by Rachel Burton
We’ve all heard that a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Two of our recent projects proved the truth of that and showed how a lot of knowledge can go a long way toward saving the day. It can even lead to awards, as in the case of our Sullivan’s Island project on an unusually-shaped lot …
This first set of clients envisioned a pool beside their new home, overlooking the marshes. The lot was an unusual shape, with a ‘finger’ of land off one side. The clients came to me to maximize their enjoyment of this unique spot.
It wasn’t a shoo-in. Although we of course had a site survey done, the town used an earlier survey to create the site-specific zoning bylaws, so there were discrepancies. In addition, the default regulations under this site-specific zoning for this lot indicated the pool the owners wanted would not be possible.
Because the default zoning would not have accommodated the desired ground level pool, the Town Staff initially did not allow it. However, we researched it and applied our strategies, highlighting the intent of the law and showing how this project met that intent and was not in conflict with any other home within their zoning. We said, ‘We have this extra finger of land and we would like to use it.’
The Zoning Board of Appeal (BZA) said, ‘You are right, we agree with you and you can use it.’ We did and that project won the ArCHdes™ 2017 Award, an international residential architecture award for design excellence.