Nolensville Board of Zoning Appeals
November 8, 2007
7:00 p.m.

Members present:       Chair Bob Haines, Members Tommy Dugger, Charles Lawson and Ken Norman

Members absent:        Brian Truman

Staff present:              Judy Simerson, Building/Codes Department, Town Planner Henry Laird and Town Attorney Robert Notestine

Applicant present:       Joseph G. Petrosky, P.E. was present, and one citizen in attendance.


Chair Haines opened the meeting at 7:00 p.m. and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Approval of Minutes:
Commissioner Dugger made a motion to approve the minutes from July 12, 2007, and Commission Lawson seconded.  The minutes were unanimously approved.

Chair Haines asked that all cell phones be placed on vibrate and then went over the procedures of the meeting.

Citizen Comments:
There were no citizen’s comments.

New Business:    
Chair Haines asked Mr. Laird to make the presentation.  Mr. Laird stated the applicant is proposing to develop a 28,000 square foot office/warehouse building complex in the SE quadrant of Haley Industrial Drive and Rogers Lane intersection.  They are requesting a variance from the zoning ordinance Appendix B, Section 1.5.4D, that requires a 5-foot landscape strip between the building and off-street parking area.  They propose to provide as an alternative landscape improvements consisting of planters and benches.  They have submitted plans and an illustration board showing this alternative.  He stated Mr. Joseph Petrosky was present to answer any questions about this request.

The Planning Commission approved their site plan at its October 9, 2007 meeting with a condition that either the required 5-foot strip be incorporated into the site plan, or that the applicant would obtain a variance from this requirement from the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Mr. Laird distributed copies of the zoning ordinance section in question.  He also presented illustrations of the proposed alternative method that was being requested.

Commissioner Norman asked if the proposed alternative would apply to all three buildings, and Mr. Laird stated yes.  Mr. Petrosky stated it was their intent to do all three buildings with the alternative landscape improvements.  The lot is on a corner and there is a 28-foot difference in elevation between the intersection of Hailey Industrial and Rogers Lane.  When they went out for a preliminary review, there was three to four feet of rock below the surface, so they attempted to do the grading plan in such a way to minimize the rock excavation as much as possible.  He stated they attempted to make this upper building a viable economic entity by allowing it to fit with the terrain in bringing it up where it will rise above and look over the other buildings.

With the storefront windows going all the way to the ground, the use of water for irrigation of landscaping against the glass would not be the best situation.

Chair Haines asked Mr. Petrosky to share the details of the proposed alternative landscaping plan.  Mr. Petrosky stated the plan is to use high quality planters and some hardscape with benches.  This would fit in this area and would provide a softening of the building.

Chair Haines stated it would also help with water runoff.   Mr. Petrosky stated there were plenty of parking spaces, and they would be more than willing to add some planter islands in the actual parking area with trees, etc. to soften the effect.

Commissioner Lawson asked if the Planning Commission had approved this project except for the landscaping, and Mr. Laird stated yes.

Commissioner Dugger asked if this plan failed by the Board of Zoning Appeals, then it would go back to the Planning Commission, and Mr. Laird stated that was right.  He stated the design of the building actually exceeds the town’s design requirements, and the developer has done a good job with this project.  He stated that the Chairman of the Design Review Commission has suggested that the same professional landscape company that did the rest of the project do this landscape alternative plan.  Mr. Petrosky stated that would not be a problem.

Commissioner Dugger asked about the width of the planters impeding the walkway.  Mr. Petrosky stated those parking spaces could be used for compact cars if necessary.  The benches will be placed where the columns are shown on the illustration.  The parking should not be an issue.

Commissioner Dugger asked about the hardship that required this alternative.  Chair Haines stated the irregular shape of the lot was one thing.  Mr. Petrosky stated there was a 28-foot change in elevation from one corner to the other.  The rock excavation made it a hardship also.  The loading dock is common for all three buildings and it is four feet higher.  It was raised for the use of the trucks and their forklifts for the overhead doors in the back of the buildings.  The real hardship is the shape of the lot and the rock excavation.

Commission Norman stated the only concern he saw was the amount of space to walk by the benches.  Chair Haines suggested an extra foot of concrete could be added where the benches are to be located.  Mr. Petrosky stated that would not be a problem and the spaces in front of the benches could be used for compact car parking.

Commissioner Dugger asked if the benches needed to be put in or just do the landscaping according to the ordinance and not do the alternative.  He stated he personally did not feel there was a hardship in this project.  He stated he had to look at it that the next person was going to come in and ask for a variance on the 5-foot landscaping strip.  He stated he understood that each individual variance request stands on its own merit.

Mr. Petrosky stated the adjacent building in the same industrial park, along with some other businesses that do not have the 5-foot landscape strip.

Chair Haines stated the Board has to be concerned with the parcel before it tonight.

Mr. Petrosky stated they would be willing to do anything they could to soften the front of the building.

Council Notestine pointed out that the BZA did not have the power to reconfigure the site plan because it has been approved by the Planning Commission.  The issue is whether or not to stay with the 5-foot landscape or stay or go with the hardscape that is being proposed and grant the variance.  He stated he looked at the ordinance regarding variances and it says two of the things that can be considered are the topography and the shape of the lot.  It says that you can consider those things, but you do not have to grant a variance.

Chair Haines asked for a motion.

Motion by Chair Haines, seconded by Mr. Norman, to approve.  Commissioner Dugger opposed the approval, and the other members approved the motion.

A motion was made and seconded to adjourn, and the meeting was adjourned by acclamation at 7:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Judy Simerson, Permit Specialist