RPB Council Grants Pergola Builder Variance For Reduced Side Setback

The Royal Palm Beach Village Council.

The Royal Palm Beach Village Council on Thursday, Feb. 17 granted a variance to Herbert Danowit of Ponderosa Court to allow a reduced side setback of 8.5 feet for an existing pergola where village code requires 15 feet.

Planning & Zoning Director Bradford O’Brien said the applicant is requesting the placement of an existing 12-foot-by-24-foot pergola. He said a required notice was sent to 12 residents within a 300-foot radius.

“The village has not received any responses either supporting or objecting to the application,” O’Brien said. “The applicant asserts, ‘That is the only space in my yard where I could have built the pergola to enjoy my backyard with family members.’”

The pergola is not considered injurious to neighborhood or public welfare, O’Brien said, adding that village code allows the village to grant variances to the code when circumstances exist that do not result from the actions of the applicant, confer any special privileges to the applicant or deprive any rights commonly enjoyed by other properties.

The application was considered by the Planning & Zoning Commission on Jan. 5, which recommended approval by a vote of 4-1.

O’Brien said village staff does not recommend approval of the variance because staff does not believe any special circumstances exist, and the conditions are the direct result of the actions of the applicant. However, he noted that the property is on a corner lot and the pergola is adjacent to a roadway and not a neighbor.

Mayor Fred Pinto asked who built the pergola, and Danowit said he built it himself. Councilwoman Selena Samios asked if the structure passed code, and Village Attorney Amity Barnard said Danowit was cited by code enforcement for the pergola being there without a permit.

“A permit has not been granted because a variance has not been granted because of the location in the setback,” Barnard said.

Pinto said the setback is against the street, which he felt explains why the village did not receive any input from neighbors.

Vice Mayor Richard Valuntas made a motion to approve the variance, which carried 5-0.

In other business, the council postponed a discussion with Evans Land Consulting, representing the developer of Tuttle Royale, to the March 17 council meeting.

The proposal is for an application for final approval of a 156-acre parcel of land on the south side of Southern Blvd. about a quarter mile west of State Road 7. The land being platted lies within zoning districts that allow multi-family, single-family, commercial and public park uses.

Village Manager Ray Liggins said the proposal did not get certification at a Feb. 3 technical staff review meeting, and village staff sought the postponement.

Samios made a motion to postpone the item to the March 17 council meeting, which carried 5-0.