Kure Beach Planning Board Favors Amendment To Permit Fire Place

Kure Beach Planning Board Favors Amendment To Permit Fire Place Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 10 June 2015 04:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

KURE BEACH - The Kure Beach Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend the Town Council approve an amendment to the zoning ordinance to permit fireplaces to encroach into side yard setbacks by 24-inches for corner lots during their June 3rd meeting.
The amendment was requested by Ann and Richard Lawing. They built a house at 242 N. 3rd Avenue in 2012.  Richard has been in the home building business for over 40 years.
Kure Beach building inspector John Batson admitted to signing off on their building plans and making numerous inspections of the project through out construction and informed the power company it was ok to turn on power service for the property.
The Lawings said at the last minute Batson refused to allow them to move into the house because their fireplace jutted out around six inches to far into the "setback" on the side of the house from the property line.
Batson explained during a March 2013 Board of Adjustment meeting the Town ordinance Sec. 19-329. - Modification of required yards, does, "allow for some things to extend (18) eighteen inches into the setback. They are as follows."
The ordinance stated, "Architectural features such as fire escapes, cornices, eaves, steps, gutters, buttresses, open or enclosed fire escapes, outside stairways, balconies, and similar features, but not carports or porches, may project not more than eighteen (18) inches into any required yard.
Batson said, "A fireplace is not in this list."
Batson also pointed to a well house and cedar tree located within the setback area as issues that needed to be resolved.
The Lawings pled their case to the Town's Board of Adjustment twice with no success citing the fact the building inspector signed off on the building plans and should have known the location of the fireplace.
Additionally, the Lawings cited an incident where a window was broken by Batson during an inspection. Batson said he was tapping on the window to check it's installation. They requested the Town pay for the window. The Town ultimately wrote a check to the Lawings to pay for the window.
Batson said of the window, "My request for a receipt showing the windows bought and installed is purely for my protection as well as the Town’s. While the windows appeared to be correct, the window that broke simply shouldn’t have. It is a request that I have made numerous times of other contractors for other reasons."
The Lawings said earlier during an inspection of the house Batson had become locked outside on a third level deck. They discovered him and let him back in. Later on after letting Batson back in from the deck, the Lawings and some friends heard the  sound of the window breaking.
They later appealed to the Superior Court the Board's decision to deny their requests for variances from the ordinance including other claims such as charging property taxes on a condemned building.
Earlier this year they dismissed their case against the Town.
The Lawings filed an application seeking an amendment to the zoning ordinance that would permit the fireplace to remain and avoid the costly expense of having to remove the fireplace and modify the structure.
With very little discussion the Planning Commission voted to recommend Town Council adopt language amending the ordinance adding "fireplaces" as an architectural feature on corner lots that, "May extend twenty-four (24) inches into the 10' side setback."
The Town Council will consider the item at their July 21st, regular meeting following a public hearing.

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