thanked the Board for the opportunity.  Tommy Dugger said again that really to change the ordinance a sponsor will be needed.  Mike Donoho said it is not the job of the BZA to change the ordinance.  Bob Notestine mentioned again that lot by lot is the way the committee works. 

Tommy Dugger made a motion to defer to a further date and Mike Donoho seconded the motion.  All were in favor. 



Since there was no other business Joan Lawler asked about adjournment.  Tommy Dugger made a motion to adjourn and Mike Donoho seconded the motion.

The meeting ended at 7:38 PM.

Minutes taken by Cristin Webb.



Posted by Kali Mogul Monday, July 31, 2017 2:07:00 PM