July 12, 2000

Board of Adjustment

Town of Emerald Isle

Regular Meeting of Board of Adjustment


Chairman, Michael Johnson, called the Town of Emerald Isle Board of Adjustment meeting to order at 9:00 A.M. Wednesday, July 12, 2000.

Members present: Michael Johnson, Jackie Getsinger, Kevin Viverette, Dorothy Marks, and James Woolard. Alternate members were in attendance: Joseph Quigley and new Alternate 2 member Winton Smithwick. Mr. Smithwick was sworn in by Town Clerk, Carolyn Custy.

  • Case 00-002 – Melvin and Barbara Welch, request a variance to enable a single-family dwelling to encroach into western side setback, due to configuration of lot 21, block 26, 6608 Marsh Cove Road. Section 19-101(7).

Chairman Johnson read the request of Mr. and Mrs. Welch, represented by Mr. Fredrick Fremeux, the party interested in purchasing this property. Secretary, Carol Angus, swore in Mr. Fremeux.

Mr. Fremeux then read from the application. The design that best preserves the many natural features of this lot utilizes land areas that are currently part of the sideyard setback requirement. A variance is requested to best preserve this natural area as indicated by the plot plan attached.

Factors Relevant to the Issuance of a Variance:


    1. There are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships in the way of carrying out the strict letter of the ordinance. The best use of the property is to locate the proposed structure on the north most portion of the site. The 15’ sideyard setback on the western property line prevents the best building design which preserves the natural contours, trees and vegetation which makes this site desirable. The site is heavily wooded, multiple elevation changes, CAMA setbacks, non-buildable area where site is less than 75’ in width and portions of the buildable area are less than seven feet wide. The hardship is totally from the constraints of the land’s existing characteristics.
    2. The variance is in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the ordinance and preserves its spirit. The closest resident is approximately 170 feet from the proposed structure, does not encroach on the public access and poses no public danger, preserves land topography to maintain watershed and preserves the habitat by minimizing tree removal.
    3. The granting of the variance secures the public safety and welfare and does substantial justice. If denied, a more traditional design approach would be the only solution. This would significantly damage the preservation of this soundfront lot, which adjoins a private park. This would detract greatly from the existing natural habitat currently enjoyed by Marsh Cove residents.
  • Mr. Fremeux reiterated that the lot has a number of large hardwoods on the lot that he hopes to save be able to minimize the impact on the property. The vegetation on the property is the most attractive feature of the lot.

    Ms. Marks asked about the driveway and how it traveled throughout the lot to the residence. She was advised it would be on the western side of the lot with a wider area at the north end for parking and turning.

    Mr. Fremeux then stepped to the board table and illustrated on the maps he had sub-mitted how the driveway, parking, turning and the house would better fit the property than with a conventional residence. He would like to be able to utilize the most advan-tageous position for view as well as vegetation. There is no view on the north side of the property since that is where the private park for the subdivision is located, which leaves only the east and west sides.

    (Some of Mr. Fremeux’s conversation was not picked up on the microphone and is inaudible during this illustration).

    Mr. Johnson asked Mr. Fremeux if he really needed a zero lot line, or will something less than that serve him? Mr. Fremeux said he did not need a true zero lot line, that the illustration is fairly accurate and he could use less than a zero lot line. Mr. Johnson said he was concerned about roof overhang and such onto a public access to the sound. Mr. Fremeux said no portion of the structure would overhand any portion of the access.

    Ms. Marks said her concern is that the variance request is to preserve natural vegetation and she doesn’t understand why the house cannot be in the southern portion of the property closer to the street. The driveway would not be as long to disturb vegetation to the house. Mr. Fremeux said that a considerable amount of fill would be required on the southern portion and that the property is better suited for a residence on the northern portion. He and his wife had looked at both sites and the northern one is the premier site. If someone were to build on the southern end of the site, the northern 2/3 of the site would be useless.

    Mr. Woolard asked about the possibility of moving the entire house to the east 9 or 10 feet? Mr. Fremeux said it would push the project into the CAMA setbacks and they cannot be waived.

    Mr. Woolard asked if Mr. Fremeux was considering this lot conditional on this variance being granted? He responded that was correct.

    Mr. Woolard asked what was meant by "resort to a more traditional design" in the appli-cation if this variance were denied? Mr. Fremeux again approached the board table to illustrate his concept.

    Ms. Marks asked why he could not put the parking area in another portion of the lot that goes into the side setback, which is permitted? Mr. Fremeux said it was because the square footage of the house and not to use three stories as opposed to two stories to include parking. This is to be his permanent residence to maximize the use of the lot and the views.

    Mr. Woolard said his concern was the difference between ideal and aesthetics and reasonable use the property by regulations.

    Kevin Viverette said he is concerned that more in reality is the request is for permission for a variance that the applicant will end up with a more preferred view. He was lead to believe that the vegetation was to be the main reason for this request. He had been to the site as well, and wondered if the view was the most important thing in the request. Also, the front of the lot is buildable.

    Mr. Fremeux responded that it is both issues. In the proposal that the current owners have they are removing 24 trees, Mr. Fremeux will not remove nearly that many trees. He does want to position the house to take advantage of the natural characteristics of the site, which is the view. This concept will also preserve more trees.

    Chairman Johnson reiterated that setbacks are for privacy and safety, which are not a real concern for this particular lot.

    Ms. Marks said here would be no access for fire trucks with the house that far back.

    Mr. Viverette asked if there would be a problem with a structure on the lot line, if at some time some type of structure were to be built on the access? Ms. Angus replied that if a variance were granted it would not affect the wooden walkway at all. The only person affected would be this property owner because his privacy would be compromised. He would have no recourse but to cooperate with any development of access.

    Mr. Fremeux said he knew an access might be a possibility.

    Chairman Johnson stated from the survey he is looking at it would require more fill to develop in the southern portion than in the northern portion of the lot. He was looking at it from a contractor’s point of view. It runs from 9’ to 13’ with a base flood elevation of 9 feet.

    Mr. Johnson went on to advise that tandem axles are not a problem on a project he has now for a 10’ driveway that is more complicated than this proposal. So he sees no problem for emergency equipment or delivery trucks with what is drawn on the plan.

    Mr. Fremeux went on to advise that the northern portion of the lot is solid and would not present any building problems.

    Ms. Marks said she has concerns about variance to a setback when you have a buildable lot. There is no hardship with the lot. It is not a good reason for a variance because you would like a better view. She is one that would want to save the vegetation, but to grant a variance for a house design is not a hardship. Ms. Marks also asked whether there is a 75’ wide building line where the proposal is shown. Ms. Angus replied there is.

    Mr. Woolard asked if either plan would fall within the Town’s regulation of 45% undisturbed. Mr. Johnson assured him that is not an issue on that particular lot.

    Mr. Johnson then asked for a vote, and informed the applicant that it will require a 4/5 majority vote to grant a variance.

    Ms. Marks asked that the variance request be changed from a zero lot line to a 5’ setback on the west boundary and that be incorporated into the motion to be voted on.

    The motion to be voted on is to grant or deny a variance to allow a 5’ setback on the west boundary of the property. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

    There being no further business before the board motion was made by Kevin Viverette to adjourn, second by Jackie Getsinger with unanimous approval in favor of the motion.

Posted by The Town of Emerald Isle 07/12/2000