Board of Zoning Appeals approves garage variance

By Gary Budzak -

A detached one-car garage on North Washington Street will likely be torn down and replaced by a two-car garage after the city of Delaware’s Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously granted a variance to the property owner last week.

The home is on property zoned one-family residential district, which requires an 8-foot side-yard setback, while Neal Shine is proposing a 2.3-foot setback from the south property line. The staff report recommended a side-yard building setback variance from 8 feet to 3-6 feet for the new garage.

Shine’s two-car garage addition to the south side of the house would include a roof-top patio and gabled roof that matches the existing house, with a new curb cut onto one-way Washington.

“I tried to be very reasonable with the design,” Shine told the board.

“This is a variance because it’s attached,” said zoning administrator Lance Schultz. “If it were detached, you would need only a one-foot variance.”

“There are houses to the north and west that have attached garages,” the staff report said.

Schultz said in the city’s planning and zoning code, there are 12 “practical difficulties” to judge a BZA case on. He said the second factor could apply, which is whether the land is similar to other land in the same zoning district. In this case, the home’s site lot is about 1,000-square-feet smaller than the minimum lot size, and adjacent corner lots are also larger.

“You could consider it an irregular site because it’s small,” Schultz said.

One of Shine’s neighbors, Steve Martin, told the board that “the garage today is simply not adequate.” He was in support of the variance. Shine told the board his neighbors were also in support of the variance, and that one of them hoped to follow suit with similar plans.

The staff report had six conditions, including: the garage shall be setback a minimum 3 to 6 feet from the south property line; the new curb will be a maximum of 20 foot wide; an existing curb cut on Griswold Street and driveway will be eliminated; an existing street tree would have to be replaced if it is eliminated to build the new driveway.

By Gary Budzak

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.