Friday, September 20, 2013

An Aha! Experience

Yesterday, Gossips reported that Per Blomquist had appeared before the Zoning Board of Appeals requesting an area variance for the building he is proposing for 248-250 Columbia Street. The reason for the variance apparently is that the five apartments in the building will be just 700 square feet and zoning regulations require that each dwelling unit be 1,500 square feet. This morning, at the suggestion of a reader, Gossips looked at the chart that sets forth the bulk and area regulations and discovered that 1,500 square feet has to do not with the apartment size but with the lot size--something that was not clear either at the Planning Commission meeting or at the ZBA meeting.

The chart indicates that the lot size must be 1,500 square feet for each dwelling unit, which means that the lot on which the proposed five-apartment building is constructed must be 7,500 square feet. According the Assessment and Parcel Inventory, the lot at 248 Columbia Street is .05 acre and the lot at 250 Columbia Street is .07 acre. Combined, that translates into 5,227.2 square feet--2,272.8 square feet or about a third less than what is required by the code. The code also requires that there be 300 square feet of usable outdoor space for each dwelling unit. If the building complies with the specified maximum lot coverage, which is 30 percent, fulfilling that requirement should not be a problem.

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