The original building was constructed in 1973. It has since undergone three expansions; one in 1997, one in 2004 and the last one in 2007. The expansion in 2004 was a large addition to the south side of the building. The 2007 expansion included additions to the west and east sides of the building.
The applicant has submitted plans to relocate and update the chiller plant. The update is needed to support the expanding operations and to replace the end of life equipment. The current equipment is located outside on the east side of the building. To comply with current building code, the equipment will be moved inside and utilize two existing loading bays. The shipping and receiving operations of these two docks are being moved to loading dock B, the loading dock in question. This loading dock has to be expanded to handle the additional shipping and receiving needs. The applicant has stated that trucks pull entirely into the loading dock and are loaded and unloaded inside the enclosed loading dock.
The applicant is proposing to construct a 33' 4" long by 21' 5" wide enclosed loading bay. In order to do this they are requesting a variance to the required 35 foot setback to the street right-of-way. They are requesting a setback of 21' 8" or variance of 13' 4".
Variance Request from Section11-802.2(6)(a)(i), Building Setback From Street Right-of-Way
In order for a variance to be granted, the Board must make the following findings of City Code Section 11-304.9(2), Standards for Approval for granting variances. A variance may be granted only after the following findings are made:
1. The variance is in harmony with the general purposes and intent of the ordinance from which the variance is requested.
The intent of the Industrial District is to encourage industrial uses which are clean, quiet and free of hazardous or objectionable elements such as noise, odor, dust, smoke, glare or other pollutants. The granting of the variance is in harmony the the intent of the Industrial District in that it will allow the applicant to continue the existing use which meets the above criteria.
2. The variance is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.
The Comprehensive Plan seeks to maintain a diversified economic base and a climate that encourages economic development and ongoing business activity. This goal can be furthered by allowing businesses to modify their facilities to meet changing building code requirements. The granting of this variance would allow the applicant to update their facility and comply with new building code requirements.
3. The applicant demonstrates there are practical difficulties in complying with the ordinance from which the variance is being sought. Practical difficulties include, but are not limited to, inadequate access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems. Economic considerations alone do not constitute practical difficulties. In determining this standard, all of the following must be met:
a. Unless the variance is granted, the property cannot be used in a reasonable manner. If a property can be used reasonably without the granting of a variance, it can be used in a reasonable manner.
The enclosed loading dock is required to meet the shipping and receiving needs of the applicant. To ensure the integrity of the goods being received and shipped out, the loading and unloading process must be conducted in a climate controlled environment. This can only be accomplished with an enclosed loading area. The size of the loading area is determined by the size of the delivery truck.
b. The variance requested must be the minimum to make reasonable use of the property.
The variance requested is the minimum needed to construct an enclosed loading area that can accommodate the delivery trucks.
c. The plight of the applicant or landowner is due to circumstances unique to the property not created by the applicant.
The variance is needed because the applicant has to replace the existing chiller equipment. The equipment can not be replaced in the existing location because of new and stricter building codes. The closest location that can be used are two adjacent loading bays. The deliveries that occur in these loading bays must be moved to loading dock B. Loading dock B is currently an outdoor loading area and must be modified (enclosed) to meet the climate control requirements for deliveries. The proximity of the street right-of-way to the building (about 55 feet) limits the size of the loading area to 20 feet, which is not large enough to accommodate the delivery trucks.
d. The variance, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the locality.
If granted, the variance will not alter the character of the neighborhood.
The application for variance requires the applicant submit a written narrative explaining how the variance request meets the following criteria: explain the undue hardship that exists based upon circumstances unique to the property, explain how the request allows the minimum improvement that would make possible the reasonable use of the property, explain how the request would not be detrimental to the neighborhood or the public welfare and explain how the variance would not grant a special privilege not common to other property in the same zoning district. The applicant's narrative is attached.