August 25, 2009
CALL TO ORDER:  at 3:00 p.m.


Jimmy Fields, Chair
John Hickey, Vice Chair
Jeremy Christopher, Member

EXCUSED: Paul Parisi, Member

MINUTES:   Approval of the Minutes of July 28, 2009, Regular Session. 

MOTION: A motion was made by Member Christopher and seconded by Vice Chair Hickey to approve the minutes of the July 28, 2009, Regular session.

MOTION carried, 3-0.

PUBLIC HEARING:  CASE NO:  OV10-09-02, Patrick Pacheco requests a variance from the required 18’ building height, up to 27’, when measured from natural grade on a custom graded lot with a greater than 6% slope.  Subject property located at 834 W Big Sand Place, Oro Valley, AZ, 85737 (Parcel #219-52-2070).

Chair Fields swore in Pima County resident David Leland. Mr. Leland stated that he was the architect representing the applicant, Patrick Pacheco. He stated that they were seeking approval for a variance on the Oro Valley Zoning Code 23.5.B.1, regarding height restriction. He noted that:
~the structure exceeded the height restriction by 9 feet at the rear of the house for 2% of the structure due to natural drainage swell on the lot.
~tried placing the house on every position on the lot
  *regardless of the position, the height of the house was still an issue
~obtained approval from the homeowners association and the Town’s Development Services department for the structure.

In response to Member Hickey’s question, Mr. Leland stated that the house could not be moved to the south/southeasterly direction as the situation still occurred. He stated that the drainage swell proceeded through 2/3 of the house. He explained that if the house were brought twenty feet forward to the east retaining wall within ten feet of the property line, a 13 foot differential in the topography from the northwest to the southeast and east to west would exist. He noted that 13 feet of elevation change divided by two equaled 7 1/2 feet. He stated that the 7 1/2 feet would then be added to the natural grade for a total of nine feet which exceeded the six foot requirement by the code.

He stated that rotating the house in different directions created drainage and setback issues. He explained that they tried to flip the house which created issues with energy efficiency.

Mr. Leland stated that the layout of the house as presented was the best layout for the lot to obtain views, maintain energy efficiency, drainage conditions so as not to affect the adjacent property. He explained that the retaining walls satisfied the grading requirements.

It was noted that:
~the size of the house was within the developer’s approved plan.
~the lot could be built on but there are conditions that need to be addressed.
~the cost to implement a lift system would be approximately $25,000.

Zoning Inspector Patty Hayes presented the Staff report:
~The request is to increase the building height by nine feet.
~The lot has an 11% slope beneath the building pad.
~There is nine feet of fill dirt beneath the building pad.
~The area of the home with nine feet of fill dirt is the rear portion of the home.
~The front portion of the home cuts into the land.
~The plan included terracing nine feet of fill dirt with retaining walls and a stem wall.
  *This would break up the nine feet of fill dirt into shorter segments.
~The applicant brought in 2 alternate site plans that moved the home forward.
  *Both plans had height problems as well.
~All property owners within 300 feet of the property were notified by mail
~A sign was posted on the property
~It was advertised online and in the Daily Territorial Newspaper
~One neighbor submitted a letter in opposition.
~Several neighbors have inquired about the property and some have objected to the case

Ms. Hayes informed the Board that they may wish to entertain the following motions:
~Deny or; 
~Approve with conditions or alterations to the requested height.

She noted that some neighbors had requested that a condition be implemented to require the applicant to stucco and paint the retaining walls to match the house.

It was noted that, according to staff, if a lift station were implemented and the house moved back with the plans as submitted, the height issue would still exist. 

It was also noted that the finish of the terraced walls would not have to be referred to the Development Review Board (DRB) as the zoning was above the regulation of the DRB.

Chair Fields opened the public hearing.

Oro Valley resident John Miranda resident stated that this was not a minor exception as it equated to 18 feet. He noted that other houses in the development were constructed according to the Oro Valley Zoning Code. He stated his opposition to the variance unless there more of a compromise was made.

Oro Valley resident Mary Gaskill stated that this variance would affect more homeowners than were present in the audience as they were unable to attend during the day due to their jobs. She noted that the variance would allow the house to sit higher than necessary. She explained that she felt that the house could be placed deeper into the ground and that neighbors should not be imposed upon.

Oro Valley resident John Furrie stated that his backyard faced the applicant’s property. He stated that seven homeowners had expressed their opposition to the homeowners association. He noted that many homes have lift pumps; his included. He explained that other homeowners have complied. He questioned why the applicant was digging three feet down when it was allowable to dig down six feet. He noted that this plan has a massive wall and it would detract from the views.

Oro Valley resident Michael Morgan stated that he lived across the wash. He noted that his house was built low and off the road. He explained that his view would be of the retaining walls and that it seemed that all avenues had not been explored.

Oro Valley resident Bill Adler stated that he had not heard any reference to the possibility of a grading exception. He explained that the excessive height would change the character of the neighborhood and that consistency should be achieved. He recommended that the applicant request a grading exception.

Oro Valley resident Gary Orlich stated that there were misconceptions regarding this case. He stated that the house would not exceed 18 feet and that other lots had received variances. He noted that the house was moved back because of the grading limits as it was not allowable to grade within ten feet of the property line. He noted that all retaining walls must have stucco and paint the same color as the house. He explained that he came to clarify misconceptions.

Oro Valley resident John Furrie stated that the wall did not affect Coyote Ridge but rather the neighbors. 

Oro Valley resident Gary Orlich stated that the house to the east would sit higher than the proposed house. He questioned how views could be affected when the house would sit lower and the walls would be positioned below the house.

Oro Valley resident Dan Pacheco stated that the applicants should not be denied the right to build their home.

Oro Valley resident Don Bristow stated that the house did not appear to fit the lot. He noted that there did not seem to be compromise to move the house down the lot. He stated that there should be a balance that would be fair for all concerned.

Oro Valley resident Mary Gaskill stated that the applicant purchase a lot that required a big variance. She noted that her home was behind this lot. She explained that there were two four foot and one three foot retaining walls that were approximately thirty feet long. She questioned whether it could be graded down lower.

Chair Fields closed the public hearing.

Mr. Leland returned to address concerns that had been raised during the public hearing. He explained via visual aids to show where other homes and the heights of those homes were in relation to the lot.

Applicant Patrick Pacheco stated that he bought the lot in 2004 as an investment. He explained that did not want to build a house down into a "hole." He noted that he wanted his lot to be valuable. He stated that he did not want to build a house that was not a home. He informed the Board that he has been before the homeowners association twice and worked to meet their requirements as well as the Town's requirements.

MOTION: A motion was made by Member Christopher and seconded by Vice Chair Hickey to deny the request.

Member Christopher stated that he reviewed the lot and that the lot did meet the three of the five criteria. He stated that view sheds would be impeded and that it would be detrimental to the neighbors.

Vice Chair Hickey stated that what has been requested was not the minimum variance that could be requested.

Chair Fields concurred that the five criteria must be met in order for a variance to be granted.

MOTION failed, 0-3 with Chair Fields, Vice Chair Hickey, and Member Christopher opposed.


P&Z update

Zoning Program Supervisor Dee Widero informed the Board that Sign Lighting went before Council on August 19, 2009 and was not approved. She noted that the vote was split 3-3. She explained that staff had been directed to carry the issue forward for a comprehensive sign code review.

Additionally, Ms. Widero stated that at this time no one has been interviewed to fill the vacancy on the Board. 


MOTION: A motion was made by Vice Chair Hickey and seconded by Member Christopher to adjourn the meeting at 3:48 p.m.

MOTION carried, 3-0.