BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING
JANUARY 17, 2012
7:00 P.M.


I CALL MEETING TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.


II ROLL CALL

Members Present: Lawrence Hawkins III, Ed Knox, Joe Ramirez,
William Reichert, Robert Weidlich, Jane Huber

Members Absent: Carolyn Ghantous

Others Present: Randy Campion, Building Inspector

   
III PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE


IV MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF DECEMBER 20, 2011

(Mr. Hawkins made a motion to adopt the December 20, 2011 Board of Zoning Appeals minutes; Mr. Knox seconded the motion and with six affirmative votes from the Members present, those minutes were approved.)


V CORRESPONDENCE

(No correspondence presented at this meeting.)


VI REPORT ON COUNCIL
   
(Mr. Hawkins presented a summary report of the January 4th, 2012 Springdale City Council meeting.)
   

VII REPORT ON PLANNING COMMISSION

(No report presented at this meeting for Planning Commission.)


VIII CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT AND SWEARING IN OF APPLICANTS


IX OLD BUSINESS

(No Old Business presented at this meeting.)
   

X NEW BUSINESS

A. Chairman Weidlich: The owner of 11831 Ramsdale Court has applied for a variance to leave an air conditioner unit 3’ – 4” from the side property line. Said variance is from Section 153.488(H) “Any wall bracket or ground supported air conditioning unit may be located in the side yard if it is no closer than 7’ from the side lot line.”

Mr. Ike Kauffman: I live at 11831 Ramsdale Court. I moved into the house in 1961 and I have been there for fifty years and in all that time we have never had air conditioning (central) only window air conditioners. This year we decided to get a new furnace and air conditioner for the house. The organization that we contracted to do the work got the building permit and everything was going fine. They installed a new furnace and air conditioning unit and they put it on the north side of the house. We found out after the inspector was there that it is in violation. Between the two houses on my north wall to their south wall is only 16’-2”. The air conditioner is 56” out from the brick wall; that allows a little space for working on the back side of the air conditioning unit. It is the only place on our property that is, as far as I am concerned, a place to put the air conditioner. It is on the same end of the house that the electric is on. I am asking for a variance to leave it there; knowing that if a variance is allowed that we have to cover it up in some way from the street.

(At this time Mr. Campion read the Staff comments.)

Chairman Weidlich: We will move on to communication from the pubic; is there anyone in the audience who would like to speak on behalf of this variance request?

(Mr. Thomas Flynn came forward and was sworn in by Chairman Weidlich.)

Mr. Flynn: I live at 11828 Rams dale Court; we live across from Mr. and
Mrs. Kauffman. I live with my mother who has been there since 1959 and I really can’t see any problem whatsoever why the air conditioner shouldn’t stay where it is at. I appreciate your time for letting me speak.

Ms. Christine Runge: I live on Smiley Avenue. My father and my mother do not have a very large back yard because they have a patio and deck back there; to put the air conditioner in the back yard would take up what little space we have if we have picnics or just a family gathering. On the side of the house they would put up some kind of nice screen from it. They have a very nice landscaped yard. I don’t see why it couldn’t stay there.

Ms. Katherine Kauffman: I live at the residence and the air conditioner is right outside my bedroom window and I don’t see a problem with it there. In one of the statements made, they said to move it right around the corner and at that point we have a fence with a gate. If it is right around the corner it will be sitting on a deck that we grill on and have picnics on, so that is not going to work.

(No one else came forward from the audience to speak and the public portion of the hearing was closed at this time.)

Mrs. Huber: I move to grant a variance from Section 153.488(H) so as to allow an air conditioning unit to be located 3’-4” from a side lot line on property located at 11831 Rams dale Court. I would add that the unit, as it stands now, should be properly screened from the street.
(Mr. Ramirez seconded the motion.)

Mr. Reichert: What is the distance from the side of the house to the edge of the property?

Mr. Campion: It is probably 8’ from the house to the property line.

Mr. Kauffman: That would be at the center line between the two houses.

Mr. Knox: When the new unit was put in place was the pad that it was located on expanded in any way?

Mr. Kauffman: There was no pad; we never had air conditioning before, only window units. They put the pad in because it was a new installation.

Mr. Knox: Did you get an estimate of how much it would cost to move it to some other location?

Mr. Kauffman: No. If you look at the plot plan on the south side we have a sidewalk going all the way back and behind, on the west side, we have flower beds. We have a wood deck on the south side and the air conditioner is on the north side. As you can see from the plot plan right around the corner it would be sitting on a deck which is not conducive for that unit to sit there because it is a big unit and the overhang from the roof would be right down close to the top of the unit and it wouldn’t let the unit work properly.

Mr. Knox: So, essentially there is no other place it can go.

Mr. Hawkins: On the other side on the back of the house, you indicated that you have flower beds; how far out from the house do the flower beds go?

Mr. Kauffman: About two feet.

Mr. Hawkins: Is it possible to move it over to the backside and maybe but it up against the fenced-in porch where that flower bed would start? You would give up two feet of flower bed to be able to put that pad in there to be in conformity with the Code?

Mr. Kauffman: On the side where the flower beds are, on the back side, there is another gate coming out of the back area; that would put it right where the gate is that goes around the outside of the backyard. There are two gates, one on each side.

Mr. Hawkins: It appears that the gate is not flush up against the house; we are talking maybe two feet out or so.

Mr. Kauffman: No, sir. It is right up to the house.

(At this time Mr. Hawkins presented the Staff aerial photo of Mr. Kauffman’s property to the applicant.)

Mr. Hawkins: That looks like there is about two or three feet from the house?

Ms. Christine Runge: There is landscaping and a shed.

Mr. Hawkins: But that gate is not flush to the house; it is two feet out from the house.

Mr. Kauffman: It is less than two feet.

Ms. Christine Runge: The patio door opens right up to that.

Mr. Hawkins: It would appear that there probably could be space in there to put the unit behind.

Ms. Christine Runge: Do you mean on the outside of the patio.

Mr. Hawkins: From the map that Staff has given us it looks like there is some room in there, that I understand Mr. Kauffman said is flower bed, that goes across there; and if you did that it shouldn’t impede on the use of the deck.

Ms. Katherine Kauffman: Are you talking about right outside the gate? There is a window right there. You would open the gate right up onto the unit.

Mr. Hawkins: From the map that we have been given by Staff, it looks like there is still some room in there; if not, I would also say looking at the corner at the back of the house on the opposite side where the patio is you would have to give up some flower bed but it seems like there could be space to put it in there. I know there is no easy way to maintain what you have in the backyard right now.

Mr. Kauffman: We have two windows at the back; one coming out of the backyard and one close, about three to four feet from the end of the house.

Mr. Hawkins: And I would assume that this would be mounted on the ground as it is on the side right now, so it wouldn’t have to necessarily have to impact or be directly attached to the structure; if it is mounted on the ground there wouldn’t be necessarily an impact with regard to the windows that are back there in terms of obstructing view.

Ms. Katherine Kauffman: The permit was given, so I don’t understand why the permit was given to put it there and now we are told it can’t be there. The backyard is not a very big space and to have that unit sitting right there will take away space for us to have activities back there or family time back there.

Mr. Hawkins: And I couldn’t speak to that but Staff may be able to. I understand that you have gone all these years without air conditioning and it is a great thing to have, but the concern I have is if we grant a variance it is not just for you it is for the property in perpetuity, forever and we would also be setting a precedent with regard to do it on the side. But, I think some of the policy from City Council when they did this years ago was in regard to noise, screening and keeping these things in the backside; I am just saying that is probably where they were coming from. And so, there are some legitimate concerns with regard to where it is located right now.

Mr. Reichert: I asked a question about how far it was from the property line; you can’t put that 7’ away and be on your property so you would have to have a variance. Also, with the Building Department and the person making the motion to have it blocked from the front view, have you given any thought on what you might do to block it?

Mr. Kauffman: Yes; Lowe’s has vinyl fence and we figured putting a section in the front.

Mr. Reichert: Have you given any thought to something green, like an evergreen tree?

Ms. Katherine Kauffman: I don’t want anything that has to be maintained. If we bought bushes it would take ten years for them to get high enough to block that thing. We were talking about putting a lattice panel of white vinyl in the front and landscape around it. It is on a hill and whatever we do will be close to the property line.

Mr. Reichert: The other alternative is putting it in the rear and you said you have not gotten an estimate. There is no bearing on what the cost might be to conform to the code, so that should have no bearing on our decision. The way I understand, the permit was for the furnace and then it was additionally decided to add on an air conditioner?

Mr. Campion: I am looking at the application and this is the only thing we go off of and this is what your contractor wrote: “Remove old HVAC and replace with new and remove old water heater and replace with new”. It is assumed from this application that you had an existing condensing unit.

Mr. Kauffman: That is incorrect.

Mr. Campion: I am just saying that is what is on the application. There is no site plan; and the permit says that is for a residential furnace and a/c replacement. It says “Replace existing furnace and a/c unit. A separate electrical permit is required.” Until the Inspector went out there we were under the assumption that you were replacing your air conditioning unit.

Ms. Katherine Kauffman: Mr. Hawkins, the air conditioner sits about a foot and a half away from the house, which is going to impede that gate from opening.

Mr. Kauffman: You have to be able to get all the way around it to work on it, if maintenance is required; so the space to the house out to the unit has to be maintained.

Mr. Hawkins: I understand what you are saying. I think you could still go over to the opposite end of the house from where the fenced in deck is. I know you would have to give up flower bed space but it would appear that there would be room to do that.

Ms. Katherine Kauffman: At the other end of the house, sixty feet away from the furnace; how efficient would that be?

Mr. Hawkins: I couldn’t speak to that.

Ms. Katherine Kauffman: Concerning the noise problem on that side of the house, there is a two car garage right next door.

Mr. Hawkins: You have to understand that when we do a variance it is forever.

Chairman Weidlich: If no one else has any questions for the applicant, we will move to deliberations and discussion with the Board. (There were no further deliberations or discussions.)
Is there any motion to amend?

Mr. Reichert: I would like to have an amendment with some kind of screening that is approved by the Building Department, rather than this Board saying it has to be a tree or a fence. I am happy to support this variance within the guidelines of the side, as long as it is blocked, to shield it from the street.
(Mr. Hawkins seconded the motion to amend.)

Chairman Weidlich: I believe that is in the motion.

Mrs. Huber: Yes, to be properly screened.

Mr. Campion: Under the Section with air conditioning units, it addresses screening: “Such screening shall consist of landscaping, fencing or other types of structures and in all cases must be consistent with the aesthetics and the design of the residence in the neighborhood.

Mr. Reichert: Seeing that is already mentioned in the motion to have it block, I will withdraw the motion to amend.
Mr. Hawkins: And I will withdraw my second.

(Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members present and with 5 “aye” votes and 1 “no” vote, one member being absent, the variance for
11831 Ramsdale Court was approved.)

Ms. Christine Runge: Do we need to get landscaping approved; or anything?

Chairman Weidlich: Well, like Mr. Campion just said that is already in the Code, that it must be something compatible with the home, a fence or vegetation.

Mr. Kauffman: So, we don’t need a permit to get that done?

Mr. Campion: No, we can make that part of your permit. I was going to say that the Board probably should have put a condition for the screening.

Chairman Weidlich: Mrs. Huber put it in the original motion.

B. Chairman Weidlich: The owner of 11976 Tavel Court has applied for a variance to allow a utility building to remain 0 feet from the side lot line. Section 153.097(B)(4) “All other structures must not be less than 5’ from the rear or side lot lines”

Mr. Daryl Schottmiller: I live at 5060 East Kemper Road. When I bought the lot there was already an existing concrete slab, a 12’ X 12’ already there. My neighbor, Tom who has been there for 28 years said there was a shed there that blew away. I figured it would be no problem to put another one there; when I called they said that it had to be 5’ from the property line. I moved it over on the concrete slab 2 ’ thinking that my fence line was the property line. I thought I as in good shape until the inspector came out and said that it is on the property line. I don’t know what else I could have done other than have the land surveyed.

(At this time Mr. Campion read the Staff comments.)

Chairman Weidlich: We will move on to communications from the public; we have a letter from the neighbor, Mr. Thomas Vanover. I will read the letter:
“Dear Mr. Chairman, please let it be known as a neighboring property owner, I have no negative opinions of the requested zoning variance. As the existing shed now sits next to our shared property line it presents no hardship for me, in fact the improvements that have been made to the property are very much appreciated.
Thank you for your time in allowing my opinion to be heard.” And the letter is signed Thomas Vanover.

(No one from the audience came forward to speak and the public portion of the hearing was closed at this time.)

Mrs. Huber: I move to grant a variance from Section 153.097(B)(4) so as to allow a utility building to be located 0’ from the side lot line on property located at
11976 Tavel Court. The Section of the Code says that all other structures must not be less than 5’ from any rear or side lot line.”
(Mr. Knox seconded the motion.)

Mr. Knox: You put a 10’ X 10’ shed on a 12’ X 12’ concrete slab; so you were able to utilize the existing slab. If you had to move it further over, what is the topography there, does it drop off?

Mr. Schottmiller: Yes, it drops off and the way the land runs the water that comes from the Golf Course is going to get close to where I would have to put a foundation in, otherwise I am afraid it would slide down. When we built it we put the treated 4 X 4’s on the concrete and thought we were 5’ away; we drilled it down so that it wouldn’t blow away like the aluminum.

Mr. Reichert: Is the property closest to this Mr. Vanover’s property?

Mr. Schottmiller: His fence is actually my fence.

Mr. Reichert: And it is on his property?

Mr. Schottmiller: That is what they are telling me. It was news to me when I got the letter and he had been there 28 years.

Mr. Reichert: And you thought the fence on the left hand side, as you face your shed, you moved it over so that it would be 5’ away from my fence.

Mr. Schottmiller: Yes, my fence; and Tom didn’t say anything and he has been there forever. That is why I moved it 2 ’ to give us the 5’ requested. There are no other houses because that is field back up to the highway and then there is a creek.

Chairman Weidlich: I went and looked at the County Auditor’s site for this property and it looks like what the City is showing, with the red line, it looks like the original fence was set to go around a shed there. If you look at the picture that shows the concrete slab there it looks like it is right on the property line and the fence was pushed out to go around it so the original shed must have been over the property line actually.

Mr. Schottmiller: The original one could have been but all I had when I bought it was the concrete slab and there is still probably another foot or two from the concrete slab to the fence.

Chairman Weidlich: Did you obtain this property as a rental property?

Mr. Schottmiller: It is a rental, right now.

Chairman Weidlich: Did you replace some sections of the fence with newer sections?

Mr. Schottmiller: Yes, because it was rotten. We used the same post holes as the old one.

Chairman Weidlich: If the Board should say that the shed should be moved, this is on 4 X 4 treated wood; then you could put blocks out in the yard if you had to move it.

    Mr. Schottmiller: It will be higher than what they recommend; it is going to be out to where that swale comes down.

    Chairman Weidlich: Any variance stays with this property forever, so that anybody purchasing it after you would have the legal right to put a shed right on the property line.

    Mr. Reichert: You maintain that it is your fence on his property?

    Mr. Schottmiller: Yes.

Mr. Reichert: On what side of that fence are the posts; are they on your side or are they on Mr. Vanover’s?

Mr. Schottmiller: They are on Mr. Vanover’s side; all of them are that way all the way around the house.

Mr. Reichert: The Code says that the posts have to be on the inside of the property, not on the outside. If it is your fence, it is supposed to be on your side.

Mr. Hawkins: I understand that you have a concrete slab there and you have some things already set up to make it easier to have the shed there but what prevents you from moving it across to the other side of the yard?

Mr. Schottmiller: Other than tearing it all back down; because there is no way to move that thing, it is quite heavy.

Mr. Hawkins: How many feet from the property line do you think you have to go before you feel like there is firmer ground?

Mr. Schottmiller: I would say we are there right now; if we go any further than that it will be in that gully thing and my bricks are going to sink.

Mr. Hawkins: If you move past that soft space, how many feet are we talking about?

Mr. Schottmiller: We would have to move it quite a bit forward, or way back.

Chairman Weidlich: From what I see here I don’t think I will be supporting this application because of it being right on the property line, appearing like the fence was put around the previous shed.

(With no further discussion from the Board, Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members and with 3 “aye” votes and 3 “no” votes the request for variance was denied.)

Mr. Schottmiller: We live in Sharonville and I did have a shed put in my yard. Just a suggestion, when I applied for it Sharonville had me stake it out and then they came by and o.k’d it. If we would have done this, I probably wouldn’t be having this problem.

Chairman Weidlich: There are two Building Department officials here tonight so they just heard your comments so I am sure they will consider it.

Mr. Schottmiller: So do we have until spring or so when the ground gets warmer?

Chairman Weidlich: Just call the Building Department and see what you can work out with them.


XI DISCUSSION

    (No discussion presented at this meeting)

.
XII ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Knox moved to adjourn, Mr. Hawkins seconded the motion and the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

________________________,2012 ___________________________________
            Chairman Robert Weidlich



________________________,2012 ___________________________________
            Secretary Jane Huber