Board of Zoning Appeals

Nolensville Town Hall

August 14, 2008- 7:00 p.m.

Members present were: Chair Bob Haines, Tommy Dugger and Charles Lawson. Members Ken Norman and Brian Truman were absent.  Staff present were Building Official Michael Blanks, Attorney Robert Notestine and Judy Simerson, Building/Codes Department. 
 
Applicants present: Kay and Johnny Davenport of 2028 Delaware Drive.
 
Chair Haines called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. and led the Pledge of Allegiance.  
 
Announcements:
 
Chair Haines asked that all cell phones be placed on vibrate and then went over the procedures of the meeting.
 
Approval of Minutes:
 
Commissioner Dugger made a motion to approve the minutes from June 12, 2008 and Commission Lawson seconded.  The minutes were unanimously approved.
 
Citizen’s Comments:
 
There were no citizen’s comments.
 
New Business:
 
2028 Delaware Drive – Variance to Allow Roof Covering over Patio
 
Mr. Blanks stated this lot backs up to a large deep buffer zone area.  They will be encroaching 14 feet into the rear setback.  However, the owners have a 30’ setback with several yards beyond that.  It is a roof cover structure only without walls or enclosures.  
 
Mrs. Davenport stated she may put a fire pit in one of the corners.  She stated they were installing four poles against the house and four poles in the front in the event they decide later to put up screening.  Mr. Blanks stated it would be a mesh type screening to keep out insects, etc.
 
Mr. Blanks stated it was the recommendation of staff to approve, and this is similar to other structures in the area.  The property owners have received approval from their homeowners association.
 
Motion by Mr. Lawson, seconded by Mr. Dugger, to approve the variance due to the large amount of open space on the back of this property.
 
Commissioner Dugger asked about the length of the wrought iron fence from the house.  Mr. Blanks stated the cover would be 14 feet to the end of the patio cover, and then another 14 feet beyond that to the fence. 
 
Mrs. Davenport stated there were no plans for walls to enclose the structure.  It would just be the mesh screening for insects and a ceiling fan.  
 
The vote was taken and the vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.  Chair Haines stated it would be approved under Section 9.2.4d, which is no harm to public welfare.
 
Mr. Blanks reminded the Davenports to come in for their building permit when they were ready to begin the work on the roof for the patio.
 
Other Business:
 
Due to the number of requests the town is receiving for this type of approval, Commissioner Dugger requested that staff look at the ordinance and put something in writing for requests when it is just open space.  Staff can go ahead and recommend whatever Mr. Blanks feels comfortable with recommending for the distance from the property line. 
 
Mr. Blanks stated he agreed and has already spoken with Planning Director Henry Laird about the requests.  If there is not enough open space behind the property, then the BZA would rule on those properties.  There will be a lot more of these requests, and he stated he agreed with Commissioner Dugger about staff reviewing the ones with open spaces.  
 
Chair Haines stated he would like to see the ordinance changed to take the prohibited use out of the ordinance.  If there is no legitimate structural reason for not allowing a covered patio, then it would be better for it to be addressed in the ordinance.  He stated he had always tried to find the reason for having these distances to begin with, i.e., is it a safety issue or just why it is not permitted to go outside the building envelope. Mr. Blanks stated the building envelope is established by the builder and is a part of the drainage easements, etc.  
 
Counsel Notestine stated the reasons a lot of towns are concerned about covered patios is later on there are additions like fireplaces, wet bars, walls, etc.  Mr. Blanks stated it also becomes a selling point should the homeowner decide to sell the house with the covered patio.   Other issues arise concerning wind loads, etc. when you have an enclosed structure.  The enclosure would not have sprinklers and would not comply with the sprinkler ordinance.  
 
Chair Haines stated he was in no way suggesting that the town not require a building permit for the structure.  He stated he was suggesting it was probably time to look at the ordinance because of the small lots and the setbacks.   
 
Mr. Blanks stated the setbacks are different for each subdivision and are established when the subdivision is brought before the Planning Commission for approval.  The setbacks are also established in the town’s Zoning Ordinance. 

Adjournment:
 
Commissioner Dugger made a motion to adjourn, and Commissioner Lawson seconded the motion.  The meeting adjourned by acclamation at 7:15 p.m.