Thursday, April 26, 2012

Carport issue remains alive, final decision expected May 31


After debating the issue of carports in Wyandotte County for over three years, what's another month in the whole scheme of things?

The Unified Government Board of Commissioners decided to push back the vote on the county's new carport policy until May 31.

With four commissioners absent from the meeting, the board decided to place the agenda item on the next planning and zoning meeting conducted by the UG.

Under the new policy proposal, residents with two carports (located along the side of a home or in a back yard) that were built before April 2008 are exempt from the policy passed two years ago by commissioners.

Additionally, those seeking to build a carport in a front-yard must obtain a variance from the UG Board of Zoning Appeals.

Residents who have built carports after April 2008 "may be granted a variance upon written approval from abutting neighbors," the policy reads.

Carports built in the front yard of a home are prohibited without a variance from the UG.

Another public hearing was held on Thursday. This time, only a few residents spoke on the matter, compared to over a dozen at a meeting earlier this year.

"To me the central issue is we're trying to pass retro-date legislation," said Bob Ferguson, a pro-carport resident. "We put these carports up and we didn't have issues doing so. We need reasonable and sensible rules."

The topic of carports has been a heated issue with some Wyandotte County residents for over three years and somehow, it's never been put to bed by the government.

A frustrated Unified Government Mayor/CEO Joe Reardon said the issue needs to be settled at the May 31 meeting.

"This government needs to take action," Reardon said. "This issue is a balancing act but it's over. Let's take an action of getting this done."

Meanwhile, Commissioners Nathan Barnes and Ann Murguia also expressed frustration on the matter.

"I'm frustrated by this whole topic," Murguia said. "I've been here five years and I've never had a complaint given to me about a carport. I find it frustrating."

Like he did at a previous meeting on carports, Barnes suggested that all carports should be grandfathered in.

There was a lot of frustration displayed at the meeting, but little action was finalized on the matter.


Here's the full policy listed in the agenda tonight:
27-609 (2)  Accessory buildings (garages, carports, tool sheds, etc.). For any dwelling unit there may be permitted a detached accessory building. Such building shall not be located less than 60 feet from the front lot line or in the front yardin front of the front of the house, less than two feet from any alley, nor closer than three feet to any side or rear property line. In the case of corner lots, a detached accessory building shall not be within 20 feet of the side street. The total area of such detached accessory building shall not exceed 1,000 square feet or cover more than 30 percent of the required rear yard. In any residential district on lots or tracts of less than three acres, the following conditions shall apply to any detached accessory building of greater than 120 square feet in floor area: 

a.  The exterior wall materials shall be limited to customary residential finish materials. These specifically include: horizontal clapboard siding of all materials; wood and plywood siding; stone and brick, both actual and artificial, and textured finishes such as stucco and stucco board  which visually cover the underlying material regardless of the underlying material.

b.  The exterior roofing materials for roofs sloped more than two in 12 shall be shingles or tiles and not metal, fiberglass or plastic sheets. Exception: If using a metal roof the color must be a factory applied and painted finish that closely matches the roof color of the primary structure or the color of the primary structure itself if the roof and walls of the accessory structure are to be the same color.

c. Up to two accessory structures existing in a side or rear yard and not in the front yard of a  single property prior to April of 2008 are exempt from these regulations. The City’s 2008 Aerial photography will be used to make this determination.

d. Accessory structures constructed after April of 2008 may be granted a variance upon written notarized approval from abutting neighbors impacted by the setback.

e. Any accessory structure located in a front yard must obtain a variance from the board of Zoning Appeals.

f. Any parcel with more than one accessory structure where the structures do not conform to C above must obtain a variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals.