You may be wondering the status of the house as of late. We had to sort of take a short break and take the time to proceed through the variance process…which we were finally APPROVED for on Tuesday…after being continued for an extra month from September to October (due to requests from neighbors). This is quite exciting and really was a major hurdle we had to leap to take one step closer to construction!
For those of you who may not be familiar with the variance process, a variance is essentially asking the city to make an exception to the zoning code. In the case of 955 Hosbrook, a number of variances were essentially required in order to develop the property.
The current zoning code for the city was last updated in the 1960s, a time when society was in the midst of suburbanization and the automobile dominated culture. As a result, much of the zoning ordinances reflect this ideology. This means that the code is written with much more of a suburban mindset, often making it difficult to develop on small, urban infill lots…which is a really unfortunate side-effect of the zoning code.
The city, however, is very aware of this situation and is the process of re-writing much of the zoning code, in an effort know as Indy Rezone. This is definitely reassuring and I hope to see many of these issues addressed when the results of this effort are revealed.
As mentioned, the size of 955 Hosbrook essentially necessitated variances in order to be developed. Here is a quick breakdown of the variances that were required:
- Square Footage: The code specifies a specific first floor square footage minimum and this house does not meet that requirement. The house is 625 sf on the first floor and the requirement is 660 sf (not far off though).
- Parking: The code requires 2 parking spaces per single-family residence. This becomes extremely difficult on a 20′ lot, and the proposed design calls for a single car garage.
- Open Space: A minimum of 55% open space is required. The proposed design has a net area of 43% open space.
- Setbacks: The code has specific requirements for setbacks from the property lines, with the sides being a minimum of 4′ (10′ aggregate), rear being 15′ for the primary structure, and the front setback being 25′ or dictated by average setback along the surrounding block. This proved to be the most contentious variance request with the surrounding neighbors. However, the house design simply took cues from the surrounding neighborhood, with many homes exhibiting the proposed setbacks the house design was seeking. In fact, the scale of the house will fit in better with the neighborhood with the variances than it would have without these, making it an argument of context. As a result, the staff gave full support to all of the requested variances.
So, now that we’ve cleared this hurdle, we can focus on the completion of documents, pricing, and starting construction. We hope to begin construction before winter really sets in. Stay tuned…we are getting closer and closer!