Mount Airy Bowling gets permission to expand Appeals board grants variance

March 09, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

The Mount Airy Board of Appeals last night approved a variance in yard setback requirements that will allow the owner of Mount Airy Bowling Lanes to expand his operation.

By a 5-0 vote, the board granted a variance to reduce side yard building setbacks from 25 feet to 14 feet. Town Planner Teresa Bamberger had recommended approval of the variance for the west property line of the bowling alley on Center Street.

At first, Chairman Robert Woodward expressed reservations about granting the variance because the change was being sought because of business concerns and not because of site problems.

"I fear that we are really bending the zoning appeals process," Mr. Woodward said.

Owner Joseph Rineer Jr. plans to add 12 tenpin lanes to his operation. He currently has 10 duckpin lanes.

Board members asked whether Mr. Rineer could scale down his plans to meet the setback requirements. He said that would not make the expansion economically worthwhile.

"I wouldn't build it for only 10 lanes," he said. "That's just the nature of the business."

The building addition was initially planned for the east side of the existing building. Last summer, Mr. Rineer sought and got approval for variances to reduce the amount of parking and reduce the rear yard setback from 25 to 10 feet. The latter required additional landscaping and fencing along the property line.

However, after consulting with a contractor, Mr. Rineer said he learned that would not be feasible because of grading problems.

He said he has talked to neighbors on the west side of his lot who would rather live next to a building rather than a parking lot. He said he also was concerned about late-night traffic in the lot.

"Neighbors were really happy to know a building might be there instead of a parking lot," he said.

The new plan uses the previously granted variances, reducing rear-yard setbacks and parking requirements, town officials said.

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