Keya Lea

Variance – Planning Commission Problems and Setbacks

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Last night the Planning Commission had a meeting that looked at my variance application for the ability to insulate the east wall and build onto the house.

It didn’t go as planned. I thought it would be a simple thing: grant the girl the ability to insulate and build onto the house.

Background: The house is an old sandstone block house built before the 5 foot property line setback was accepted as code. The house is currently built close to the east property line that is adjacent to the City Green Belt. The current house is within two feet of the property line.

I submitted a variance application that asked for the ability to insulate the house by extending it by 6 inches. I didn’t know if the base of the house would be used as a gauge for this, if the sandstone block wall, or the most extended part of the sandstone block would qualify for this. (And what is the base of the house anyway? The bottom portion of the house that has river rock that is angled away from the house at approximately a 50-60 degree angle that extends it out from the wall an additional 5 inches or so.)

Everything seemed to going well, then I added that in order to adequately insulate the east wall, since it doesn’t receive any winter sun, it would likely need to have an insulated footer poured below the frost line. (This is what a builder told me.) This is where things started to badly. Then it seemed to the planning commission that 6 inches was simply not enough, and thus, if they approved the variance, then it the building extended past the 6 inches, the building would have to be torn down. And wouldn’t that be fun?

So now I’m at a quandary as to what to do. Is it really worth it to reapply with another variance application? I messed up by limiting the space by giving it a number. At the time, I didn’t think that it mattered and had I not added my little philosophical addition of insulating below the frost line, it probably would have passed.

But it did not, and is currently on hold.

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