15 MAY 2007
7:00 P.M.


The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman David Okum.


Members Present:        Bob Weidlich, Bill Reichert, Jim Squires
                Jane Huber, Bob Emerson, Marge Harlow
                And Chairman Okum

Others Present:        Bill McErlane, Building Official
                Randy Campion, Inspection Supervisor



Mr. Squires moved to approve and Mr. Reichert seconded the motion. All voted aye, and the Minutes were adopted unanimously.


A. Zoning Bulletin – February 1, 2007
B. Zoning Bulletin – February 15, 2007
C. Zoning Bulletin – March 1, 2007
D. Zoning Bulletin – March 15, 2007
E. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes – January 9, 2007
F. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes – February 22, 2007


A. Report on Council

Mr. Squires Council passed an ordinance adding transitional zoning to the RSH-L zoning on West Sharon Road to allow the medical arts building Planning recommended. Council also had a first reading on an ordinance to not allow outdoor wood fired boilers. Council also passed an ordinance allowing our employees to donate some of their sick hours to a coworker who may need them. To have a continuous lane on northbound Springfield Pike from Glensprings Drive to eastbound I-275 entrance ramp Council passed an ordinance.

B. Report on Planning Commission

Mr. Okum reported that Planning met on May 8th reviewing the development plan for Sam’s Club, which was approved. Also considered was a sign facing Princeton Pike for AT&T/Cingular in Princeton Plaza. The applicant withdrew the request and will use an existing sign. The façade change for David’s Bridal at 720 Kemper Commons was approved and the façade for BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery (in front of the old J. C. Penney’s) was also approved.


15 MAY 2007


A. Approval of variance to allow a boat to be parked in driveway at 170 Ruskin Drive. Said variance is requested from Section153.480(D)(1)(b) “When stored in the front yard…it must leave two additional spaces not less than nine feet by 19 feet.

Linda Money owner of the property said my boyfriend and I live at 170 Ruskin Drive. We looked at the ordinance and brochure and thought we were within the limits before we bought our boat.

We were told that our driveway was too small and it was recommended that we apply for a variance. We have pictures of the boat parked in the driveway. There are spaces for my boyfriend’s truck and my Volkswagen and nothing overhangs the sidewalk.

Mr. Okum said let the record show that the applicant has provided pictures of some other properties with boats parked in the driveways.

Rick Wiedeman said the other pictures are there to show how this is to enjoy the use of their property. We do not have the extra property to store the boat on the side of the house, and we do not have the proper area to store it in the back either. I am disabled so even if we could get it in the back yard, it would be tough for me to get to the boat. One of the pictures shows the driveway and what the boat looks like in it. We do not have a garage. Ms. Money said there has not been a garage since before I moved into the house 25 years ago. We asked the neighbors, and there is a signature list that all signed that the boat is not a problem for them.

Mr. McErlane reported that there are some hardships in terms of the rear and side lot lines. If you expanded the existing driveway, you would not obtain enough parking area to park two cars side by side next to the boat. She relied on the brochure from the Building Department, and it listed some of the requirements, but it was not complete. We revised the brochure and added that they should refer to the Building Department for information.

Mr. Okum opened the Public Hearing. No one came forward, and he closed it.

Mr. Squires said because this applicant lives a few doors from and in terms of fairness, I will withdraw from any discussion or vote.

Mr. Weidlich moved to grant the variance and Mrs. Huber seconded the motion.

Mrs. Huber said I went by today and it looked nice and wasn’t extending onto the sidewalk.

Mr. Reichert said I drove by myself and the vw was in front and the truck was in the back. It is a little tight where the back end is hanging into the driveway. Mr. Wiedemann said we were not parked completely; it fits beautifully otherwise.

15 MAY 2007


Mr. Okum said if they were to block the sidewalk, the Police would regulate that and give them citations.

Mr. Reichert said the variance stays with this property, and you might have a car bigger than your vw in the future. Ms. Money responded if I got another car, it would be something very small.

Mr. Okum said I believe Mrs. Huber indicated that the cars stacked in the driveway with the boat did not look burdensome. Based on that, I am supporting the motion, but I would like to see a limitation to the size of the boat or on the driveway.

Mr. Emerson added if you pass the variance, the dimensions of the boat should be included or it should be addressed as an rv. Mr. Okum said the boa is 17’ and I’m not sure the trailer size. Mr. Weidemann said it has a break away tongue so it is the exact size of the boat.

Mr. McErlane said I would suggest that you give the applicant the overall length of 19’-10” without the tongue broken away.

Mrs. Harlow moved to amend the motion to limit the boat size to 19’-10” in length. Mrs. Huber seconded the motion. By voice vote the amendment passed with six affirmative votes.

The amended motion and variance was granted with six affirmative votes.

B. Approval of variance to allow the construction of fence in front area of Westminster Cottages, 11199 Springfield Pike. Said variance is requested from Section 153.482(A) (1) “No fence...shall project past the front building line…”

Kent Huff, Vice President of Lifesphere said we have partnered with Great Traditions and Jim Obert will describe the fence and site.

Mr. Obert passed out photographs of the fence, saying we are nearing completion of the project. The goal is Memorial Day, and we wanted to clear up the fencing issues.

We want to put up a white vinyl fence with no maintenance along Springfield Pike. We would like to create more privacy for our residents, and the overall aesthetics on Springfield Pike. We would like to put the fence three feet off the right of way line. We would like to put the fence all the way down behind these units. It is a nice looking fence that we use at all our communities. The height is 48 inches and the post comes up a little above that every fifth or sixth post.

Mr. McErlane reported that the applicant wishes to erect a “horse park” fence in the front yard setback. Although the building is oriented so that the back faces Springfield Pike, by code it is considered a front yard.

15 MAY 2007


Mr. McErlane added that should the Board decide to approve this request, Staff would request that a minimum setback of 3 feet from the right of way be maintained as required by 153.482(A)(5).

Mr. Okum asked how much right of way is between the curb and this location, and Mr. McErlane reported that it is pretty close to the right of way.

Mr. Obert added that from the back of curb to the front of the sidewalk is 10-12 feet. The fence would be four feet to the west of the sidewalk.

Mr. Okum opened the public hearing. No one came forward and he closed the public hearing.

Mrs. Harlow moved to grant the variance to construct a horse park fence in the front yard three feet off the sidewalk. Mr. Squires seconded the motion.

Mr. Harlow asked who would be living in these cottages and Mr. Obert answered these are for independent living people. The minimum age is 62 and the average age is closer to 76. Twenty-one of the 22 units have been spoken for.

Mr. Okum said you were going to work with the city planner to come up with mounding and plants. Now you are saying that is not enough. I thought that should have been in the planning stage because buffering was a big subject, and we allowed a closer proximity to the roadway. I do not understand why this did not go through our city planner and Planning Commission.

Mr. Huff said we are probably 18 months past that point, and we think the fence is a reasonable addition. The buffering and landscaping are in place and this is an additional effort on our part.

Mr. Okum commented three feet off the sidewalk will not look like this picture.

Mr. Obert said between the fence and the units there will be landscaping. The average residents (ages 65 to 70) have some concerns about people coming towards their homes. We did all the landscaping and buffering and we are hearing that they want to make sure people will not come on their property and up to their front doors.

Mr. Okum commented then I assume we will see the same request for the project across the street.

Mr. Huff said the units closest to Springfield Pike on the ground level have covered garages and the access is on the inside. If you want to amend the motion to address that side, we would not have a problem. It is an entirely different building.

Mrs. Harlow said I am hearing that the fence is more to keep people out. Mr. Huff responded it is still addressing their safety.

15 MAY 2007


Mrs. Harlow commented I appreciate that, but other neighbors have asked for that in the past; this has been an ongoing issue. I thought here was supposed to be more than sufficient landscaping to buffer the traffic noise from Route 4.

Mr. Reichert said I find it difficult to look at a fence a foot away from the sidewalk. Mr. Obert said the right of way is one foot off the sidewalk, so there will be four feet of green space and that is according to the code.

Mr. Emerson wondered if there had been issues of people leaving the sidewalk and approaching the buildings. Mr. Huff answered not that I am aware of. Mr. Obert added part of it is the perception of the residents.

Mrs. Harlow said I would like to go back 18 months when you were before Planning. How were you going to buffer that? Mr. Obert answered we have done all the landscaping and mounding that would fit into the space, and we doubled the amount of plant material required. That all has been done. We are not looking to rescind anything; we want to add to this.

Mr. Weidlich commented it appears that there are two planting beds where the fence will go. Mr. Obert responded the plantings are continuous and the existing trees will be preserved. Mr. Weidlich asked the height of the plantings and Mr. Obert answered some of it is low, some is 10 to 15 feet high and the trees are taller than that.

Mrs. Harlow commented I am conflicted. I realize that Route 4 is a main drag, but I also realize that many other applicants have come before us and asked for fences in the front yard and we have turned them down.

Mr. Reichert said the chairman indicated that the city planner, Planning Commission and landscape architect were involved in this. Is it in our best interests to get their viewpoints? Would that be appropriate?

Mr. Okum responded it would mean that the applicant would have to withdraw the application here and I think they could go through Planning. Mr. McErlane added they could but the ultimate decision will be with this board. The best you could do is get feedback from the Planning Commission or the city planner. Instead of the applicant withdrawing the request, I would recommend that it be tabled so it doesn’t have to be readvertised and the applicant doesn’t have to submit another application.

Mr. Squires said this fence is an afterthought. Are we establishing a precedent if we do this?

Mr. Okum responded staff has indicated that this is a front yard application and Mrs. Harlow is correct that it would apply to those applications for fences on corner lots.

15 MAY 2007


Mrs. Harlow said I can appreciate that they want to make sure the residents are safe, but people who had toddlers and wanted a fence in their yard were made to cut the back to meet the code. Those individuals and their safety are just as important. I am trying to justify the fairness and be consistent.

Mr. Okum said even if it goes back to Planning, this board still will have to deal with the front yard fence question. This is one of the gateways into Springdale and what you will see going down Route 4.

Mrs. Harlow said I do not have a problem with the aesthetics; it is that this is a front yard fence.

Addressing the members, Mr. Okum said would you support a front yard fence? I believe I can make a decision and I will say that I will not and have not supported a front yard fence application. If they are gong to be permitted, the code should be adjusted to allow it. I

On the motion to grant the variance, Mr. Squires voted aye, and the remaining members of the board voted no. Variance was denied by six negative votes.

C. Approval of variance to allow the construction of a 10’ x 14’ utility building on the property at 1254 Wainwright Drive. Said variance is requested from Section 153.492(B) “shall not exceed 120 s.f. in area.”

Mr. and Mrs. Gary Birkofer, owners of 1254 Wainwright Drive approached the board. Mrs. Birkofer said in 1999 we asked to do away with the garage and make it a great room. For 7 ½ years we have been storing holiday decorations in my daughter’s basement. Gary has lung disease and as we have gotten older, it has been more and more difficult to bring that back and forth

Our lot if 60’ x 120’ with a 45 foot incline that levels off for an additional 17-18 feet to the fence line. There is 20+ feet on which a building can set, and we have not had any objections from the neighbors.

We requested a 10’ x 14’ steel building based on Lowes ad. Over the years we have had problems with skunks in the attic and now we have birds in there. We are rethinking the steel, and may be going with wood.

We have plenty of space, but we have not looked at sheds except for the steel one. We would like to have the maximum amount we could use for that area.

Mr. Okum said the variance is for a shed of the size you requested (10’ x 14’), but you can change the material if you wish.

Mrs. Birkofer said I would like some guidelines before we go looking to know the size and materials we are allowed.

15 MAY 2007


Mr. Birkofer added we have been long time residents, and I have known the Building Department people, Gordon and Al. I did have both of them look at where we want to put the shed, and they said they did not see any problem with the location, but that we would have to get an approval for the additional square footage.

Mr. McErlane reported that the request is to construct a 10’ x 14’ (140 s.f.) utility building. Section 153.492(B) of the code limits the size to 10’ x 12’ (120 s.f.) Applicant’s need for the shed is to store holiday decorations. A variance was granted on 9/21/99 to convert most of the garage to living space.

Mr. Okum said for the record, there was an e mail from Mrs. Birkofer that we probably would want as part of the record.

“We put in request for a shed that is on the agenda for tonight’s meeting. We had been looking for something to hold holiday items, etc. at about 12’ x 16’, but had not examined any available. Some people misunderstood the notice as it said utility building instead of shed. Also we enclosed a picture of one we saw in the paper, which was metal. I just wanted to state that we may not end up getting a metal one. Your original notice to the people did not indicate it was steel, but the subsequent one did. I hope it is not a problem if we decide to go with wood or vinyl instead of metal. We had a space laid out for 12’ x 16’when Bill and Gordon stopped over, but when we saw the steel one at 10’ x 14’ we thought it would work. However, when examining it at Lowe’s, I found it to be less than acceptable. It was dented and had holes near the base and roof for air instead of vents. This may cause rodents, birds, squirrels, insects, etc. to climb in and take up residence, and I do not want my possessions damaged by them. Therefore, I would just like to have the option of constructing it out of whatever way we choose rather than solely steel at least 14 feet in length. I had seen in previous minutes that ones had been approved up to 16 feet and wondered if in our search for the perfect one could we perhaps go as large as 16 feet. I just didn’t want to find something different than what we put in for and have to return again for a new approval. Thanks so much for your consideration of these thoughts.
See you at the meeting tonight.

Phillis & Gary Birkofer”

Mr. Okum opened the public hearing. No one came forward and he closed the public hearing.

Mrs. Huber moved to grant the variance for a 10’ x 14’ utility building and Mr. Squires seconded the motion.

Mr. Okum said there were conditions on the variance in 1999 and you lived up to them; I appreciate it. He asked the applicant if they had a shed and Mrs. Birkofer answered that they have an 8’ x 8’ shed. Mr. Squires added if this variance is approved, that shed will have to come down.

15 MAY 2007


Mrs. Birkofer said if that is the case, can we go up to a 10’ x 16’ shed? We will need more space. I had read in the minutes that you have approved 16 foot sheds. Mr. Squires commented we haves done so on lots that are very large. Mrs. Birkofer said our lot seems to be deeper than the lots around us.

Mr. Okum reported that later in this meeting we will have some work recommending to Planning Commission on sizes of storage and utility buildings. I found a ratio of square footage of dwellings and property. There was a recommendation for the allowance on accessory buildings to not exceed .025 of the lot size, and not be more than10% of the gross square footage of the structure. Based on the lot size, you would have a structure of 180 s.f. Based on the house, you would be allowed 150 s.f. If that would be approved, that would give us a formula that could work.

Mr. Reichert complimented the applicant on her property. Mrs. Birkofer said if we have to take the one shed down, we will need more space. I read in the minutes that you have approved larger sheds. Mr. Squires commented we have done so on lots that are very large. Mrs. Birkofer responded our lot seems to be deeper than the lots around us.

Mr. Okum said this evening we will discuss recommending to Planning changing the allowed sizes on storage buildings. I found a ratio of square footage to dwellings and the property. The allowance on accessory buildings would be not to exceed .025 of the lot size and not more than 10% of the gross square footage of the structure. Based on your lot, you would have 180 s.f., and based on the house you would be allowed 150 s.f. If that would be approved, that would give us a formula that could work in our decision making.

Mr. Okum added if there were no other buildings on your property, increasing the size of your proposed building to something over 120 s.f. I could understand. I feel a little larger than 120 s.f. would be possible, but not necessarily 160 s.f. Under this formula, 150 s.f. or 10’ x 15’ would be allowed.

Mr. Emerson asked about the type of floor in the shed, and Mr. Birkofer answered that some of the floors are treated wood with metal frame. Mr. Emerson asked if the old shed had a concrete floor and Mr. Birkofer indicated that it did.

Mr. Squires added if you go to a 10’ x 14’ wood shed, I would suppose the cost would be significantly higher. Mr. Birkhofer answered yes. After looking a the metal, I would prefer a wood shed with lower vents on the floor. We want to put something that will be secure. I personally would prefer a wood shed.

Mr. Reichert said it might be in your best interest to wait and see what we come up with after our discussion about shed sizes.

Mr. Okum asked if they could make a 140 s.f. shed work. Mrs. Birkofer said we could, but if we take that other one down, I would prefer 150 s.f. for the most space possible.
15 MAY 2007


Mrs. Harlow moved to amend the variance to allow a 10’ x 15’ shed (150 s.f.) with the condition that the existing shed be removed. Mr. Emerson seconded the motion.

All voted aye on the amended motion, and a variance was granted for a 10’ x 15’ shed.


A. Revised Board of Zoning Appeals Application – continued from February meeting.

Mr. McErlane reported that the primary changes are on the next to last and last pages, the description of request. On the 1st page, the 1st question requires the applicant to explain in detail any unusual circumstances that makes the variance necessary. The 3rd question requires a statement to show how the applicant would be deprived if his request were denied.

This indicates that the Board of Zoning Appeals must consider the questions and conditions before making their decision. This makes you look at the questions, but does not make it mandatory.

Mr. Okum said the reality is that nobody follows these questions. Do other municipalities have the same guidelines that they ignore? Mr. McErlane reported that usually you have general requirements.

Mr. McErlane reported that everybody cannot meet the requirements, and that is why this board is here. Exceptional circumstances on the lot are conditions for looking at variances. If the applicant cannot do something everyone else in his neighborhood can do, that is a reason for the variance. These are not uncommon generally.

Mr. Okum asked Mr. Campion about his involvement in Cincinnati. Mr. Campion said I was on a historical board in Newport. They had a set of guidelines and they had absolutes and recommendations. If there was a recommendation you could not put a fence up on a corner lot, they would bend the rules I would not grant an absolute, but there are exceptions to everything. The recommendations were set up by Council. We were there to enforce them.

Mr. Okum said it would be good to think about what the absolutes are. The issue of the front yard fence is one that needs to be determined. Is that an absolute?

Mr. McErlane reported we probably have some absolutes. We have held the line on use variances. That is an absolute because you would be allowing rezoning of property without going through the channels. Mr. Campion added I would say that a shed higher than 16 feet is an absolute.

Mr. Okum said that helps a lot. I would like to get a motion to refer the variance section to Planning for review.

15 MAY 2007


Mr. Squires moved to forward the Zoning Code Amendment section to Planning Commission and Mrs. Huber seconded the motion.
All voted aye, and it will be forwarded to Planning Commission.

Mr. Okum said I researched and have some verbiage from Lincolnshire IL and the Township of Independence. I felt there was a direct answer to the shed proportion to the property and height standard that was reasonable.

On the height of the shed, they used .66 of the height of the principle building. It talked about storage sheds and said, “intended solely for use of residential single family properties on which it is located”. I thought that was good. I would like everyone to go through here and check off the things that are appropriate that would be good for our code. I will e mail Bill a copy of it.

On the definitions, some might be more specific to our code. There are answers and questions as well. There is a lot of good information here.

Mrs. Harlow said in Northern Kentucky they grant up to a .50 of the house size (seven acres or above) for an accessory building, and .025 of the lot size, whichever is less.

Mr. Okum asked if they felt 25% would work in Springdale. Mr. Emerson suggested that the people be advised that figure as a guideline.

Mr. Okum said I think requirement of 120 s.f. for sheds is outdated and we need to make it reasonable and practical. Mr. Weidlich said 10% of the dwelling size sounds reasonable.

Mrs. Harlow commented I would like to research what we have granted in the past. Mr. McErlane said it would be tough to estimate the square footage of the residence. Mrs. Harlow suggested making it the livable square footage. Mr. Emerson wondered about considering basements and garages adequate storage. What do you think would work best for the application process? Mr. McErlane said we would find out living square footage and include a garage. I don’t know if we should allow the basement.

Mrs. Harlow said this doesn’t address the oversized lots. If you are addressing the square footage of the house, it doesn’t address their lot size or depth. Mr. Okum said you wouldn’t want the accessory building to be larger than the house. Mrs. Harlow said the whole problem is the applicant has all this land and is only allowed a 10’ x 12’ shed. Mr. McErlane said even if the square footage of the house would allow a larger shed, the size of the lot would limit it, and whichever is the lesser of the two.

Mrs. Harlow added it should be based on the size of the lot. Mr. Okum responded I do not disagree with you, but the accessory building should not be a huge element compared to the house and should not overwhelm the property.

15 MAY 2007


Mr. Okum said can we get this translated into something the Building Department can work with and answer the question of proportion to the lot.

Mr. McErlane said this is an attempt to allow the size of utility building based on the lot size and also that it not be disproportionate to the main structure.

Mr. Okum said our homework is to go through this and check the things that you like, and we will see if they need to be incorporated into our code or if they are already there.


Mrs. Huber moved to adjourn and Mr. Weidlich seconded the motion. By voice vote all voted aye and the Board of Zoning Appeals adjourned at 9:25 p.m.

                    Respectfully submitted,

____________________,2007    __________________________
                    David L. Okum, Chairman

____________________,2007    __________________________
                    Jane Huber, Secretary