Greensboro doesn’t need any adjustments in November.
It sounds like good news.
The Greensboro Board of Adjustment is not meeting on Monday, Nov. 25 because of a lack of business, which is fairly unusual. It is far more common for the board not to meet for lack of a quorum.
It could be good news that people were not coming before the Board of Adjustment to get relief from some arcane or ridiculous zoning ordinance that a past City Council approved without reading.
What the lack of need for variances, special exceptions and appeals could mean is that some member of the Greensboro City Council was paying attention to the problems regular homeowners, who are incidentally taxpayers, were having and fixed them, so there was no need for regular folks trying to improve their homes to come before the Board of Adjustment.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. Two issues that frequently fill the Board Adjustment agenda have to do with the absurdly variable front setback for single-family homes and branching electrical service.
Branching electrical service is having a separate electric meter for an outbuilding. It’s not allowed in Greensboro because the city wants to discourage “granny flats,” which are free standing dwelling units, such as garage apartments on a single-family lot. Many cities are now encouraging granny flats, particularly cities with high student populations. Some day, Greensboro may see the wisdom of having a wider variety of housing options, but not yet. Homeowners who want to run a separate electrical line to an accessory building must pay $400 go to the Board of Adjustment and beg for a variance. The good news is that the Board of Adjustment almost always grants these variances.
Only people who have gone out and measured the front setback of the two houses on either side of their home know what their front set back actually is because it is the average of the front setbacks of those four houses.
Many people appear before the Board of Adjustment because they had no idea their house was out of compliance until they attempted to get a building permit. It doesn’t matter whose house was built first or what the law was when the houses were built.
The City Council did amend the ordinance in an attempt to ameliorate this particular problem and now the ordinance is so convoluted that those appearing before the Board of Adjustment argue about its meaning.
But the actual reason the Board of Adjustment doesn’t have a meeting in November is either because there aren’t many construction projects getting underway or, by some one in a million chance, the planned construction fell within the parameters of the current zoning laws.