Afton City Council narrowly approves variance requestAfton City Council approved a variance request during its May 15 meeting.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Afton City Council approved a variance request during its May 15 meeting.
Afton resident Fred Longworth said he wishes to replace an existing non-conforming accessory structure at 14350 Afton Blvd. South.
The structure, a detached garage, sits 68.5 feet from the centerline of Afton Boulevard South; the required setback is 150 feet.
Longworth is also proposing to increase the setback of the new structure by two feet while enlarging the footprint of the structure from 24 feet to 42 feet to create a woodshop.
Longworth’s application indicated he has a practical difficulty locating the structure to make it conforming: a swimming pool and substantial landscaping are located directly behind the existing building.
Additionally the topography of the property drops off to the north and the northeast of the structure.
Earlier this month Afton Planning Commission was split on whether or not to grant the variance given that Afton’s ordinances allows for an applicant to replace an existing non-conforming structure within the existing footprint and within the same height without a variance.
Afton City Council faced similar issues when looking at the variance.
Council Members Randy Nelson, Joe Richter and Bill Palmquist all felt that given the characteristics of the property, there really wasn’t any other alternative.
“It’s not like you have a lot of options,” Nelson said.
Additionally, Palmquist said the variance would not impact the setback since the extension would be to the side of the structure.
“It’s already there, it’s not a new thing,” he said. “I’m inclined to think it’s a reasonable exception to make.”
Richter cited the requirements for granting a variance as reasons why City Council should approve Longworth’s request: variances may be granted in instances where strict enforcement of literal
provisions would cause undue hardship because of circumstances unique to the
individual property under consideration; actions must adhere to the spirit and intent of the zoning ordinance and Comprehensive Plan; hardship means the proposed use cannot be established under the conditions allowed by the official controls of the city's ordinance and no other reasonable alternative use exists; and to grant a variance, it must be determined that the plight of the landowner be due to physical conditions unique to the land, structure or building involved.
“The variance is in harmony with the intent of the ordinance,” Richter said.
Council Member Peg Nolz and Mayor Pat Snyder voted against approving the variance.