This is the south (Goodale Boulevard) view of the home the owners of 980 Elmwood propose to build on a lot created in April, 2017 on the edge of the Green Space. The plans were submitted to the City’s Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) for aesthetic review approval on August 8, 2018, and are different than the more modest plans the owners submitted to the Planning Commission in April of 2017 when they sought approval of the lot split.
Although precedent, City Code, and the City’s Design Guidelines weighed heavily against approval of the plans, the BZA nevertheless approved the plans in a 3-2 vote.
The location of the proposed driveway is dangerous for foot and vehicle traffic, a concern more than one resident raised at the prior Planning Commission and BZA meetings. The Director of Building and Zoning noted this concern about safety associated with the driveway in his written Staff Notes as did the City’s Engineer, but the unelected members of the BZA cast these opinions aside and nevertheless approved the plans.
Residents objected to the massing, that is, the size of the home in comparison to other homes in the neighborhood on similarly situated lots. The massing of such a home is contrary to Code and the City’s Design Guidelines, but again, the BZA approved the plans, despite the Code and Guidelines and over the objection of an overwhelming number of residents in attendance at the August 8, 2018 BZA meeting.
The “front” facing garage under the home was also the subject of residents’ objections and is contrary to Code and Design Guidelines. Although the house is out of character with the homes in the neighborhood and is a big box, the BZA approved the plans.
The BZA’s actions in approving the plans for this home are inconsistent with its decision to deny approval of plans for another property owner’s plans in January of 2018. Those plans showed a front facing garage under the house and was disproportionately larger than other homes in the vicinity, just like the proposed home at 980 Elmwood. But that seemed to be of little significance to the BZA, especially to Member Rick Kinsinger, who voted against the approval of the plan submitted in January 2018, but voted to approve the plans for the home on August 8, 2018.