BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING
JUNE 21, 2011
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: Jim Squires, Lawrence Hawkins III, Robert Weidlich,
Robert Emerson Jane Huber, Dave Okum

Members Absent: William Reichert

Others Present: Randy Campion, Building Inspection Supervisor

   
III PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE


IV MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF MAY 17, 2011

Mrs. Huber moved for adoption as written the May 17, 2011 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting minutes, Mr. Hawkins seconded the motion; Mr. Emerson and
Mr. Squires abstained (not present at the May 17th meeting). With four affirmative votes from the remaining Board of Zoning Appeals Members present, the minutes were adopted.


V CORRESPONDENCE

Chairman Okum: There is an email that the Building Department received today regarding the property at 12134 Kenn Road. It is signed with the person’s name and their address, as well as their email address. We will carry this into the hearing when that starts. It will be at the discretion of the Board whether we will read that into the minutes or not; since it is signed, I would assume that is just the same as receiving a letter from a resident.


VI REPORT ON COUNCIL

Mr. Hawkins gave the Board of Zoning Appeals Members a summary report of the last City Council Meeting from June 1st, 2011.


VII REPORT ON PLANNING COMMISSION

    Chairman Okum gave a summary report of the June 14th, 2011 Planning Commission Meeting.


VIII CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT AND SWEARING IN OF APPLICANTS


IX OLD BUSINESS

    (No Old Business to present at this meeting.)
   

X NEW BUSINESS

A. Chairman Okum: The first item on the agenda, 221 Diston Lane has applied for a variance to keep the utility building 4’ from the rear lot line; said variance is from Section 153.097(B)(4) “all other structures must be not less than 5’ from the rear or side lot lines.”

    Ms. Jane Stewart: I had a new storage building put up and unfortunately my contractor put it up when I was out of town, so he put it 4’ from the rear fence line. If it was easy to move, I would move it. My understanding is the reason that it needs to be 5’ away from the fence line is for maintenance on the property or the fence. When Gordon came out, I think that he could see that I can definitely maintain the building and / or the fence with only 4’, and I am able to cut the grass.

    (At this time Ms. Stewart submitted to the Board of Zoning Appeals Members two photos of the area between the storage building and the fence at 221 Diston Lane.)

(Mr. Campion read the Staff Report.)

Chairman Okum: Is there anyone in the audience that would like to address the Board?
(No one from the audience came forward.)
We will close this portion of the proceedings and for purposes of bringing it to the floor, can we have a motion?

Mrs. Huber: I move to grant a variance from Section 153.097(B)(4) so as to allow an existing utility building to remain 4’ from the rear lot line on property located at
221 Diston Lane; and the Section of the Code says that “all other structures must be not less than 5’ from any rear or side lot line.”
Mr. Squires: I will second the motion. Is it pertinent to add into that motion the size of the shed?

Mrs. Huber: If you wish, we will add “an existing 8’ X 12’ utility building” to the motion.
Mr. Squires seconded the motion.

Mr. Squires: Is the shed on a slab?

Ms. Stewart: I don’t know; I am thinking that they used concrete blocks. It has wood flooring.

Mr. Squires: How difficult is it to move the utility building?

Ms. Stewart: I think it is difficult. I couldn’t do it.

Mr. Hawkins: Had you discussed with the contractor, potentially moving the shed?

Ms. Stewart: I had taken down an older, smaller shed and he knew to put it more in the center of my yard. He didn’t take into account that this new building was wider than the old one.

Mr. Hawkins: Since this, you have asked the contractor to move it?

Ms. Stewart: I don’t even see the contractor any more.

Mr. Hawkins: The photos that you shared with the Board, are these of the old shed?

Ms. Stewart: No.

Mr. Hawkins: I noticed that the dates on them were January, 2007.

Ms. Stewart: No, I just took those.

Mr. Hawkins: Is this something that you are willing to talk with the contractor about potentially?

Ms. Stewart: I would rather not. I didn’t check into that because I can maintain that building and I think that is why the zoning is 5’. Even though it is 4’, you can still maintain the building and cut the grass and maintain the fencing.

Chairman Okum: What is the height of the shed?

Ms. Stewart: Maybe 8’; there is a loft inside.

Chairman Okum: When you purchased it was it an assembled shed or did it have to be built on site?

Ms. Stewart: It came in pieces, but I wasn’t there when they assembled it. It was pretty large pieces.

Chairman Okum: So it was like wall sections?

Ms. Stewart: Yes.

Chairman Okum: Does it appear that the wood floor is fastened to something?

Ms. Stewart: Yes.

Chairman Okum: Is it screwed down to it, or bolted?

Ms. Stewart: I think what he used was concrete slabs, bigger than bricks; but I think it is secured to the concrete.

Chairman Okum: The roof on it, is it a shingled roof?

Ms. Stewart: Yes.

Chairman Okum: So, the methodology to relocate it, it is not a shed that is fully assembled that is slid off of a truck and put on site?

Ms. Stewart: It was built on site.

Chairman Okum: If this were on skids and a pre-assembled unit, moving it would be reasonable. To take a structure that is assembled on site, that makes it a totally different animal; almost to the point of destroying the unit to move it. Based upon that, I will be supporting the variance for a 4’ setback.

Mr. Squires: I don’t see how it can be moved, and the resident said that there is enough room back there to maintain the shed. I will support it.

(At this time Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members and with 6 affirmative votes the request for variance at 221 Diston Lane was granted.)


B. Chairman Okum: The next item on the agenda is the owner at 534 West Kemper Road has applied for a variance to erect a 154 s.f. utility building. Said variance is requested from Section 153.492(B)(3) “Detached accessory building, other than garages shall not exceed 2% of the lot area or 12% of the area of the dwelling unit, whichever is less.”

    Mr. Chuck Lang: I have some graphics for the Board.
    (At this time Mr. Lang submitted additional drawings and photos to the Board of Zoning Appeals Members.)

Mr. Lang: The shed that was there, as you can see on the graphic / aerial, there was an existing concrete pad there that is larger than the shed that I had. I wanted to build the new shed to the maximum size that the pad would allow and the pad is 16’ X 11’ and I wanted to build the new shed 15’ X 10 ’, to basically maximize the existing concrete that was there. Other than the size, it meets the requirements.

Chairman Okum: This is not already built?

Mr. Lang: No.

Chairman Okum: This is a shed addition to your existing garage; it is physically attached to your existing garage?

Mr. Lang: Yes, sir; it will be. There would be no ingress or egress through the garage; there would be only one exterior door.

(At this time Mr. Campion read the Staff comments. Staff comments mentioned that the properties to the south are not in the City of Springdale; the Board of Zoning Appeals Members determined that the properties to the south were indeed within the City of Springdale.)

Chairman Okum: Mr. Campion, what is the size of garage that this property is allowed to have?

Mr. Campion: Eight hundred square feet.

Chairman Okum: According to the City Planner, accessory buildings cannot occupy more than 35% of the area of the rear yard. Is this 35% of the rear yard - it wouldn’t be on an acre or plus? Also, only one accessory building is permitted per lot. This is attached to the garage so it becomes part of the same structure / accessory building.

Mrs. Huber: There is no access from one to the other?

Chairman Okum: It wouldn’t matter; it is still attached and part of the same element; an addition of the garage.

Mr. Lang: It can be made so that it is not attached. I have drawn it up so that it could be done either way.

Chairman Okum: If it is attached, I am trying to understand if it is really in need of a variance because it just becomes a bigger garage.

Mr. Campion: At the end of the Staff report, it says the site is entitled to an accessory building that contains 837.8 s.f. based upon the lot size, or 137 s.f. based on the home size. When you add the addition to the garage, if it is 800 s.f. then he would be over the 37 s.f..

Chairman Okum: Whether you attach it or not, you can attach 37.8 s.f. onto your garage without a variance.

Mr. Lang: To the best of my understanding, it was whichever was “the less” and so I could only have the 134 s.f. based on the size of the square foot of our house.

Chairman Okum: That is your accessory building; that is other than the garage. It says “accessory buildings, other than garages cannot exceed 2% of the lot area or 12% of the area of the dwelling unit.” I am not sure; I think I need clarity.

(At this time Chairman Okum opened the floor to the public for comment; no one came forward and this portion of the meeting was closed.)

Mr. Hawkins: I am thinking along the same lines as the Chairman; I am questioning if a variance is needed. If it were to be put separate from the garage, would he also need a variance for having two accessory buildings?

Chairman Okum: A garage is not in that category, so you are allowed one accessory building in addition to the garage.

Mr. Emerson: When you approached the Building Department, did you approach it as a utility building or an add-on to your garage?

Mr. Lang: As a replacement utility building.

Mr. Emerson: I believe that an addition to the garage wouldn’t be an issue.

Chairman Okum: As long as it doesn’t exceed the limit that is allowable by Code for the garage; and we have to clarify that.

Mr. Squires: I am thinking along the same lines as Mr. Emerson. Is it irrelevant whether or not there is a door connecting the garage and the connected utility building?

Chairman Okum: I do not believe that you can dictate whether there is a door connecting the spaces.

Mr. Squires: What size garage can he have; he has a huge lot?

Mr. Emerson: I would say that it would be based on the minimum square foot of the home.

Chairman Okum: We have garages on Kemper Road that are physically bigger garages than the house.
There is no sense keeping this gentleman here any longer tonight. Sir, based upon the information we still need to gather and since you have presented more information tonight regarding it being attached to your garage; if you want it to be separated from your garage, then we will hear the case tonight, or if you want it to be attached to the garage then we need clarity and more information from Staff and we will carry it forward. We are going to let you decide.

Mr. Lang: I honestly have not done any research on the garage size; I was going to attach it for structural integrity.

Mr. Campion: Under “Definitions” it defines a garage as “a building used primarily for parking, storage and repair of vehicles”. When I look under the definition of “Accessory Building” it says “a subordinate building detached from the main building on the same lot or an adjacent lot of common ownership; the use of which is incidental or accessory to that of the main building or use, for the purpose of this Code detached building shall mean that the accessory building does not share a common wall or foundation with the principal building.”

Chairman Okum: Principal building being the home.

Mr. Lang: I would need to submit additional information?

Chairman Okum: You would need to apply for a building permit for an addition to your existing garage. At this point, you may not need a variance but I am not sure of that. The simplest way is to table it, if your intent is to build it off of the old garage.

Mr. Lang: Yes, it is; that would be my intent.

Chairman Okum: The applicant has indicated that he wishes us to continue.

Mr. Hawkins: I move to table the variance request from the owner of 534 West Kemper Road regarding a variance to erect a utility building, as it is stated currently.
Mr. Weidlich seconded the motion and with a unanimous “aye” vote from the Members present, the item was tabled.

C. Chairman Okum: The next item on the agenda is the owner of 12134 Kenn Road has applied for a variance to erect a 432 square foot utility building. Said variance is requested from Section 153.492(B)(3)”Detached accessory buildings other than garages shall not exceed 2.0% of the lot area, or 12% of the area of the dwelling unit, whichever is less”; also a variance request to keep chickens at 12134 Kenn Road, as referenced in  Section 153.496(C)“Fowl, rabbits, or bees may be raised or kept for a resident owner's use on a lot of not less than three acres of area, provided the structure containing such use shall be located not less than 100 feet from all adjoining residential lot lines.”
    Will the resident for the property please come forward?

    (At this time no one came forward.)

    Chairman Okum: We will give him a chance to get here and if he does not, we will table.

    Mr. Hawkins: I just want to disclose to the Board that the applicant had contacted me over a month ago regarding the issue of wanting to have chickens at their residence; they are a member of my district and they were directed to call me from the City’s Administration and so I did speak with them on the issue of the process that they would have to go through if they wanted to have chickens on their property, that ultimately they would have to come before the Board of Zoning Appeals. I believe that I can still be fair and impartial if we go through and have this hearing but if there are any concerns I have no problem recusing myself.

    Chairman Okum: In doing his duty as a Council Representative for a resident of the community, that is common and I could not hold that against him as long as he discloses the information, I can see him making a very, very fair judgment. I would not suggest that you recuse yourself from this.
We need to give this person a chance to come in tonight; we have one other item on the agenda, so we will move on to that item and if the representative for
12134 Kenn Road shows up we will consider it.


D. Chairman Okum: The owner of 12050 Princeton Pike / Staples has applied for a variance to increase the area of on-building signage.

Mr. Jay Perin: With me tonight is my father, Joe Perin and my mother, Pat Perin. We are seeking a variance for the amount of signage allowed on the property at 12050 Princeton Pike; the Staples building. At present the darkened windows give the appearance of a business that has gone dark, or off hours and it has become an issue for the tenant and therefore for the landlord. The tenant has been working with us to try to arrive at some means of addressing this issue. What Joe Perin is showing the Board is the means by which this could be done.

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

Chairman Okum: At this point we will open the hearing for those that would like to comment in regard to this request.

(No one came forward from the audience and this potion of the hearing was closed.)

Chairman Okum: In the Staff comments, Ms. McBride has recommended that this Board continue this in progress to allow you the opportunity to submit a detail of your signage for your building?

Mr. Jay Perin: Yes, sir.

Chairman Okum: And Staff does not have that square footage yet?

Mr. Joe Perin: We just got that yesterday; we didn’t get the answer until yesterday night.

Chairman Okum: You do understand why Staff would want those calculations? Do you want us to consider your application without those numbers?

Mr. Joe Perin: We have those numbers here.

Chairman Okum: I understand, but unless we have our City Planner and our City Building Official review those numbers…we will do that, if that is what you want, Mr. Perin, but typically at Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals those numbers are verified because the way things are measured are not always the same. My recommendation would be that you have those verified, but I am totally open and this is a public hearing, you have an opportunity to present your case. I will say that, without knowing anything, without the numbers being reviewed by Staff I would probably not support a variance. Do you want us to continue?

Mr. Jay Perin: Would it save time if we were to focus maybe on a little bit of theory tonight?

Chairman Okum: That is really not the purpose of the Board, but if you want to, that is fine. Do you want to do that before you have actual numbers or do you want to do that after you get those numbers?

Mr. Jay Perin: Does it hurt the case if we proceed with some of the overview of what the concept is tonight, with an understanding that it would probably be continued?

Chairman Okum: Not at all; we are here at your pleasure. I will say that
Mr. Reichert is not here and he is a voting member of this Board.

Mr. Jay Perin: We have preliminary numbers that are obviously not verified by Staff, so you can get a sense as to what the size is for the variance that we are requesting. We would be prepared now to proceed along more theoretical lines to give you a sense as to where we are going, and if you see any objections we would appreciate your guidance. At present we have a total of 227.6 s.f.; that is the sum of the north and the west signage. The building, I think, allows for 340 s.f. We have in reserve a margin of 112.4 s.f. This graphic (Mr. Joe Perin and Mr. Jay Perin provided a diagram board of the proposed changes to signage) suggests that we would need a variance of about 368 s.f.

Mr. Emerson: Is that 480 s.f., plus?

Mr. Jay Perin: They are undersigned at present; there is 112.4 s.f. in reserve and with the additional 480 s.f., back out the 112.4 and that brings it to 368 s.f.

Mr. Joe Perin: Would the Board be open to other issues that wouldn’t require signage?

Chairman Okum: I think they need to be germane to the need for the signage; the atmospheric signage that you want to put on there. We, as people that interpret the legislative approved regulations, understand in Planning and Zoning that content is not for us to determine. In the questionnaire that this Board is governed to try to assemble into language a variance, “A” – “G”, those are the guidelines that apply to us.

Mr. Joe Perin: Can we show you some alternates that wouldn’t require a variance?

Chairman Okum: If it wouldn’t require a variance then we wouldn’t be hearing it.

Mr. Joe Perin: After the rejection of the white windows that we requested, they are having a real problem with the sun; there is a heat problem in the building and glass has broken several times from the heat. The western side of the building gets real hot with that black plastic on top of the windows and they have had to replace it several times where the heat cracks the windows.

Mr. Jay Perin: If the black film were to be replaced with a more reflective coating, would that require a variance?

Chairman Okum: That would be a building elevation change and that would require Planning Commission review.

Mr. Joe Perin: Can I show you something that you might give us input.

Chairman Okum: That is fine but if it is on the signage end then it is for this Board; if it is aesthetics to the building and building elevation changes then it goes to Planning Commission and I don’t want to waste your time.
This Board is more than open to listen.

(At this time Mr. Joe Perin and Mr. Jay Perin presented drawings showing possible changes to the Staples Store for the Board of Zoning Appeals Members to view.)

Chairman Okum: One drawing shows white windows with red stripes and the other is mirrored glass and the other would be signage in between the glass; those are building elevations. The glass changes would be Planning Commission, strictly and that wouldn’t involve Board of Zoning Appeals. Signage would definitely fall under this Board. If you want us to vote on the information you have given us, the motion would be phrased based upon those numbers and we could poll this Board.

Mr. Jay Perin: We would like to proceed.

Chairman Okum: The applicant has asked that we package a motion to allow an additional 368 s.f. of signage to be allowed on the site in addition to the 112.4 s.f. of surplus signage that is not currently used on the facility.

Mr. Joe Perin: Has all of the Members received the report, the answers that we gave to the office?

Chairman Okum: Yes, sir; every Board of Zoning Appeals Member has a complete response list.
To rephrase the wording of the motion: A motion from the floor to allow the Staples at 12050 Princeton Pike facility to have a signage increase of 368 s.f. over the allowable signage of 340s.f., for a total of 708s.f.
Mr. Squires: So moved.
Mrs. Huber seconded the motion.

Mr. Joe Perin: We were living in Hawaii at the time that Staples requested that the north side be the entrance. When they presented it to us it showed the glass coming out and the EIFS in there. I signed the o.k. and gave it to the Building Department; and I guess I signed my life because while we were in Hawaii they changed from the EIFS all white building to our block that we were wanting to be done and the Planning Commission and Staff changed it to the black windows to keep the windows there. It has been a real hardship since that time because the black windows have just killed business for Staples. When we were there this was one of Staples number one or number two stores in the City and now they are at the bottom of the list. They say that they can’t afford to keep it unless they get some changes and get rid of the black windows because everyone driving by thinks that the store is closed. When I talked to a lot of people trying to rent our former furniture store in the Rhodes building, when they went bankrupt many of them want to know what is wrong with Staples, “Are they going out of business?” It is making it very difficult to rent that store.

Chairman Okum: I can tell you that I serve on both Boards; Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals and I will say that Planning Commission from my historical recollection, and you were not here when Staples made that change, encouraged Staples not to change the front entrance to that business to the side because we felt that it was basically going to impact their business model; people seeing an active store. Staples was insistent that their prototype showed that was the way it needed to be because of their floor plan and their layout.

Mr. Joe Perin: It was the prototype for all of their stores all over the country. We also agreed that they should have kept the west side entrance.

Chairman Okum: It is unfortunate because it really does impact whether that store looks open or not. If it was painted white it wouldn’t make any difference because the cars aren’t parked there. When you go by Staples, you don’t see any of the cars parked in their lot and the reason is because they are all parked around to the other side mostly. It is a negative to what they did to themselves, it is not your fault, I understand that but in my opinion they have really shot themselves in the foot by taking away their exposure to many cars a day that go past that building.

Mr. Joe Perin: We got hurt by a couple million dollars with the by-pass and where the road was torn up five years instead of two years.

Chairman Okum: We have a motion to consider and there are no motions to amend.

(At this time Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Members present and with 2 “aye” votes and 4 “no” votes the request for variance was denied.)


C. Chairman Okum: We need to call back the item for the owner of 12134 Kenn Road who has applied for a variance. Is the representative for the property present?
    (No one came forward to represent the variance request for 12134 Kenn Road.)
    Just for the record; I appreciate the audience for coming tonight, you are obviously residents and I want to recognize that you are here and if you understand that we have to give an opportunity for someone to present their case and if you are here for the case of 12134 Kenn Road (five residents in the audience nodded in agreement), I am not going to ask what your position is, you will have your opportunity. For your benefit we are going to entertain a motion to table and it will be carried forward to the next meeting and the applicant will have an opportunity to make their presentation. We certainly hope you come back and thank you for coming. The next Board of Zoning Appeals meeting will be July 19th, 2011 and Mr. Weidlich will be here Chairing the meeting because I will be out of town.

    Mr. Campion: As a point of record, will we notify these people again?

    Chairman Okum: Would you like to be directly notified, if there is any change in the application?

    Resident: I am surprised that my neighbor next door is not here and it looks like they have been out of town, so I would like you to re-advertise.

    Chairman Okum: Advertise?

    Mr. Campion: Re-advertise?

    Resident: Please.

    Chairman Okum: The residents have requested that we re-advertise and I don’t see any problem with that, I think it is necessary. We will make sure that is done.
    Can we have a motion to table?

    Mrs. Huber: I move to table.
    Seconded by Mr. Weidlich and with 5 affirmative votes and one “no” vote the item was tabled.
   

   
XI DISCUSSION

Chairman Okum: Any items for discussion?

Mr. Weidlich: Does everyone know that we have lost our AAA office; it moved to Forest Park.



XII ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Squires moved to adjourn, Mr. Weidlich seconded the motion and with a unanimous “aye” vote from the Board of Zoning Appeals Members present, the meeting adjourned at 8:38 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

________________________,2011 ___________________________________
            Chairman Dave Okum



________________________,2011 ___________________________________
            Secretary Jane Huber