Front Steps encroachment
I have regarded entry steps into a house as part of the building and subject to the usual setback limits.
A homeowner is insisting they are "appurtenances" not subject to the setback, which would allow the proposed front porch to be a couple feet bigger.
How are steps treated in your area?
Existing can remain, any tear down...not allowed to rebuild...except for fire...
exactly as steveray stated, except fireproof outside stairways may project a maximum of 3.5'.
Our zoning regulation has a sub-section, "Projections into Required Yards", under the section, "EXCEPTION TO LOT, YARD, AND HEIGHT REGULATIONS".
2. Fire escapes may project a distance not exceeding four point five (4.5) feet.
3. Uncovered stairway and landings may project a distance not exceeding three feet.
Our zoning guy does the same. Steps and ramps have to meet set backs on new building. Existing may be repaired if in the setbacks. Accessibility ramps may protrude into the front set back parrallel to the residence.
Our zoning reads the same as Jobsaver's.
The homeowner's interpretation is reasonable enough that you should allow it because it encourages development and increases property values.
Like Job & Tim my ordinance allows for limited encroachment of 'architectural features' including steps. The homeowner wants to encroach a little more than allowed, and because some relief has already been granted as an "architectural encroachmet, I do not believe I can approve it.
Say hello to the Zoning Board of Appeals!
Thanks - love the Building Code Inpectors Resource Blather forum!
Or whatever its called.
If the homeowner's interpretation, however reasonable, does not meet compliance with the zoning ordinance it legally cannot be approved. The homeowner must take the appropriate measures to either file an appeal, ask for a variance, or get the code changed. Here our appeals go to the Board of Adjustment, a variance request also goes to the Board of Adjustment (grounds for a variance must include a hardship that is not financially based or a mere convenience to the applicant), and finally a code amendment would require a Planning and Zoning Commission recommendation and Board of Aldermen approval.
We don't allow for any new stairs in the setback; there are so many variations on the size and type of stairs that it is easier just to send any cases involving small stairways to the ZBA. In almost all cases they have been approved.
As an aside...we also allow..."access ramps" for SFD to encroach right up to the property line...I won't call them handicapped or accessible, because they are never built to that spec around here...
In NO!-ville, sure.
Originally Posted by cboboggs
But apparently the OP doesn't live there, and hence the question.
And the opportunity to be sensible rather than rigidly and mindlessly bureaucratic.
A sensible way to avoid getting sued.
Originally Posted by steveray
And an approach which can reasonably be applied to other forms of vertical access.
Or to put it in perspective, in most jurisdictions the homeowner could legally regrade their front yard up to entry level and install landscape steps 15 feet from the house without a variance.
All rigidity does is punish the honest.
If it wasn't corrected in plan review let be.
It sounds to me like this is the plan review. I would allow them to encroach as much as your code allows. Beyond that I don't see how you could grant any more at plan review.
Wanting the porch a little bigger doesn't seem like a reason to go out on a limb for them and ignore your zoning code.
It sounds like a self created hardship.
Tim I would agree with you, I have had this fight and lost.
If the porch is built it will remain.
I pick my battles and only seem to win life safety.
I had a resident do something close to what you just decribed. He tore out some old busted up concrete stairs behind a wing wall and wanted to put it back with treated wood stairs, changing the grade with dry stack retaining walls, the top platform was below 18" and it was out past the house build line but part of the stair system. The end result was an approvement but it was hard to determine if it was allowed by our muni-code. He installed a solid 4' privacy fence on one side of the platform where a railing would be required due to the 8' drop down to the driveway behind the wing wall. In the old days some house designs had deco wings with lights on them, wonder if they meet the side yard requirement?
Stairs not allowed in setback. In new construction it's mostly caught in review and every once in a while one slips past (depending on what shown on the plan vs the actual in the field). Then it's caught in the field and footing stage and turned down.
As to after the fact on older construction, unless some neighbor complains I see NOTHING. If the complaint is real, they need to get a remedy from zoning or remove the structure.
In PA case law allows for an encroachment outside of the building envelope. ( Fro Stairs only) & not including zero lot line build outs.
So an applicant could build to the setback limits and have the steps protrude. This differs it appears from state to state as do zoning requirements.
That's the problem with unnecessary zoning rules. Two identical projects can have differing approvals based on the way they are presented...BTW, I've used the fence argument to get around zoning restrictions regarding handrails. City required a variance for construction more than 30" in the front setback but allowed fences without exception.
Originally Posted by Pcinspector1
The kicker was that I know it typically costs at least $1500 in staff time to process a variance of which the city would recover the $150 application fee. Throw in that planning staff would recommend approval - stairs were needed for egress from an historic church (on National Register of Historic Places) built by freed slaves in 1866.
Their interpretation was unnecessarily bureaucratic and a complete waste of taxpayer money...and that's one of the few times you will ever hear that sort of thing from me.