Residents take their zoning concerns to Fountain Green
By Doug Lowe
FOUNTAIN GREEN—The Fountain Green City Council discussed planning and zoning issues on a personal level at its meeting Aug. 15.
Two different residents addressed the mayor and council members concerning construction issues on their property.
The first citizen, Jordan Walker, had recently finished his home and then discovered—to his dismay—that despite having his plot plan approved in advance by the Planning and Zoning Commission, his new home ended up falling a couple feet short of meeting the city’s 12-foot setback requirements.
Everyone agreed that problem happened because the addition of a concrete patio, with a covered roof attached to the home, added a few crucial feet onto the foundation dimensions. As a result, what had at first appeared to be a more than adequate set back turned into a code violation.
Disagreement entered when the home owner’s memory differed considerably from the memory of the one the commission’s members. At issue was whether the home owner had shown the commission architectural plans with its patio and connected roof; or, only provided the commission with a plot plan that showed the planned home’s exact location and foundation dimension without any indication of the extension of a roofed patio. Despite the conflicting memories, the cooperation of a good neighbor provided the home owner with an acceptable way to make up for setback shortfall.
Upon conclusion of the issue, Bryan Allred, chairman of the commission, informed council that some modification were underway to help avoid such misunderstandings in the future. In particular, such changes will clarify that a structure’s footprint, for setback measurement purposes, must include roof line measurements added to the foundation dimension because eves and other overhangs usually extend well beyond a structure’s walls and foundation. Also, despite the fact that approval of building plans is a county government function, the city’s authority over land use plans will require review of architectural drawings to assure accurate correlation with the plot plan being considered for approval.
As a result, applicants seeking approval for new construction or remodeling must ask the city clerk for a place on the agenda of the next monthly meeting of the commission and carefully follow all the clerk’s instructions.
A different homeowner, David Bradley, requested council approval of a conditional use permit allowing him to build two small sheds, without foundations, in a flood zone on his land provided he met certain specified terms and conditions. The commission recommended approval of the permit as drafted with the understanding that council could modify the agreement and that the city would always have the right to cancel the agreement at any time. Given that understanding, council unanimously approved the conditional permit as currently drafted.
The evening’s final discussion of building and zoning matters involved consideration of a new ordinance for regulating the installation of solar panels. The council scheduled the proposed ordinance for further consideration.