A request by a homeowner on Groveland for a zoning variance to build a porch has sparked a reconsideration of porch setback requirements in the Groveland/Lincoln/Kimbark area.
The homeowner had requested a variance to build a deck that would encroach five feet into the street yard of the home on Groveland.
According to village planner Ann Cyran, the board had no choice but to deny the homeowner’s request in their April 6 ruling. She said that current zoning standards limit how much a new porch can encroach on the street yard, the area between a home and the sidewalk.
“They had to deny the variance,” she said. “There’s nothing unusual about this house and there has to be in order to get a variance.”
The decision prompted the planning and zoning commission to consider a change to the zoning in the area of Groveland/Lincoln/Kimbark and East Quincy Street and East Burlington Street to allow porches to encroach on the street yard. Staff surveyed homes in the area and reviewed standards for decks, porches, stairs and stoops in other communities, including La Grange Park, Brookfield, Clarendon Hills, Glen Ellyn and Western Springs.
Cyran notes that the amendment would be limited to the R3 zoning district. Although this district covers four areas of the village, only two of those areas contain the single-family and two-family homes that would be affected by the amendment. It would apply to about 27 homes, and of these, 19 houses could have a 6-foot-deep porch that they could not have had before.
“This is a small win for the homeowners,” she said. “We always start with the assumption, ‘how can we make this happen for you?’ We’re hoping that people take advantage of this.”
“Porches are great for the community.”
The planning and zoning commission will consider the amendment at its Oct. 25 meeting, at which members of the public are welcome to speak. The commission will then make a recommendation to the village board, which could consider the issue at its Nov. 16 meeting.
Cyran said that anyone looking to add a porch onto their home would need to go through the permit process anyway, so if this amendment is passed, residents are welcome to call her office and seek her guidance for how large a porch can be built on a specific property. She said that the village is guided by WPA maps from the 1930’s that show setbacks for each property and each property has unique characteristics that will be considered.
While the owner of the Groveland house is the first homeowner to request to build a porch in the area covered by the possible amendment, Cyran said that the planning and zoning commission is happy to hear from more homeowners.