Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Roanoke City zoning ordinance updates and changes

At Monday’s Roanoke City Council meeting an ordinance passed 6-0 that will allow a reduction in side and front yard setbacks. Bill Bestpitch was absent. The change will permit a structure to be three feet from the side or back property line.

According to Planning Administrator Chris Chittum it will help homeowners replace garage foundations that are already closer then the five feet allowed to a property line. Homes on narrow lots had a difficult time with additions under the existing limitations of five feet. Garages can line up better with existing driveways.

Council’ questioning went to parking locations for recreational vehicles (RVs). The zoning had not changed for them said Chittum. They cannot be parked in front yards or on a corner lot side yard. They cannot be parked in the street for more than ten days in a three-month period. “Code enforcement does not monitor RV parking … it is complaint-driven,” said Chittum.

Unattached accessory building additions will be based on the footprint of the house. The maximum increased from 40 percent of a home’s footprint to 75 percent of a home’s footprint. The cumulative percentage of multiple accessory buildings can be no more than 100 percent of the footprint.

Front yard fences will be permitted at a height of 42 inches – an increase from the 36 inches. The changes are effective immediately.

Workshops will require a special exception permit. The workshops will be subject to a public hearing giving neighbors a chance to weigh in on any perceived nuisance.

Small-scale residential wind turbines will also require a special exception permit. Residential wind turbines can be no higher than 20 feet above roof height and the blade width no wider than 4 ½ feet.

In agricultural or commercial districts free standing wind turbines would be limited to 120 feet in height or 60 feet above a rooftop. The blade can be no wider than 30 feet.

There have been no requests for wind turbines within the city limits of Roanoke but as prices come down the city needs to be prepared explained Chittum.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Community, Politics, Roanoke City Politics

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