Board grants variance on structure

Dec. 04, 2013 @ 04:07 PM

Following a board decision on Tuesday, a Henderson widow will be able to keep an enclosed carport she had built that ran afoul of city zoning setback rules.

Helen Short indicated she felt the stress of possible conflict with the city after she thought she obtained the right permits and the contractor said the building would be allowed.

Short appeared before the Henderson Zoning Board of Adjustments for a ruling on the 846-square foot enclosed carport with a lean addition extending from the roof of her 1210 Dabney Drive home.

According to city rules, the structure comprises a utility shed or building that encroaches on setback requirements that determine how far structures should be from the property margins.

The permit she originally obtained was for an open carport structure that would be allowed in that space between the house and the edge of her property.

“I didn’t know,” Short said. “I thought you could trust a contractor. A lot of times, things get wet that are placed there, so I had the structure enclosed.”

She said after recently losing her husband, she also feels safer having the carport enclosed where she parks her car.

“I feel like it is more secure for me,” Short said.

The estimated cost for improvements, according to documents presented to board members, was nearly $5,600.

“This is a situation where the building is already there,” said Erris Dunston, the Henderson planning director. “It came to our attention when she put doors on the carport.

“She had a contractor working for her, and they told her that the proper permits had been obtained. When it became an enclosure, it went out of compliance.”

Board members said the sworn testimony of Short that Dunston as a city leader corroborated was indication enough that the oversight was not intentional. They voted unanimously to allow the variance for the structure to remain.

Short paid a $350 fee for the variance request to be processed.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.