The introduction of a proposed ordinance amendment to address certain outdoor landscape elements and patio amenities was approved on Monday, June 24, by the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees.
Andrea Bibby, deputy director of planning, building and ordinance for the township, said the intention of the amendment is to allow for some of the outdoor elements to be approved by the township without requiring residents to go before the zoning board of appeals (ZBA).
Currently, the zoning ordinance requires all landscape elements commonly associated with a patio, such as masonry landscape walls, piers, kitchenettes and gas fire pits, to receive approval from the ZBA. If structures are located in a rear yard and setback at least 16 feet from all lot lines, they require approval from the ZBA. If they don't meet the provisions, they require a variance in addition to special permission.
Bibby said the department looked at the past five years of ZBA requests, with such requests generally granted for those items under the required criteria. The proposed ordinance amendment would allow for some of the elements to be approved without ZBA approval.
Under the proposed ordinance amendment, the eased restrictions would apply to front and 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 setback, nor exceed four feet in height, and maintain a 16-foot setback from any side lot lines. Patios that meet the requirements in the rear or secondary front yard may also incorporate gas fire pits and kitchenettes; and illumination on structures that don't exceed an overall height of four feet.
The board approved the introduction of the ordinance amendment and the scheduling of a public hearing on Monday, July 22.