October 10, 2017

MEMO TO:           Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:                  Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT:           Ordinance Amending Chapter 10 – Definitions and Rules of Interpretation – of the Unified Development Ordinance to Allow Elevator Shafts to Encroach into Building Setbacks - (Summary & Suggested Motions)

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider the attached amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance that would allow elevator shafts to encroach up to 3 feet into front, side, and rear building setbacks in Emerald Isle.  A public hearing is required before Board consideration, and has been scheduled for the October 10 meeting.

Residential elevators have become more common in recent years due to the fact that many homes in Emerald Isle are 2 or 3 stories, there are many older individuals in Emerald Isle, and residential elevators have become more affordable.  Many new homes now include elevators when constructed, and many existing homes have been retrofitted with elevators to make it easier for residents to access the upper floors.  In some cases, the new elevator can be accommodated as part of the existing structure without encroaching into the front, side, or rear building setbacks.  In many cases, however, it has not been possible to incorporate an elevator into an existing structure due to setback requirements, and these permit requests have been denied.  Because the Town is receiving more of these requests, Town Planner Josh Edmondson drafted the attached ordinance amendment to make it easier for elevators to be added to existing structures and assist these residents.

In the Residential-2 and Residential Multi-Family zoning districts, the front setback is 30 feet (20 feet in the Eastern End Oceanfront Overlay district), and the side and rear setbacks are either 15 feet (lots platted after 1977) or 10 feet (lots platted before 1977).   In the Mobile Home district, the front setback is 30 feet, and the rear and side setbacks are 10 feet.  In the Village East, Village West, and Marina Village zoning districts, all setbacks are 10 feet.  The UDO currently allows certain features, including uncovered decks and porches, to encroach into these setbacks by up to 3 feet, and many structures in Emerald Isle have utilized this provision for decks and porches.  The attached ordinance amendment simply adds elevator shafts to the list of features that may encroach up to 3 feet into the setbacks.  The attached ordinance amendment would allow the elevator shaft to be enclosed and incorporated into the overall structure, or would allow it to simply be affixed to the side of the structure.  Most residential elevator shafts are approximately 5 feet by 5 feet, so up to 3 feet of this feature would be permitted to encroach into the setback.

The Planning Board reviewed the proposed ordinance amendment at its September meeting, and unanimously recommends approval.  Josh Edmondson and I are available to answer any questions you may have at the October 10 meeting.