Wilmette Trustees: Lot too Small for Big House
The Village of Wilmette rejected zoning variances for a proposed house at 400 8th St.
The majority of Wilmette trustees rejected a request for zoning variances to build a new house at 400 8th St., saying the proposed structure is too large for the small lot.
Trustee Mike Basil was the sole vote in favor of the zoning variances. Trustee Cameron Krueger was not present at the May 22 meeting.
Richard Trojan made the requests so he could build a home with a lot coverage of 1,549-square-feet on the property, located in the village’s R1-district for single family detached residences. The zoning ordinance limits the lot coverage to 1,430 square-feet.
Trojan also proposed the home would have total floor area of 2,652 square-feet, a variance was also needed because the zoning ordinance limits total floor area to 2,369 square-feet.
Nearby residents against proposed home
Several residents who live near the property say the proposed home would negatively alter the character of the neighborhood.
“I have quite the contrary view to many of the neighbors that this will negatively alter the character of the neighborhood,” Basil said. “I think an improved home there—the home that’s proposed in particular—will have great value. It will have substantially more value than what’s there now and it will tend to enhance the value of the neighborhood.”
Some residents say the house is too large for the small lot, could block light and is seeking too many zoning variances. Others said they had issues with the proposed garage location because it could affect air quality.
Trustees said some of the proposed zoning variances were understandable and reasonable, but the proposed design with its floor area ratio and lot coverage is still not the best solution for the lot.
“There’s been talk about 11 variances, but you really have to discount some of those because they just plain make sense," said Trustee Alan Swanson during the meeting. "So what you really get down to is whether or not this house as proposed as designed is okay in terms of its lot coverage and its size, and that’s the point at which I have a bit of a problem with it because I do think it is a little bit too big."
Design needs to meet floor area ratio, lot coverage requirements
Swanson said since it is a new construction the design of the house should be able to meet the floor area ratio and lot coverage required by the ordinance.
“I think by reducing the footprint a little bit smaller, you reduce the (floor area ratio) and you get the coverage back in line,” Swanson said.
Trustee Julie Wolf agreed.
“I think it’s a step forward to want to do a nice new house,” Wolf said. “At the same time I have real issues with the floor area ratio. It’s one of these unusual spaces. It’s a tiny lot and I think that’s just an awful lot of house on it.”
President Christopher Canning says there will be a new house on the property at some point. “This proposal, however, I don’t believe meets the standards of review.”