On Jan. 20, 10 a.m., the Norfolk Board of Zoning Appeals is scheduled to hear an appeal by Christ and St. Luke’s church from a previous decision by the city’s zoning administrator and a request for a variance of the city’s ordinance. The meeting will be held in the City Council chambers o n the 11th floor of the City Hall building.
The appeal and the scheduled board hearing are the most recent developments in the church’s plan to demolish two buildings in Ghent’s historic district and to replace them with a massive modern structure (please see previous Web site entries).
According to the board’s agenda (the church appeal is its third item), the church asked for “an appeal from the decision of the Zoning Administrator, and for a variance from the refulations of the Zoning Ordinance to permit the expansion of a non-conforming structure exceeding the 10% limit in violation of Section 12-3 (c) (2) and resulting in the reduction below acceptable levels in the lot coverage ratio in violation of Section 12-3 (c) (3), and without complying with the maximum lot coverage in violation of Section 9-1.9 of the Zoning Ordinance; premises numbered 560 West Olney Road, and zoned HC-G2 (Ghent Historic and Cultural Conservation) district.”
According to the City of Norfolk’s Web site, the Board of Zoning Appeals, whose members are appointed by the Norfolk Circuit Court, is empowered to grant appeals o nly if the following conditions are found to exist:
“a. That the strict application of the ordinance would produce undue hardship that would effectively prohibit or unreasonably restrict the utilization of the property when a property owner can show that the property was acquired in good faith and where by reason of the exceptional narrowness; shallowness; size or shape of a specific piece of property at the time of the effective date of the ordinance; or where by reason of exceptional topographic conditions or other extraordinary situation or condition of such a piece of property, or of the condition situation or development of property immediately adjacent hereto, would produce undue hardship. The Board is NOT empowered to grant appeals sought by an applicant for SPECIAL PRIVILEGES OR CONVENIENCE.”
“c. “Error or interpretation of the Zoning Ordinance by the Zoning Administrator.”