May 26, 2022, Morgan Robertson
Although it is summer, the LEAP Ambassadors look for ways to learn. Thus, when Ken Holland, Chairman of the Board of Adjustments (and HISD Trustee), invited us to attend a board meeting to see how the City works, we jumped at the chance.
Mr. Holland prepped us for the meeting by supplying the agenda ahead of time and explained to Yvette and me what a Board of Adjustments does. He told us that the board is made up of citizens who wish to serve their community (much like City Council, which is also a board). The seven members of the board meet when there are cases to be discussed, and they do not get paid for their time.
Before the start of the meeting, we spoke with Aron Kulhavy, City Manager, for a while and I was also able to introduce Yvette to Kevin Byal, Director of Development Services for the city.
The meeting began, just like City Council, with the pledges and an invocation. The next item on the agenda was a Public Hearing for a variance request.
A public hearing consists of three parts: (1) a description of the variance, (2) comments in favor and (3) comments against. Public hearings for a variance are a time in the meeting in which a representative from the city will explain the issue and why the citizen is requesting a variance. Once the representative from the city explained the facts of the variance, the Chairman, Mr. Holland, opened the floor up for comments from the public.
The second part in the public hearing calls for comments in favor of the variance, and a representative for the citizen gave a detailed description in favor of the variance, which involved property on a setback line for the construction of a new structure. Previously, on the land in which the new structure was to be built, there was a structurally unsound shed that has since been removed. The owners of the property are looking to build a pool house on the site of the previously existing structure. However, due to the layout of the property and usage of the land, the structure would encroach on the setback line by 4 feet.
The property owner then spoke in favor of the variance, as did a neighbor who believed it to be in the best interest of her property as well.
The third part of a public hearing calls for comments against approval of the variance, and at this meeting there were none.
Mr. Holland closed the Public Hearing, and then began the 6th item on the agenda; for members of the board to discuss and decide on approval or denial of the variance.
After some deliberation and discussion, the Board of Adjustment decided to approve the variance with the staff recommendation of a four-foot setback with a 1-hour fire-rated wall assembly required.
The meeting was interesting from start to finish, and I am grateful we were invited to watch our community at work!
The LEAP Ambassadors would like to thank Chairman Holland and the City of Huntsville for inviting and welcoming us to learn!