The Crossett City Council approved Monday a zoning variance request during this month’s regular meeting.

Public Works director Jeff Harrison said on Monday night that the Board of Adjustments had already denied the request for the variance, but since the rejection the resident had readjusted his plan. 

Mark Douglas of 1209 Beech Street was remodeling his home and closed in his carport to extend the size of his home. After that, he then began construction of a carport. 

The carport, however, was going to be in violation of city ordinance by being too close to the roadway. Douglas said that he was aware of ordinance and building codes, but was given misinformation leading him to think the project was okay.

“What it is, I got some bad information from a friend who I thought knew,” Douglas said. 

He also said that he and some of the people working with him looked at other structures and that houses nearby had similar buildings, fences, or landscaping that close to the road.

Once Harrison contacted him, he went through all the proper channels to get the construction approved. City ordinance, however, states that structures have to be more than 30 feet from the curb. His carport was only six feet away. Harrison said that any structures that are in violation were built before the ordinance went into effect and were grandfathered in years ago. 

Harrison said his office hosted a public hearing and went before the Board of Adjustments to ask that an exception be made, but the request was denied.

Richard Welch with the Board of Adjustments said they had to reject it in an effort to follow the guidelines they are given. Structures can obstruct views and hinder drivers if they are not built far enough off the road. 

After being denied by the Board of Adjustments, Douglas re-evaluated his project and found a way to get the carport 21 feet off of the road.

“I already have $3,000 into this project. I’ve cut down trees, we’ve gotten done a lot of work,” Douglas said. 

Douglas presented the council with photos of his project and asked them to consider making his property an exception. 

Councilman Chris Gill asked Welch if he believed the Board of Adjustments would have denied the variance if the project had been 21 feet from the street, at is in the new proposal. Welch said he believed they would. 

Welch and Harrison both said that they didn’t see any issues that the structure would cause as far as impeding drivers or hindering the city workers or city utilities in any way.

After discussion, Gill made a motion to approve the variance request and it was adopted unanimously. 

City Attorney James Hamilton will draft an ordinance to that effect and present it to the council at the next council meeting.

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