BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING
APRIL 21, 2009
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: Robert Diehl, Robert Weidlich, Robert Emerson, Jane Huber, Dave Okum, William Reichert, Randy Danbury


Others Present: Randy Campion, Inspection Supervisor

III. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

IV. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 17 FEBRUARY, 2009

Mrs. Huber moved for acceptance the February 17, 2009 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting minutes, Mr. Emerson seconded the motion and with a unanimous vote from all Board of Zoning Appeals Members the February Board of Zoning Appeals minutes were adopted.

V. CORRESPONDENCE

a. Zoning Bulletin - January 25, 2009
b. Zoning Bulletin - February 10, 2009
c. Zoning Bulletin - February 25, 2009
d. Zoning Bulletin - March 10, 2009
e. Zoning Bulletin - March 25, 2009
f. Ordinance No. 5-2009 – Amended 153.533 Special Event Signs, Balloons and Search Lights

VI. REPORT ON COUNCIL

Mr. Danbury gave a report on Council.


VII. REPORT ON PLANNING COMMISSION

Chairman Okum gave a report on Planning Commission.


VIII. CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT AND SWEARING IN OF APPLICANTS

IX. NEW BUSINESS

A. The owner of 868 Ledro Street requests a variance to allow the elimination of a garage. Said variance is from Section 153.105(B) “A single two-car garage and related parking area is required.”

Mr. Matt Stewart: I am the owner of 868 Ledro Street. We bought the house in 2003 and we were unaware that there was not a variance already approved. Upon a rental inspection for the property it was determined by the inspector that there was no variance.

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

(Chairman Okum opened the floor to the audience for comments; no one came forward.)

Mrs. Huber: I make a motion to grant a variance from Section 153.105(B) so as to allow for the existing conversion of the garage into living space at the residence located at 868 Ledro Street.
Mr. Danbury seconded the motion.

Chairman Okum: What is the space used for, in what used to be the garage?

Mr. Stewart: I store a motorcycle and just general storage in the storage portion. The living space portion is what we used as a family room with a couch and television and I believe the renters in it at this time are using it for the same purposes.
There is a wall and a doorway separating it from the kitchen and there is actually an opening you can see through into the room.

Mr. Reichert: Where is the door opening?

Mr. Stewart: If you are facing the home and the garage being on the right side of you, the door into the room is on the right-hand side inside of the garage area and then you would walk into that room and it is in the far left corner how you would actually enter into the kitchen.

Mr. Reichert: Is there an exterior door leading from the garage to the outside?

Mr. Stewart: It is just the garage door and the interior door.

Chairman Okum: Is the living space heated?

Mr. Stewart: Yes; there is a register that comes into that room from the interior wall.

Chairman Okum: There is no window in that room?

Mr. Stewart: There is a window that opens to the outside.

Chairman Okum: I had passed out to the Board some standards that I have recommended on a number of occasions regarding this type of conversion and one of those is that storage space remains; and that varies with the size of the garage. One thing I feel the code is fairly strong about is that there is adequate parking to accommodate the cars. Is there currently space in the driveway to accommodate two cars?

Mr. Stewart: Yes. There was for my wife and I without blocking the sidewalk with a mid-size SUV and a full-size sedan.

Chairman Okum: There are some building code issues that I have brought forward to the Building Department; one of the items is that I have a real concern that when the conversions were made there were no electrical inspections made for the electrical work. I have recommended that when Staff does the approvals that the electrical then be inspected. There is a method to test inside of the wall and it does put a burden on the owner as far as cost; and that test is called a megatrometer test and it checks for imperfections in the wiring; it is a safety issue. The Building Department can’t see inside the walls.
It is at the Board’s pleasure whether they want to make that motion to incorporate that in as an amendment or if they can go based upon what the applicant has placed on the site. If there are no conditions then, the elimination of the garage door at a later time could happen and it would not be in the review of this Board. The variance, if it would be approved this evening would stay with your property, it carries forever.

Mr. Diehl: I would like to amend the motion to include a garage door that must remain as a functional garage door.
Mr. Weidlich seconded the amended motion.

(All Board of Zoning Appeals Members signified by saying “Aye” for the amended motion.)

Chairman Okum: Mrs. Huber will you poll the Board on an amended motion?

Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeal Members and with a unanimous “aye” vote the request for the variance to allow the elimination of a garage, but to maintain a functional garage door, was granted with a 7-0 vote.

B. The owner at 366 Cameron Road requests a variance to allow a handicap ramp platform to extend 5’ into the side yard. Said variance is from Section 153.580(B) “An open platform, landing, steps or other feature may extend 3’ into the side yard.”

Mr. Merz: I bought the house and my father Larry is going to live there; he is in a wheelchair because he lost his leg in December. I live down the street on Naylor and we were trying to get him into a house closer to us; as my brother lives on Cameron also.
We want to put a wheelchair ramp in so that he has access to the house. The way we want to set it up, coming out the side door and coming up the side of the house we can cut straight across the front of the house and avoid going straight down into the middle of the yard.

Chairman Okum: The drawing that was given to us shows it going into the front, but your request for a variance is to allow it to go along the side.

Mr. Merz: Yes. It is a narrow property and I think you can’t build closer that 3’ or 5’ between the property line?

Chairman Okum: Yes; there is a certain setback requirement.

Mr. Merz: Without having it surveyed, I think there is 16’ 8” between the two houses. I would say we may have 5’ – 6’ on that side. (Mr. Merz pointed out that the neighbor on the side of the property in question, Mr. Mike Hammer, was present at the meeting.)

(At this time Mr. Randy Campion read the Staff report.)

Chairman Okum: Why does the ramp need to go all the way back to the back corner?

Mr. Merz: Springdale has a law concerning the garbage cans and recycling containers; this would allow him to get around back to get something like that. I thought if I extended it back to the back of the house that he could put his garbage cans there and wheel them out. He could also gain access to his front porch coming down the side because it would meet at that same level where he could go around.

Chairman Okum: In order to get the deck to stay at 1-10 grade, you will have to cut into the soil; otherwise you will have too strict of a slope and you may want to use something other than the pressure treated material. Across that 25’ would he be able to get a 1-10, Mr. Campion?

Mr. Campion: I think he could; as far as what material he makes it out of, if you are within 8” of the soil or the ground, it has to be treated material so he could do the whole ramp out of treated wood.

Mr. Merz: We were going to use treated material on all of it.

Mr. Campion: And it looks like he can achieve that from the drawing I am looking at; the ramp cannot exceed 1-10 anywhere.

Mr. Merz: We were going to build the ramp flush with the threshold so that he could wheel out of the house.

Mr. Emerson: I was just going to clarify that it is going to take 28’ to get up to where you need to be level with the porch. The 5’ turning area is going to be on the end of the top ramp where it is level with the porch?

Mr. Merz: Yes.

Mr. Emerson: Is there going to be a handrail going up the ramp on both sides and is the porch going to get handrails to prevent falling off?

Mr. Merz: I could do that if that is required. I don’t think there is much of a drop there.

Mr. Campion: The building code requires a 3’ landing at the bottom of every step; it doesn’t have to be concrete, it just has to be a level surface. The building code would require when you step off of that bottom step a 3’ area; start your rise from that 3’ on; where you turn you have to have a level 5’ area.

Chairman Okum: Are you going to remove the left side steps?

Mr. Merz: They are tied in and I don’t think I can get them out.

Chairman Okum: I think you are going to have to have some type of skirting on the front of the ramp so that it doesn’t look like an open platform.

(At this time Chairman Okum opened the floor to the audience.)

Mr. Mike Hammer: I own 368 Cameron. I have no problem with Mr. Merz’s proposal. I think it is being neighborly and I see the trouble his father has going in and out and it will certainly make a difference in his life to be able to do that.

Chairman Okum: Thank you, Mr. Hammer.
As I stated before, as far as the raw edge face of the deck there needs to be skirting and I think it should be landscaped along the outside edge, along the front. Obviously on the left side of the house he wouldn’t be able to landscape on his neighbor’s property but on the front there will be an exposure.

Mr. Weidlich: I would like to make a motion to approve the request for construction of a ramp at 366 Cameron Road according to approved plans.
Mr. Danbury seconded the motion.

Mr. Emerson: Do we need to add to the motion the skirting issue?

Chairman Okum: The applicant has indicated that there will be skirting and I think that it should be for purposes of new owners continuing with the variance; the applicant has agreed to do it, so do you want to just amend your motion?

Mr. Weidlich: Yes, I would like to amend the request to include skirting along the side and front of the ramp; the outside edges of the ramp.
Mr. Danbury seconded the amended motion.

Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members and with a unanimous 7-0 “aye” vote the amended request for the construction of a ramp was granted.


   
X. DISCUSSION

Chairman Okum: I handed out the standards for conversions to garages on residential properties. I was worried about life safety issues; even though the conversions were not designed for living space or bedroom space a lot of people have been making use of them as bedrooms. When I spoke to Mr. McErlane last week, he said when they do the second inspections, if they see they have converted garages then they are issued orders that their right to use that space for bedrooms is restricted. I think if we maintain some storage space in the converted garages, and I know we are not going to be able to hold the rules consistent, but at least to somewhat put conditions on them that are reasonable.

Mr. Diehl: Don’t you think we are seeing a really small percentage of the garage conversions?

Chairman Okum: We are only seeing a small percentage because of the home inspections that are being done for the rentals.

As far as conditions, if you would like the check list to be attached to the variance request, I can ask Staff to do that. I will try to make it fit on one page and then I will send it to the Building Department.


XI. ADJOURNMENT

Chairman Okum: So, with that, I’ll accept a motion for adjournment.

Mrs. Huber moved to adjourn and Mr. Emerson seconded the motion, the Board of Zoning Appeals adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,


________________________,2009 ___________________________________
            Chairman Dave Okum



________________________,2009 ___________________________________
            Secretary Jane Huber