Board of Adjustment Hears Structure Waiver Request Monday

BOA News:

Monday Oct. 13, the Los Alamos County Board of Adjustment (BOA) will meet in Council Chambers to hear a case involving a waiver for an accessory structure.

The subject property is at 121 Verde Ridge in the La Vista subdivision, R-1-10 (Single Family Residential) zone. County staff recommends approval with one condition, of a request for approval of a 16-foot high accessory structure, to be placed at the rear of the property. The Development Code permits an accessory structure up to 12-feet high in an R-1-10 zone.

The condo was built in 1972 and the current owners purchased the property in 2013. The lot contains .54 acres or 23,293 square feet and requires a front setback of 20-ft, 20-ft for the rear, and 10-ft for the sides.

Section 16-157 of the Development Code sets the review criteria for waivers. Department findings are as follows:

Granting of the waiver will not cause an intrusion into any utility or other easement unless approved by the owner of the easement. The proposed 16-ft high garage of approximately 1292 square-feet will be along the rear property line. There is a utility easement along the rear property line and across a corner of the lot without any encroachment on the easement.

The waiver request is caused by a practical difficulty or hardship inherent in the lot or lot improvements and the difficulty or hardship has not been self-imposed. Due to the 12-foot high permitted accessory building height per code, a waiver is necessary for the proposed 16-foot high privacy fence. The garage is intended to provide the applicant with a space for the owner’s hobby of working on his personal automobiles.

He would like to add a vehicle lift in the building which requires a least 12 feet of vertical clearance. Initially he intended to dig a service pit where the lift could be placed. He discovered that the conditions of the lot make digging unreasonably difficult because of the large rocks when excavating for the shed. A pit like that would also be a fall hazard as well as other health and safety concerns. This leaves the applicant with the option of achieving a slightly higher than 12 feet of clearance from the finished floor of the garage which would require a higher than 12 feet of clearance.

The applicant is asking for a 4 foot waiver from the 12 foot code requirement for no higher than 16 foot high accessory structure. The property has a hardship in the slight slop of the terrain as well as the difficulty of excavating the yard.

Granting of the waiver will not create a health or safety hazard or violate building code requirements.

Granting of the waiver will not create any significant negative physical impacts on property within 100 yards of the subject property such as reduced sight lines, loss of privacy, decreased security, increased noise, objectionable odors, intrusion of artificial light, the casting of unwanted shadows, or similar negative impacts.

The placement of the 16-ft high garage will not cause significant reduced sight lines, loss of privacy, decreased security, increased noise, objectionable odors, or the like. It will not cause visibility problems as it is located at the rear of the property away from the public right-of-way.

Monday’s Board of Adjustment meeting is open to the public.