BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING
AUGUST 16, 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, William Reichert, Jane Huber, Dave Okum

Others Present: Randy Campion

   
III PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE


IV MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF JULY 19, 2011

Mr. Reichert moved for adoption the July 19, 2011 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting minutes, Mr. Hawkins seconded the motion and with six aye votes and one abstention (Chairman Okum being absent from the July meeting) the Board of Zoning Appeals minutes were adopted.


V CORRESPONDENCE

Chairman Okum: I don’t believe we had any correspondence.


VI REPORT ON COUNCIL

Mr. Hawkins gave a review of the July 20th and August 3rd City Council meetings.


VII REPORT ON PLANNING COMMISSION

Chairman Okum gave a summary of the August 9th Planning Commission Meeting.


VIII CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT AND SWEARING IN OF APPLICANTS


IX OLD BUSINESS

There was no old business to present at this meeting.


X. NEW BUSINESS

A. Chairman Okum: 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”.

Mr. Aaron Schmits: I and my wife Kelly Schmits are the property owners of
12134 Kenn Road in Springdale. My wife and I are here today to petition the Zoning Board again to allow us to build a 12’ X 26’ out-building in variance of Springdale’s Zoning Code. We need a larger building than code allows to maintain our property and use our garage for our cars. The size of our property and equipment needed to maintain it exceeds the typical household in Springdale. Just maintaining our property takes five hours a week and this does not include any improvements we have made since moving in. The amount of space that the equipment currently occupies in our garage was not anticipated. In an effort to clear our yard and garage of any clutter, we are proposing to build this structure twelve feet longer than currently permitted. As our house was built before the majority of our neighbors in Springdale and the size of our garage is significantly smaller and shorter than the rest, we are already at a disadvantage as far as storage space goes. Given our current circumstances, we cannot park our vehicles in the garage; and with a child on the way I am sincerely concerned that my family will have to deal with snow and ice when I am at work. In an effort to not merely stack things and cover them with a tarp or leave things out in our yard as some people choose to do, we would like to securely protect and store our belongings. By chance I talked to Councilman Steve Galster about our current situation and he encouraged me to come back today and to ask once more for your support in this matter. My proposal is not extreme in any way and would do nothing but benefit all parties involved. By way of letter I personally invited all neighbors across the street next door and the ten closest houses on Yorkhaven to come over and see the building site and our current garage situation. All parties next door and across the street have responded positively, but I have not heard from any neighbors on Yorkhaven. I was verbally able to confirm that Greg and Lataska Gibson received our letter, as well as our neighbor at 722 Yorkhaven; unfortunately we were not contacted by either of these parties during the past three weeks. My wife and I are both school teachers, so we have been available and at home every day.
Mr. Gibson told me that he didn’t have time, after I personally invited him to look at the proposed site only thirty feet from where we were standing. Verbally,
Mr. Gibson is the only neighbor to express any concern but openly told me that it would do him no harm if our building was 12’ longer and he understands that we are trying to make space so that my wife and baby can get into a garage-kept car in the winter.

(At this time Mr. and Mrs. Schmits presented pictures of their house and property to the Board of Zoning Appeals Members using Power Point.)

Mr. Schmits continued: Also, we have petitioned other neighbors to either write of come to support us, if they felt they could support us; and I have a document that says it is prepared by Aaron and Kelly Schmits for surrounding neighbors. I have two neighbors that signed this form. (At this time Aaron and Kelly Schmits gave copies of the signed letters to the Board of Zoning Appeals Members.) I also have a handwritten letter from one off our neighbors on Yorkhaven and a letter from
Mr. and Mrs. Scott Hughes, they are our neighbors across the street on Kenn Road. (A copy of each letter was given to the Board.)

Chairman Okum: At this time we are going to have the Staff report.

(Mr. Campion read the Staff comments.)

Chairman Okum: We will now open up communications from the public.

Mrs. Lataska Gibson: I live at 718 Yorkhaven Road. This is definitely not personal, this is business. We are talking ordinance and that is what I want to focus on. He mentioned and read letters from neighbors and those neighbor’s property does not butt up against his; those neighbors are across the street neighbors. We are here because of how it affects us as homeowners. We have to remember at the previous meeting; I am not going to forget about the passion about the workshop and working on motorcycles. My main concern is if this building he is talking about is visual to us; we are more abutted back up against him, I think, than anyone.
When property is purchased you look at the square footage in your dwelling and you already know what you can accommodate for in the future and what you cannot accommodate. He has got farm mentality in his head; orchard and planting trees and I know he said there are no chickens today, but we cannot forget what we heard a month ago. As far as storage, it is called a shed; we have a snow blower, a riding lawnmower and we have tools; we don’t have children’s toys. In most cases an
8’ X 10’ or a 10’ X 10’ is enough to store your tools. I am a little concerned for the future, a very young married couple that has a vision. I do know that there is an ordinance in place for a reason. We are coming because it affects us, the selling of property. We have put investment into our home, as well. Nothing personal, it is business.

Mr. Greg Gibson: I live at 718 Yorkhaven Road. As my wife previously said concerning Aaron and his wife, I want to reiterate concerning the information that was placed in my mailbox; Aaron knows that we see each other in the back when we cut the grass on the riding mowers and we did have a brief talk and I did say that it would not affect me but I said that there is an ordinance in place. Whatever the ordinance says, I am going along with that; the ordinance was established prior to you and me purchasing the properties. Like my wife said, we are just concerned with our property if we ever intend to sell and we are going to abide by all the rules and regulations and ordinances that are already stipulated. Like the gentleman said prior in the meeting before, that when you do these variances, it is from then on.

Mr. James Gray: I live at 12121 Kenn Road. I have lived in Springdale for 25 years. I live directly across from the Schmits and I would like to know if these people here are so concerned about their house, why weren’t they doing something about the house when it was falling down but the Schmits are doing a great job; there is no reason why there is a problem for such a small request. He has been a great neighbor.

Mrs. Vicki Gray: I live with Mr. Gray, 12121 Kenn Road. We bought our house and raised three children there. When the house across the street was vacated there was two dead trees in the yard that we were concerned with every time there was a storm because those trees would have fallen over into our property, our electric lines; huge dead trees that were never cared for. Nothing was ever done in that house, the front door was broken and the screen door had a crack with tape on it for years. In regard to them wanting an extra large out-building, we needed a larger building, we anticipated that our building that we had applied for permit and put in our yard would be enough for a riding mower, a tiller, a cart for yard work, a snow blower, bicycles. The only thing that saved us is our out-building has a loft; so we have double space on top of ours. I applaud them for wanting to make use of their yard.

Mr. Scott Hughes: I live at 12111 Kenn Road; I don’t have a lot to say because I think my wife said it best in her letter, she was not able to be here today. We live across the street from the Schmits but they have greatly improved their property; what they put in the back of the property does not directly affect me or my family visually but everything that they have done is an improvement and for that reason I am for them having extra storage. Just like Vicki said, I would like to do more with my property. I have a storage shed that came with the property; it is full and I have stored many of the tools that I would need at my father’s house, and yet I would like a bigger storage shed. I am in favor of what they are proposing.

Chairman Okum: Is there anyone else that would like to address the Board?

(No one came forward and the public portion of the proceedings were closed.)

Chairman Okum: For purposes of bringing the item to the floor, we will entertain a motion for approval.

Mrs. Huber: I move to grant a variance from Section 153.492(B)(3) so as to allow for the construction of a structure 12’ X 36’ (432 s.f.) on property located at
12134 Kenn Road. Section 153.492(B)(3) detached accessory buildings, other than garages shall not exceed 2.0% of lot area of 12% of the area of the dwelling unit, whichever is less.
Seconded by Mr. Reichert.

Chairman Okum: I was not at the last meeting, but I did have an opportunity to read the minutes of the last meeting that were voted on tonight. In regard to Staff report, Staff indicated that the Auditor has listed square feet for your property and I was wondering if the Auditor did a recalculation when you enclosed that porch area?

Mrs. Schmits: When we first moved in we tried to challenge it because 1984 s.f. seemed kind of large square footage for that house. We didn’t want to pay more for insurance so I had contacted our insurance agent and tried to debate it to decrease our insurance amount. What our insurance agent found out is that our square footage includes the house, the breeze way even though it was not closed in at the time, and the storage area.

Mr. Campion: The permit that you have allows for a storage accessory building up to 288 s.f., because that was based on the auditor’s square footage at the website when you applied for the permit (2010). Today the website has a lower amount than it did last time and that would only allow you 238.8 s.f.

Mrs. Schmits: The insurance actually had someone come out and measure and calculate it and said that it matched with the Hamilton County Auditor.

Mr. Campion: We are working from the present numbers.

Chairman Okum: The present number is 238.8 s.f., that is permissible.

Mr. Reichert: Is there a one or two car garage at the property?

Mr. Schmits: It is a two car garage.

Mr. Squires: How did you come up with 432 s.f.?

Mr. Schmits: We would like to put a garage door on the end, an access door on one side and a garage door on the other side. The length of it was determined by the length of our garden. We estimated that with the amount of stuff that we have, we would still have extra room to put more stuff in there in the future.

Mr. Hawkins: The building would be 4 feet away from the fence for the garden?

Mr. Schmits: Yes, approximately that.

Mr. Hawkins: And that gives you enough space to be able to maintain the grass and what have you in between there?

Mr. Schmits: Yes.

Chairman Okum: Did you consider the possibility of doing a loft shed?

Mr. Schmits: The way I had the trusses designed, it is going to have an attic truss down the center of it.

Chairman Okum: How high is the ridge point?

Mr. Schmits: If I am not mistaken, it would be about 12’ to 13’ tall; given if the walls are 10’ tall.

Chairman Okum: What is the height of the garage door?

Mr. Schmits: It is a standard garage door.

Chairman Okum: If you were your neighbor and you were in a position looking from their neighbor’s yard, is there a shielded area that they are not going to be looking at the broad side of barn; would the neighbors on the properties behind you be looking at the long side or the narrow side of this building?

Mr. Schmits: The neighbors next to Greg and Lataska would be looking at the long side and I am not sure how much would be visible from their home.

Chairman Okum: So the closest house, from what I can see, to this outdoor-storage building is actually on Greencastle.

Mr. Weidlich: Mr. Schmits, I still have a problem with the size of this out-building; because it is so huge, it is 181% of what code allows. Is there any chance of reducing it down some to be able to do what you want?

Mr. Schmits: I would prefer not to go smaller than what we requested.

Chairman Okum: Mr. Campion, what is the maximum height that their outdoor-storage building can be?

Mr. Campion: It says that “No accessory structure shall exceed 16 feet in height, and the main dwelling can be 30 feet”.   

Chairman Okum: Given that, you could go 16’ instead of 13’; would that change your perspective of that attic space that could be a little bit bigger.

Mr. Schmits: I would opt to have it be shorter than taller just because we don’t want to store a lot of the lawn equipment up in the building; I would really like to go with the current design that we proposed.

Mr. Reichert: One of the solutions from the last month was if the house was a little larger, you would be in compliance because your lot would allow it. Maybe an addition down the road as your family gets larger; you may very well add an addition and then you would be right in compliance at that point with your request. Keeping that in mind and tucked away where you have it, I don’t have a lot of problem with the visual except for that one side; so I have changed my mind and I am very much in favor of this motion that you put forward. I also want to applaud all of the people who are here tonight and last month that spoke; everybody is referred to as neighbors, they are not adjacent residents, they are neighbors and that is what our community needs is a bunch of neighbors.

Mr. Emerson: The overhead door, is it going to be away from Kenn Road or facing Kenn Road?

Mr. Schmits: Facing Kenn Road.

Chairman Okum: I would suggest to the Board if you are going to finalize a motion for consideration, that you stipulate the location of the accessory structure so that if they decide to relocate it or someone else purchases the property, you would stipulate where that location would be on the property. If you wish to make a motion to amend, now is the time to do it.

Mr. Reichert: I would like to make an amendment to the original motion, stating that the long direction of the building would be east to west and the 12’ or the shorter side would be north to south, located in the spot indicated by the submitted drawing; and that there is a 13’ limit on the maximum height of the building.
Mr. Hawkins seconded the motion to amend.

Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members and with seven affirmative votes the amendment to the motion was accepted.

Chairman Okum: There is a cluster of trees surrounding the front that faces
Kenn Road and there is a cluster of trees behind the building, if there were restrictions that you don’t remove vegetation so that the building would be screened, and that would mean that if you did remove you would have to replace,
so that there is screening.

Mr. Reichert: I would like to add that amendment, as well. That the vegetation on the north, east and west shall remain screening the building from adjacent property owners; should the vegetation be removed, the applicant is responsible for screening the building with appropriate vegetation.
Mr. Squires seconded the additional amendment to the motion.

Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members and with seven affirmative votes the additional amendment to the motion was accepted.

Mr. Emerson: Mr. Schmits, north of where you are planning on putting your shed, how much of that vegetation is in your yard and how much is in your neighbor’s yard; it looks pretty thick, is it half and half?

Mr. Schmits: We would assume so. The neighbor behind us on Greencastle we have never met. The vegetation is so thick, even if they are outside working in their yard you would never notice they are there.

Mr. Campion: From the site plan it looks like half.

Chairman Okum: A 12’ X 36’ shed really jumped out at me, so I did a lot of the math and I reversed it around and made it 20’ X 24’ and calculated to see how the square footages would come out to get close to what was permitted. Mr. Reichert’s comment is a valid comment for a property of this nature in this residential neighborhood, especially in a particular situation with this site that has the opportunity for expanded space. Because of the screening and the vegetation condition that this Board has placed on the property, because of the limitation of height and because it does face the direction that this Commission has moved to amend, I will be supporting the motion.

Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members on the double amended motion and with six affirmative votes and one “no” vote the amended motion was approved with conditions.

Mr. Campion: Your permit expired about one week ago. If you would, come into our office with your plans and get a new permit based on the variance.



XI ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Reichert moved to adjourn, Mr.Weidlich seconded the motion and the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting adjourned at 8:36 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

________________________,2011 ___________________________________
            Chairman Dave Okum



________________________,2011 ___________________________________
            Secretary Jane Huber