An ordinance amendment proposed in Bloomfield Township would ease requirements for homeowners planning to install outdoor patio upgrades, such as masonry walls, outdoor kitchenettes and gas fire pits.
Under the township's current zoning ordinance, all landscape elements associated with a patio or uncovered terraces must be approved by the township's zoning board of appeals (ZBA). All such structures must be at least 16 feet from all lot lines, or acquire a variance from the ZBA, in addition to permission approval, according to Bloomfield Township Deputy Director of Planning, Building and Ordinances Andrea Bibby.
“In a review of the past five years, the zoning board of appeals has generally granted approval in both permission request cases and variance cases for these items under certain criteria,” Bibby said in a memo. “To establish the conditions by which such landscape elements may be permitted by right in certain circumstances, the proposed amendments identify the necessary planning criteria addressing: location, setbacks, visual impact and recent approvals.”
The proposed ordinance amendment would modify the general exception section of the ordinance to: permit patios located in the rear, front or secondary front yard to project into the required yard for a distance not to exceed 10 feet or no more than 25 percent of the required setback, and may incorporate landscape walls and piers, not to exceed an overall height of four feet, and must maintain the minimum 16-foot setback from any side lot lines; patios that meet the requirements and are located in the rear or secondary front yard may also incorporate gas fire pits and kitchenettes; and illumination on structures is permitted but can't exceed an overall height of four feet, including the height of fixtures.
The planning commission will hold a public hearing at its March 18 meeting to discuss the proposed ordinance amendment.