In very rare action, the City Council plans to file an appeal against decisions made by the Board of Adjustments.
City Attorney Junior Baker said the disputes will be filed in one complaint this week in 4th District Court. The issues involve two variances in separate cases that the Board of Adjustments granted that the council believes fail to meet the intent of city ordinances."They were way out of line," said Baker.
In one case the Board of Adjustment granted a variance to a resident who wanted to build a 1,500-square foot detached garage in an area where the zone allowed only a 900-square-foot building. After he was turned down for a building permit he appealed to the Board of Adjustment, which granted the variance.
In the other case, a homeowner wanted to sell his house as a duplex, but the house is on a 6,300-square-foot lot. The ordinance calls for duplexes to be on at least a 10,000-square-foot lot. The homeowners appealed to the Board of Adjustment and won a variance.
Baker said that while a duplex would typically be worth more than a single-family home on the market, the law doesn't consider economic hardship as justification to grant a variance.
Board of Adjustments Chairman Jerry Shaw said the court action could impact future decisions by the board.
He said when the board gets its cases, it also gets a recommendation from the city administration how to vote. But if the city is going to appeal board decisions "why vote against it?"
Shaw said the council may have justification in the issue concerning the garage. He abstained from voting on that issue, he said, because he didn't see the hardship.
But in the other case, the homeowners bought the home as a duplex, unaware that it was a non-conforming use. They now just want to sell it as a duplex. City officials say they homeowners had discontinued using the home as a duplex.