Kam Takar of Crowne Communities wants his customers to be able to customize their homes within the development, and to build in encroachments on setbacks that have not yet and may never be requested.
On Tuesday, Jan. 23, the Winters Planning Commission heard Takar’s case for less yard space in the Callahan Estates development.
Takar requested a few other changes to decrease the required space between parcel lines and structures that related to the actual house being built, and the staff recommendation was to approve the ones that had apparent benefit, like slightly reducing a setback in the front of the house to allow for a useable alley-loaded driveway in the back.
According to Takar, he needed the setbacks to make a profit on his product.
“We were having problems creating single-story product. We can’t build a 1,200 square foot house and survive building it. There’s a sweet spot at 2,000 square feet,” he said.
Along with these changes, Takar asked that the planned development overlay for Callahan Estates allow for future structures, namely patio covers, to be allowed to bleed two feet into the established rear setback for decks and patio covers of 10 feet.
“We wanted to be very cognizant of people’s needs,” said Takar, “It also helps the city, by reducing the workload on (contract planner) David Dowswell.”
Takar said the allowance for more structure in the yard would allow homeowners to enjoy the outdoors.
“People want to live outside. They want to create these beautiful outdoor living areas that are covered,” said Takar.
According to Dowswell, city planning staff agrees to the two-foot allowance, but would like to stick to the zoning code otherwise.
“It can’t occlude more than 30 percent of the rear yard, and it must be open on three sides,” said Dowswell.
In a presentation that the developer failed to submit to the commission prior to the meeting, Takar went into an explanation of increasing the allowable lot coverage behind the homes and showed examples of structures on the lots, many of them backing up to the rear fence.
Dowswell reminded the commission and the developer that any auxiliary structure over 500 square feet required a public hearing, and approving the potential possibility would never revoke that rule.
“I’m not sure what’s to be gained,” said Dowswell, “A planned development doesn’t allow you to predispose an approval.”
Dowswell and the commission agreed that the subject of adjusting lot coverage on additional structures would have to wait for another day.
“I don’t know that we have an appetite to just grant additional coverage,” said commission chair Lisa Baker.
City Manager John Donlevy said the answer was to provide the developer and future customers with information about all existing building processes.
“This is kind of shooting from the hip,” he said.
Ultimately, the commissioners unanimously approved the staff recommendation for decreasing setbacks where staff recommended them, including some conditions against the request of the developer to keep side yard setbacks to 15 feet.
117 Second Street parcel
Robert Coman petitioned the commission to grant the ability to divide his L-shaped parcel into two separate parcels to allow for development on the currently vacant portion of the lot, which faces Wolfskill Street.
“This parcel has been in the Young family for a number of years. Because of the odd shape, we’ve never done anything with it,” said Coman. “We have the opportunity to do that now.”
When commissioner Patrick Riley inquired about the odd shape of the parcel, Coman responded about its initial use.
“There was a barn at the back of the house, so the horses could come in the back side… just my guess,” he said.
The commission approved the split in a unified vote.