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Accessory and Portable Buildings

 Public Hearings Portable and Accessory Buildings / Placement in Set-Backs

 
For approximately 20 months, the Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Commission and City Council has been considering amendments to our City Ordinances that address portable and accessory buildings (e.g. storage sheds or secondary buildings) on residential properties.  A number of the original amendments and substitute amendments have met with concerns.  Two public hearings are scheduled and your feedback is important to the City. 
 
Planning & Zoning Public Hearing          - June 7th @ 6:30 pm 
City Council Public Hearing                      - June 26th @ 6:30 pm 
 
Questions being considered include:
 
-       Should portable buildings taller than 8 feet and up to 350 square feet in size be allowed 5 feet from your property line? 
-       What should be the allowable size of portable / accessory buildings? 
-       What should the construction requirements for accessory buildings? 
-       How many portable / accessory buildings should be authorized on a property?
  
The Planning & Zoning Commission is working to balance restrictions placed on individual property owners with the concerns of their neighbors.  Frequently, residents protest when a neighbor places a tall building close to their property line or when a neighbor has too many buildings on their property.  However, a number of residents also protest that they are prohibited from placing the buildings they want and where they want them on their private property.  In addition to the height, size and number of portable / accessory buildings, there is the question of what these buildings should be constructed of. Many cities require permanent accessory buildings to be constructed using a percentage of masonry material.  The Planning & Zoning Commission is considering this masonry option.  Supporters of masonry requirements argue that this will improve the quality of the buildings, create a nicer neighborhood and raise property values.  Opponents of masonry requirements state that there are metal and other construction materials that are high quality and compatible with the nice neighborhoods of Shavano Park. 
 
The challenge in drafting the ordinance is that all positions have merit. Planning & Zoning could consider abandoning the “one size fits all” strategy and instead using the “Special Exceptions” process with the Zoning Board of Adjustment to allow neighbors to discuss the merit of a particular proposed structure among themselves in a structured and open setting. The special exceptions option means the original regulations are fairly restrictive, but allow for “Special Exceptions” for reasonable requests that meet specific conditions. Special Exceptions are similar to a variance, in that they are considered by the Board of Adjustment on a case by case basis, but have less restrictions for consideration.  
 

To fully review the proposals, take a look at the Key documents to the right.

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