By Maggie Kenworthy
WARSAW — Only one item was on the agenda during the Warsaw Board of Zoning Appeals meeting held Monday, April 26.
Taylor and Ann Seward requested a variance from development standards for the property located at 2118 Bluewater Drive. This request would allow an existing crawl space floor to remain at 6 inches below the base flood elevation.
City Planner Justin Taylor explained that the house was built in 2015, but the DNR conducted a scheduled Community Assistance Visit in 2020.
“During the CAV, the DNR flagged several properties that had apparent issues related to the city’s floodplain regulations. Of the five deficiencies noted by the DNR, the petitioner’s property is the last remaining issue to be resolved,” said Taylor. “Crawl space floors are permitted to be below the BFE per the city’s municipal code; however, the current code stipulates that one side of the house must have an exterior grade at or below the finished floor of the crawl space or the crawl space will be considered a basement.”
In order for the property to comply, the DNR recommended that the property owners fill in the crawl space. The Sewards sought bids to do this work and discovered the cost would be between $10,000 and $13,000. The board was provided with copies of the engineering report conducted by American Structurepoint.
“The exceptional nature of this case results from the incredible disruption filling the crawl space would create, with no demonstrable improvement to safety. According to the attached engineering report, filling in the crawl space is not only unnecessary to improve the flood performance of the structure but it could also be a detriment to the property,” said Taylor. “The Planning Department understands that the floodplain ordinance is vital to ensuring public safety as well as minimizing property damage from flood events, however, requiring a homeowner to undertake an unnecessary and potentially damaging action on their property is not in agreement with the intent of the floodplain ordinance.”
With those comments, Taylor recommended the board approve the variance.
Taylor Seward was present during the meeting to represent the request but no other public comments were made.
The board unanimously approved the request.