18 APRIL 2000

7:00 P.M.



  2. The meeting was called to order at 6:59 p.m. by Acting Chairman Frederick Borden

  4. Members Present: Councilman Robert Wilson, Jane Huber, Robert Weidlich, Councilman James Squires, Robert Apke and Frederick Borden

    Members Absent: David Okum

    Others Present: Richard Lohbeck, Inspection Supervisor

  6. Mr. Squires moved for adoption and Mr. Apke seconded the motion. By voice vote, all present voted aye, and the Minutes were adopted with six affirmative votes.

    1. Zoning Bulletin Ė March 10, 2000
    2. Zoning Bulletin Ė March 25, 2000
    3. Planning Commission Minutes Ė March 14, 2000
    4. 3/22/00 Letter to Michael Murdock Ė 12172 Greencastle Drive
    5. 3/22/00 Letter to Stanley Hoffman, 12033 Marwood Lane


    1. Report on Council Activities Ė James Squires

Mr. Squires reported that Ordinance 18-2000 to prohibit the parking of non-motorized or self-propelled vehicles in the public right of way unless they are attached to their tow vehicle. Concerning the pay raise that was given councilmembers, they also wanted to consider one for BZA members but that is still in committee. Ordinance 25-2000 concerns the location of sexually oriented businesses. We canít keep these people out but we can regulate where they go and the distances between them and other businesses has been redrawn. It was 450 feet and is now 800 feet, within schools and businesses containing liquor permits, and the City feels it can go to 1,000 feet. This had the first reading.

The Finance Committee recommended that a board or commission member that has missed two regular scheduled meetings in a calendar year may not be paid their monthly compensation for those months where additional regular scheduled meetings are missed during the remainder of that calendar year. That was Ordinance 27-2000 modifying the compensation of boards and commissions. They felt two absences were allowable, but anything more than that you are subject to losing your monthly compensation.

B. Report on Planning Commission Ė none








18 APRIL 2000


    1. A variance once granted will be referred back to the Board of Zoning Appeals if after the expiration of six months no construction is done in accordance with the terms and conditions of the variance.

If a variance appeal is denied, the applicant may resubmit the appeal six months after the denial.

B. Chairmanís Statement

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a Public Hearing, and all testimony given in cases pending before this board is to be made part of the public record. As such each citizen testifying before this board is directed to sign in, take his place at the podium, and state his name, address and the nature of the variance. Be advised that all testimony and discussion relative to said variance is recorded. It is from this recording that our minutes are taken.


    1. Revocation of Variance 8-1999 to Construct a 12í x 16í Shed in Rear Yard Ė Michael Murdock Ė 12172 Greencastle Drive

Mr. Murdock said I want to put a 12í x 16í shed in the rear of my yard. It was approved by the board, but I have not been able to get that up in the six-month period, and I would like to have an extension on the variance.

Mr. Wilson wondered if he had any idea of when he would be able to start construction, and how long it would take for it to be completed. Mr. Murdock stated with the weather breaking and the change of hours at work and my aunt being in a nursing home, I would like to be able to start it by at least the first of June. Mr. Wilson asked his projected completion date. Mr. Murdock asked how long he could have to complete it, adding that the more time the better it would be.

He wondered how much time he would have if the variance is extended, and Mr. Borden responded if the variance is extended, you would have six months. Mr. Murdock answered I should have it done by then.

Addressing the applicant, Mr. Borden wondered if the plans and materials are the same as earlier when the variance was granted, and Mr. Murdock answered that they were; nothing has changed.

Mr. Squires moved to extend the variance and Mr. Wilson seconded the motion. Voting aye were Mr. Squires, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Weidlich, Mr. Borden, Mr. Apke and Mrs. Huber. Variance 8-1999 was extended.

    1. Ronald & Linda Suermann, 12015 Norwell Court requests variance from Section 153.492(B)(1) "There shall be no more than one (1) detached accessory building..on a lot.." & (3) "Detached accessory buildings other than garages shall not exceed 120 square feet in area."

Mr. Suermann said we would like to get a variance to construct a 10í x 20í shed in our back yard. My wifeís father passed away in February, and we received a lot of stuff and that is what the shed would be used for.





18 APRIL 2000



Mr. Squires commented this is for an additional shed; what is the size of your present shed? Mr. Murdock answered it is 10í x 12í. Mr. Squires asked the type of tools you inherited. Mr. Suermann answered the was a mechanic for Delta Airlines so there are table saws, workbenches, etc. Mr. Squires asked if 200 square feet was necessary or is this the minimum size available from this company? Mr. Suermann answered I could get smaller, but I believe this is necessary. I also have a motorcycle that I plan on storing there in the winter. Mr. Squires wondered about the lawn equipment in the other shed and if the 200 s.f. shed would be enough to store everything. Mrs. Suermann responded there also is pool equipment in the other shed.

Mr. Squires commented you are almost in a valley there, and you canít see this from Elkridge.

Mrs. Huber asked how far up the hill their property extends, and Mr. Suermann answered to the fence right before the hill. Mrs. Huber wondered about the playhouse and other equipment. Mrs. Suermann answered we have a swing set and a slide which was left by previous owners.

Mr. .Borden asked if this would be a workshop or tool shed. Mr. Suermann answered it will be workshop, because I will be doing woodwork out there. Right now one side of our double garage is completely packed. Mr. Borden continued I wondered if you would run electricity out there. Mr. Suermann answered that he would. Mr. Borden asked if the outside of the shed would match the existing, and Mr. Suermann indicated that it would.

Mr. Wilson said we have two concerns, the fact that you are asking for two outbuildings and that the combined square feet would be 320 versus the 120 allowed. I went out to your house to look for options. I see where your porch is; I assume since it is a raised ranch, you have a lower level. Could you convert that to a workshop? Mr. Suermann answered that is a computer room and exercise room, and we just had brand new carpet put in.

Mr. Wilson asked if they would consider an extension onto their house, perhaps parallel to the porch or looking at one unit, smaller than the 200 s.f.? In other words, have you looked at other options?

Mr. Suermann answered we considered building onto the house, but felt it cost prohibitive. As far as trying to use just one building, I donít believe there would be enough room to put all the pool equipment and the other tools and equipment.

Mr. Wilson continued I hope you understand the dilemma that we as members of this board have in trying to work with you but understanding what would happen if we allowed this 320 s.f. total in two outbuildings. I donít think there is any other piece of property in the city that has two buildings of this type, a building for storage and a workshop. There are some that have an oversized garage and a tool shed or something like that, but none with these specifications. It puts us in a dilemma as to what we can do, and I was hoping there were other options that you might have thought of once you realized this was going to be a challenge.

Mrs. Suermann said are you suggesting getting rid of the mini barn that is there now but still constructing a larger building than the 10 x 20 and yet smaller than the 320 s. f. total? Mr. Wilson answered yes, could you downsize one building to the minimum number that would be acceptable to you.


18 APRIL 2000



Mrs. Suermann answered the problem with that is you have a perfectly good building and itís a shame to throw it out. Mr. Wilson added or sell it at a loss. Mrs. Suermann commented we thought about it, but to spend more money on the building you are thinking about now and selling the other one at a loss didnít seem cost effective. Mr. Wilson suggested another 10í x 12í building adjacent to the present one. We have two issues Ė you would have a total of three buildings on one parcel, the house, the 10í x 12í outbuildings and the workshop. Forget about the porch, which is an extension; forget about the pool, which takes up a good portion of your back yard. Look at adding onto the present 10í x 12í building and make it one building. Have you given that any thought?

Mr. Suermann answered we did think about that, but I donít believe another 10 x 12 would handle it. Mr. Wilson interjected something like that, maybe 10 x 15. Mr. Suermann responded I donít believe we would be able to do that, and personally I donít think it would look as good. This will not just be a square building; it will actually have a six-foot porch on the front. We do have a very large back yard, even with the pool and shed back there now.

Mrs. Suermann added the other concern have is because they are prefab sheds, could you actually add on. Because of the prefab nature of it, Iím not sure they could do that. Mr. Wilson added and Iím not sure that your neighbor would be receptive to something that big and that close to their property line. You probably would have to relocate it to the area where the proposed workshop would be, and if you did that, you would have to eliminate one of the two trees.

Mrs. Suermann responded I donít think any of the neighbors objected when I went around; the people behind us are on a hill and all that back is wooded so that is private. The neighbors on either side agreed with our plan; saying that it would look nice. Mr. Wilson responded you have to understand that your neighbors arenít going to complain. Neighbors tend to keep to themselves. I would have to be way out of line for them to make a comment, but I understand what you are saying.

Addressing Mr. Lohbeck, Mr. Borden asked if he knew how many two shed homes we have in the city? Mr. Lohbeck responded that he did not know, but would suspect that there are none. There are homes on Kemper Road that have detached garages and sheds on their properties.

Mr. Borden commented the wooded area appears to be in full bloom; what about in the fall? Mrs. Suermann answered it is deciduous; the leaves come off and we lose our privacy, but still everything is up on the hill. Mr. Borden responded so it wouldnít be visible to the neighbors above. Mrs. Suermann said they would have to look awfully hard to see it. There are bushes and trees, so the branches are there but the leaves fall off.

Mrs. Huber said if a variance were allowed what color would you paint that building? Mr. Suermann answered it is the same as our present shed with a dark brown accent. Mrs. Suermann added we chose the shingles to match and it will even have a black Eagle on the front to match.

Mr. Squires commented that a variance goes with the land, and so we have a dilemma about this. Precedent is also a very big thing for us also. You do have the privacy issue that is well taken care of. Mr. Borden alluded to the fact that when the deciduous trees go out in the fall, will the people on Elkridge still have the privacy. My guess is that they will; they are pretty high up.


18 APRIL 2000



Mr. Apke said this sounds like some pretty serious woodworking equipment and it sounds like you are planning on storage. However, I want to ask if it is for totally private use, or is there some plan to turn this into a little business?

Mr. Suermann answered it is my own private hobby. I fly for an airline out of Dayton, so the last thing I want to do is get into the business of woodworking. I am having a hard time building a doghouse right now.

Mr. Wilson said grinders and saws make a lot of noise. How is the interior insulated? Will that be something that will be heard by your neighbors? Mr. Suermann answered it possibly will be. Right now the building does not show any insulation, but I plan on putting dry wall and insulation in. I am not the type of person that goes out at 9 or 10 at night doing something that would make a lot of noise. I have had that done to me, and I donít like it and I wouldnít do it to someone else.

Mr. Squires said when you are using woodworking tools, there is a lot of sawdust, etc. How do you intend to rid yourself of that? Will the roof be vented? Mr. Suermann answered I am not going to vent it out; it would be on the floor and I would vacuum it up.

Mr. Borden said you said you are willing to insulate the workshop? Mr. Suermann answered that he was, for noise and warmth. Mr. Borden asked if it would reduce the interior dimensions, and Mr. Suermann indicated that it shouldnít. It will be on the inside of the 2í x 4í studs. Mr. Borden continued if this were approved, would you be willing to make that a condition of the approval. Mr. Suermann indicated that he would.

Mr. Wilson said I didnít notice the dimensions of your porch. What is underneath the porch; could that be an option in terms of storage? Mr. Suermann answered it is not very high under there; you canít stand up straight. Mr. Wilson commented you could put your motor cycle under there though. Mr. Suermann answered it would be difficult to get up under there because of the sides Ė we have lattice on each side.

Mrs. Huber moved to allow an accessory building 10í x 20í to be constructed in the rear yard of this residence to be insulated and dry walled; said residence also has an existing 10í x 12í utility building. Mr. Apke seconded the motion. Voting aye were Mrs. Huber, Mr. Apke, Mr. Borden, Mr. Weidlich, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Squires. The variance was granted with six affirmative votes.

Mr. Borden said it appears that there was a discrepancy in the drawing submitted. What we voted on was a 10í x 20í building. Is your drawing correct? Mr. Suermann answered the plans themselves show a 10í x 16í building. When we came up to get the variance originally, they said they needed some kind of construction details. I didnít realize until I got home and I called the builder and he said the construction is the same for a 10í x 16í as a 10í x 20í; it is just four feet bigger. All they had were plans for the 10í x 16í, so they are adding on to the 10í x 16í to make it a 10í x 20í.

Mr. Borden said what we actually approved tonight was a 10í x 20í. Mr. Lohbeck stated the drawings indicate a 10í wide by 16í long building and there is a six foot front porch, so it is actually 16í x 16í, and he is asking for a 16í x 20í so you need to clarify the vote on this.

Mr. Suermann commented I had a real estate license in Tennessee and anything that wasnít under cover or going to be heated wasnít considered as square footage, so I considered the porch as extra space. Mr. Lohbeck answered it is part of the building; you have a roof over it and it is considered part of the building.


18 APRIL 2000



Mr. Borden said so what you are asking for is a 16í x 20í building, including the porch, and what we voted on tonight was a 10í x 20í, so there is an additional six feet there for the porch. We can open the vote back up with this point of clarification.

Addressing the applicant, Mr. Wilson asked if it were possible for them to eliminate the porch. We have a dilemma. Now we are looking at 440 square feet, which is almost a small house.

Mr. Suermann answered that six feet will not be insulated or anything else; it is strictly a porch. Mr. Wilson said I understand that, but it is part of the square footage as the code dictates. We voted on a 10í x 20í, or 320 square feet, realizing that there is an existing 10í x 12í building. We are now looking at a total of 440 square feet, which sheds a different light on what we should have voted on, and that is why I am asking if you would eliminate that front porch to be in compliance with what we voted on.

Mr. Suermann answered we could, and we had thought about it when we first looked at it, but when we looked at it with the porch, we thought it made the building look more pleasant to the eye. It wasnít a box back there; it made it look better than taking away from anything. That is 6í x 20í that canít be used for anything; it is just a porch for us to sit on in the summertime.

Mr. Wilson responded I understand that, but from the codeís standpoint it is considered part of the building and that is our dilemma. We know you feel a smaller sized building would not be acceptable for your needs, so weíve backed down and agreed with the 10í x 20í and voted on that. Now we are looking at a 6í x 20í addition that is not used for storage, which is the reason I voted for the 10í x 20í, to give you that storage space. It is purely aesthetic. I donít feel comfortable with adding a little porch onto it in view of the fact that it would make it 440 square feet. That is why I was asking if there was any way you could meet us half way and eliminate the porch. I am assuming that the interior space is more important to you than the aesthetics of the porch. Would you be willing to reconsider and remove the porch?

Mr. Suermann answered we could reconsider that but it is a shame to put a square building out there when you could have something that looks nice. Mr. Wilson commented if it meets code. Mr. Suermann responded to me the square footage is not relevant, because when I bought my house, the square footage is what I live in, not my garage; that is not included in the square footage. Mr. Wilson answered we are talking about a house versus storage. Mr. Suermann responded I think the square footage should be considered the same. If that were the case you would have to consider my house bigger than what it actually is because of the garage. Mr. Wilson said but you donít live in the garage, and Mr Suermann answered I wonít be living in this workshed either.

Mr. Wilson commented I understand your analogy, but just as you needed a permit and a variance to put the porch on, and it had to be within certain dimensions in order to be acceptable, this too has to be acceptable. To add on another 120 square feet, purely for aesthetics, is a different issue than a house. Your point is well taken. The square footage of your house is one thing, but there is a zoning code for houses which concerns acreage around the house, the lot size. In this case you are adding separate square footage within the confines of a specific lot. In this case you are RSH-L Residential Single Household Low Density, so we have a challenge here.


18 APRIL 2000



Mr. Wilson added I realize you donít want to downsize the shed. We have agreed that is acceptable and have granted a variance of 200 square feet; 320 square feet is pushing it a bit much. I donít know how the others would vote, but I donít feel comfortable with this, mainly because it is not being used for storage, your purpose in coming here.

Mr. Borden said I agree with Mr. Wilson. That extra six feet will make a difference here. We already are giving you an allowance to construct the extra shed, which in itself may set a precedent, which we normally donít do.

Addressing the applicant, Mr. Borden asked if he were willing to remove the porch. Mr. Suermann answered if that is the only way I can get the variance, I will. I think it will look worse than having that out there, because you have a square box setting back there now which I think looks tacky, but if thatís the only way you will approve it, I guess we will go that way.

Mr. Borden answered if you are willing to do that, it is already approved, and the current vote stands.

Mr. Suermann added we werenít trying to hide the porch. We did say there was going to be a porch. Mr. Wilson responded I wasnít even thinking that sir.

  2. Mr. Lohbeck said you may have noticed that there were no signs placed in the front of the houses. Since we are sending out letters for each variance request (we sent out 27 on this one application) and it was advertised in the Cincinnati Enquirer, we felt this should be done in lieu of the placement of signs, if this meets with your approval. Board agreed. Mr. Wilson wondered why the change took place, and Mr. Lohbeck reported it came about with the implementation of the new Zoning Code.

    Concerning the variance granted, Mr. Squires said I hope this doesnít come back on us. It was a unanimous vote to give them the extra 10í x 20í shed. They have a large lot, and every variance must be considered individually. I think this was difficult; letís hope that we did the right thing.

    Mr. Borden commented it appeared to have the right parameters. It seemed to be tucked away, hidden, obscure. Mr. Squires commented if it hadnít been for that cliff back there, I couldnít have gone for it.

    Mr. Wilson added it is isolated in a sense; you canít see it from the street. Itís between two trees. You like to do things for your residents within reason. I am a little concerned about possible noise, but how much time will he have to work back there? He probably wonít work too much in the dead of winter because it would be too cold. He didnít ask for heating, so hopefully he wonít put a space heater back there. Mr. Borden said he is going to be running electricity. Mr. Lohbeck added they can run those little electric heaters without a problem.

    Mr. Borden commented I donít think we set any precedent here; it is a pretty big lot. Mr. Wilson said any time you make an exception to a rule, you set a precedent. As Mr. Squires said, we deal with each request on an individual basis, which is our salvation. Even though we set a precedent, we can say that it is because he has the big lot and his back neighbor is 25 feet above him and there are trees there. Every time we make an exception we set a precedent. We just have to be careful that when we do vote that we are making the right decision.


    18 APRIL 2000



    Mr. Squires said letís assume down the road they sell the property and they get somebody else in there and they want to house some of their family in that workshop. Itís like a small house. Mr. Wilson responded letís hope that doesnít happen. We can regulate it for storage and not to be inhabited. Mr. Squires wondered if the variance stated it as a workshop and Mr. Borden reported it is called an accessory building. Mr. Squires said then that canít be used for livable space.

    Mrs. Huber said I donít think we need to worry about precedence. Down on my section of Kemper Road, we allowed a pole barn, four times the size of this building, and there is nothing to shield it from anything.

    Mr. Apke wondered if we are covered with precedence by the fact that he put workshop on his original request? Mr. Squires responded the variances specified accessory building, so I think we are covered.


Mr. Squires moved to adjourn and Mrs. Huber seconded the motion. By voice vote all present voted aye, and the Board of zoning Appeals adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,



________________________,2000 _____________________________

Fred Borden, Acting Chairman



________________________,2000 _____________________________

Jane Huber, Secretary