Chase Variance Deferred until June 13

On Wednesday, May 9th, Chase Bank’s request for variances on the Hastings property was deferred for decision until the June 13th meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals.  BZA member Rebecca Chase Williams, not present at the May meeting, requested a deferral  in absentia so she could participate in the decision.  The DeKalb Planning Department recommended “denial” and the BPCA, represented by attorney Linda Dunlavy along with 370 petition signatures and 15 supporters in person, urged the Board to affirm the Planning Department’s recommendation.

Several neighbors from directly behind the Hastings property also attended the hearing to show support for Chase’s variances.  Their thinking was that Chase’s planned development would have a fairly benign impact on their homes, while a higher-density development allowable under the Overlay zoning code could potentially bring more noise or a taller building to the site.

The central issue continues to be moving the proposed building up to the street to create the proper building-pedestrian zone-street relationship envisioned in the Overlay.  Chase’s attorney maintains that the property owner, SDS Real Property Holdings LTD of Miami, FL, (Chase would have a long-term land lease with them) cannot relocate the exit driveway easement that they put on the property. The easement currently serves Kauffman Tire Co., according to Chase’s attorney, and cannot be changed without Kauffman’s permission.  If it could be changed, Chase would have no objection to moving their planned building up to the street in a classic “main street” relationship.

The BPCA maintains that the owner imposed the easement (“created his own hardship”) and should have the ability to alter it (“remove the hardship”).  In the end, the BZA directed Chase’s attorney to obtain a copy of the Kauffman lease and make it available for inspection.  “We can’t make a decision based on a hypothetical reading of a document that we don’t have,” a BZA member stated.

In addition, the BZA asked that the various neighborhood groups meet and try to resolve their different views of the Chase proposal before the June 13 hearing.


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