17 AUGUST 2004

7:00 P.M.

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

  4. Members Present: Robert Emerson, Fred Borden, Marge Pollitt

    James Squires, Robert Weidlich, Jane Huber

    and Chairman Okum

    Others Present: Richard G. Lohbeck, Inspection Supervisor

  7. Mr. Borden said on Page 2, I would suggest that the discussion be labeled as "Discussion". Mr. Squires moved to approve and Mr. Borden seconded the motion. All voted aye, and the Minutes were approved unanimously.

    1. 8/10/04 Letter from Bill McErlane to Harry Debruyn, 257 West Kemper Road
    2. Zoning Bulletin – July 10, 2004
    3. Zoning Bulletin – July 25, 2004
    1. Report on Council Activities – Jim Squires
    2. Mr. Squires said Council will have their first meeting in August tomorrow night, so there is no report.

    3. Report on Planning Commission – Dave Okum

    Mr. Okum said we had no meeting this month, so there is no report.

    1. Harry Debruyn, 257 West Kemper Road requests variance to allow the construction of a 24’ x 24’ utility building on his property. Said variance is requested from Section 153.492(B) (3) "..shall not exceed 120 s.f." – Tabled 7/20/04

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

    Mr. Okum said you have a copy of the letter of August 10, 2004 from the City of Springdale to the applicant. This is regarding this requested variance, and this variance only. The reason I state that this way is because if the owner of the property comes in with another variance request for something different, the board could hear that case. But this particular variance was tabled at the June and July meetings.


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    Mr. Okum added that the letter sent to the applicant made them aware that the matter would be heard this evening and if they wished to withdraw their request, they would need to sign the statement below which stated that they were requesting it to be withdrawn. Otherwise, they were informed that the board could take action on the requested variance.

    Mr. Squires asked if the applicant responded to the letter, and they have not. Mr. Borden commented so can we assume that they don’t want to withdraw this? Mrs. Webb reported that they have built a 10’ x 12’ shed on their property which is according to code. Mr. Okum added according to this letter, if their withdrawal is not received, the board will make a decision on the request at this meeting. I think it is better to put a rest to this variance even though they did not respond.

    Mrs. Huber moved to approve the variance and Mrs. Pollitt seconded the motion. All voted no, and the variance was denied with seven affirmative votes.

    1. Gertrude Seiter, owner of property at West Kemper and Greenlawn Avenue requests variances to allow the construction of a 1,875 s.f. single family residence. Said variances are requested from Section 153.072(A) "minimum rear yard setback of 40 feet" and Section 153.075(A) "minimum area..shall be 2,000 s.f."

Steve O’Callaghan said I am representing Mrs. Seiter There are two parcels at the corner of Greenlawn Avenue and West Kemper Road. They previously were a part of a much larger parcel that was subdivided when the Cloverdale Subdivision was designed.

As it presently stands, we have just under ˝ acre on one parcel and 12/10ths of an acre on the other.

The preliminary plot plan shows the combined lot plat with both of those lots, making it a 125’ by roughly 210‘ single family lot.

In order to be very conservative, I am requesting two variances. It is quite possible that the minimum square footage may be the only variance I will need, but I wanted to ask for them both based on our interpretation of what the code presently states.

The first variance is for the minimum square footage required for a single family residence. The home will be 1875 s.f. three bedroom ranch, with a very contemporary design, and cathedral ceilings throughout. By some common appraisal standards they count part of that in the square footage. If I were to count that as an appraiser would, I would exceed the 2,000 s.f.

At that point we researched the surrounding properties, and found that this new structure will range from six to 36% larger than any of the neighboring properties. The property directly across the street is closest in size and it is six per cent smaller.



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Mr. O’Callaghan added we felt our request for this variance, based on the property value of this structure when it is completed is a reasonable one.

The second variance is unique because this is a corner lot, and with a corner lot, you have two front yard setbacks. Two front yard setbacks force me into this back right hand corner. The present code states two front yards, one side yard and one rear yard, but it doesn’t speak to the orientation of the home. The lay person would assume that wherever the house faces would be your front yard, and my request is generated from that perspective. However if I treated this lot as any other standard lot with its normal frontage on West Kemper Road, the rear yard would be 125 foot yard which based on our orientation is the side yard. If I view that as a rear yard, I technically don’t have to ask you for a variance. We held our house 40 feet from that property line, implying that it was the rear yard.

Some of the reasons why we placed the house in this configuration were due to the topography of that lot, the sight distance at that corner and the drainage characteristics of that corner. There is a large headwall where the storm water drains right at that corner. It is performing very very well and there doesn’t appear to be any erosion, but it is quite deep from a topographic standpoint.

If we were to front the house along Kemper and push it closer to Kemper, the reconfiguration of the lot would require us to put in fill and alternate drainage structures. It would not make the yard as usable, but our primary thought was if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. If we moved fresh dirt, and we would do everything we could to minimize the erosion, but we could potentially create an erosion.

This is a gorgeous corner and sets very nicely the way we have configured it. It is representative of the rest of the homes on that street, and setting back 117 feet off Kemper, it will feel like the rest of Greenlawn. By doing so, the depth of this house at 54 feet will encroach the property line to the west by four feet, 36 feet instead of the required 40. If you contend that the property line to the north, opposite West Kemper, would be viewed as my rear yard, then I could rescind the request for the variance.

I am a residential home builder, so I understand all the efforts that go into the Zoning Code and the fact that variances are not well received. I don’t take them lightly; we prefer not to ask for them but given the nature of this lot and the setting and all of the considerations we have evaluated, we feel that the placement of the home on the lot that we propose would be the best for the community as a whole as well as for Mr. and Mrs. Seiter.

Mr. Lohbeck reported that the applicant is requesting a variance from Section 153.072(A), which requires a 40 foot rear yard (36’ proposed) and from Section 153.075(A), which requires the dwelling unit area to be 2,000 s.f. minimum (1875 s.f. proposed).




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Mr. Lohbeck stated that the applicant would like to orient the building facing Greenlawn Avenue which causes the rear yard to be opposite the Greenlawn front yard. The depth of the lot in this direction is only 125 feet, leaving only a 36-foot rear yard with the house as proposed.

The 25-foot parcel was split from the lot at 578 West Kemper Road to be attached to the corner parcel. The lot split was approved by variance in March of 1995.

Should the board agree that the variances are justified, staff would recommend that they be conditioned on the following:

    1. The two parcels, 25’ wide and 100’ wide must be consolidated.
    2. The structure shall have the architectural appearance of the drawings presented, and exterior finish shall be brick with the exception of gables and bay window.

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

Addressing the applicant, Mr. Squires said for the record, your report states that you intend to merge the two lots into one lot which would measure approximately 125’ x 210’. That is a given; they will be merged.

My second question has to do with these vaulted ceilings. According to your report "further approximately 700 s.f. of the dwelling shall contain vaulted cathedral ceilings, which under typical industry appraisal standards, can be counted at ˝ their main floor dimensions toward determining the marketable square foot coverage." Mr. Squires asked Mr. Lohbeck about this.

Mr. Lohbeck responded it has nothing to do with the Building Department. Mr. Okum added it is an appraisal value to determine loan and market value. It has nothing to do with the Zoning Code that we follow. Those calculations may add value to the home, and I believe that they would, but they don’t change our zoning requirements for 2,000 s.f.

Mr. Borden asked if there were any reason why he couldn’t build a 2,000 s.f. home. Mr. O’Callaghan responded that one would be a financial consideration. With the way this home is configured, it is going to be quite expensive for that neighborhood. First and foremost, the issue is I am already at my limits on the footprint on that lot. If we made it any deeper, we would aggravate the problem.

Mr. Squires said you want that house to face Greenlawn because of the topography and the drainage. Mr. O’Callaghan added by placing it back as far as we did, the home immediately to the west sets at a standard setback off West Kemper. Its rear yard would be in the rear yard of this structure, so the appearance of space between the structures would be equal to or greater than if it was at 40’. .


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Mr. Squires asked if there were another dwelling to the south or north of you that would have a 36’ setback as well. Mr. O’Callaghan responded the house to the north is at 40’. Our foundation is deeper than theirs. Mr. Squires said so it wouldn’t line up. Mr. O’Callaghan answered the front would, but the rear wouldn’t. It will be one of the largest structures on that street, with the exception of the home directly across the street, which is 1946 s.f. but is a very wide structure. This one is almost 54’ x 54’; it is a large ranch.

Mrs. Pollitt said I appreciate the concern you have given to the drainage area there. The city went through there about four years ago and redid all the storm sewers. We had a tremendous number of problems with drainage there. Mr. O’Callaghan commented it seems to be working very well. Mrs. Pollitt answered we haven’t had complaints since then, even with a couple of 100-year storms. That is a key issue in my decision on this.

Mr. Okum said I think you have done a fine job with what you have. I do have a concern about the exposure of your southern wall of the dwelling, its orientation to Kemper Road. Even though it is brick, it is stark. Possibly you could add a couple of windows to break that elevation up.

The Zoning Code was rewritten to include that those corner lots had to be addressed as two fronts. In your case with the drain swale along the front, the owner will be taking on that responsibility as a part of their yard. Because of that orientation, I will have a little trouble with it. I would like to see you talk to the owners to see if there could be something done with that.

On the roof elevations, 6-12 is somewhat of a steep sloped roof, but it is maintainable, so as long as it would be no lower than a 6-12 pitch roof I would have no problems with that.

I would agree with staff’s recommendations that the properties should be consolidated, giving you the 36’ setback from that orientation.

How do you feel about putting a window or something to break that elevation on the west? Mr. O’Callaghan answered if we consider the way the bedrooms are set up in that house, could there be a landscaping option with some larger size trees or plants to break it up, rather than windows?

Mr. Okum responded the only thing you can’t gauge is ten or 15 years from now. I’m sure they will want something on that side of the house also. Mr. O’Callaghan commented we can certainly look at it. The front bedroom that the front bedroom is the biggest concern. If you don’t have windows on the front, it totally alters the elevation, and if we put one on the side, it limits you on placement of furniture. If it was the rear it could be dealt with. It is the front bedroom that would be the biggest challenge, and that is why I am looking for something we could do with landscaping. I understand that the longevity of that is a question.


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Mr. Okum asked if he were suggesting evergreens or vibernum; we would want something with longevity. Mr. O’Callaghan answered I know you wouldn’t want deciduous trees that would lose their leaves, so it would have to be some type of conifer. We will look at a way to break it up; I just want to keep our options open so if we can’t make the configuration work so the bedrooms are still usable, to have an alternate.

Mr. Okum said I’ll open it up to board members for any other discussion. I don’t have a problem with giving you the latitude to offer something, but it is a little hard to do that in the form of a motion in a variance. We are allowing for a smaller footprint home, but the exchange is that we are getting an all masonry home which is an asset to the community. If the house were larger, you would have to move the house closer to Kemper, and I don’t see much more benefit you would get out of it. That front bedroom would be a little bit larger, but I don’t think it would make much difference. Will this house have a full basement? Mr. O’Callaghan indicated that it would. Mr. Okum asked if there would be outside access to the basement, and Mr. O’Callaghan answered it would be from the inside.

Mr. Okum asked how high the house would be out of the ground, and Mr. O’Callaghan answered preliminary estimates would have the foundation six to 6˝ feet above the current curb height, which will split the difference between the house to the west and the house to the north. It would create a very gradual slope to that lot. It will have a side entry garage, so we are trying to make that side entry apron as flat and smooth as possible and still drain to the north.

There is a large knob in the center, and we will have to take that knob off before we stake the house. Mr. Okum asked where it would go, and Mr. O’Callaghan answered that it would go along the right side where the driveway will be. We will produce quite a bit of soil with this size basement, but we propose to keep it within that footprint and to the property line to the north. We will try to keep it out of the drainage area. By doing so, we can hold the driveway flatter and provide good drainage to the north. From what we understand the property directly behind it has a little bit of a drainage problem and they have offered to accept some of that dirt to fill the lower spot and address both yards so they drain west to east.

Mr. Okum said so you are saying that you will have some foundation exposure, potentially 24 inches, or more. Mr. O’Callaghan answered more than likely our foundation exposure will be eight to 18 inches. Mr. Okum commented I am more interested in the south side elevation, because it does fall away from that location. Mr. O’Callaghan answered based on the spoilage we are going to have, there will be no more than 24 inches on the south side. Mr. Okum commented we would like to see more dirt and grass there than we would foundation. Mr. O’Callaghan responded we will have enough fill around it; I want to stay within about a 40 to 50 foot radius of that end of the house so I don’t tamper with the drainage.


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Addressing the applicant, Mr. Okum said if there were conditions placed on your variance that the 25’ and 100’ parcels be consolidated, that the structure have the architectural appearance of the drawings presented, that the exterior finish shall be brick with the exception of the gables and the bay, and that the exposure of the foundation shall not exceed 18 inches, and that the owners shall place evergreens or permanent landscaping elements and/or windows to break the south elevation. Would that be something you could work with?

Mr. O’Callaghan said yes, we could show it on our revised plot plan.

Mr. Okum said the only thing I would add to that is to maintain a minimum of 6-12 roof pitch as presented on the drawings.

Mr. Weidlich moved to approve the variance to include the 36 foot rear yard setback, the 1,875 square foot residence with the conditions that the two parcels (25’ and 100’) shall be consolidated, the structure shall have the architectural appearance of the drawings, the exterior finish shall be brick with the exception of the gables and bay window and that there be no more than 18" of foundation exposed on any side, that the south side have some landscaping and/or window to break the appearance of that brick wall from Kemper Road.

Mr. Borden seconded the motion.

Mr. Okum said did you want to include the 6/12 pitch roof. Mr. Borden said it’s on the drawing. Mr. Okum responded we are not voting on the drawing; the drawing doesn’t become a part of the variance, unless it is attached. Mr. Borden said number two said appearance of the drawings. Mr. Weidlich said I don’t have a problem with including the 6/12 pitch roof. Mr. Borden said my second stands.

Mr. Okum asked if the owners (in the audience) were in agreement with the motion and they nodded that they were.

All voted aye, except Mrs. Huber who abstained and the variance was granted with six affirmative votes.

Mrs. Huber explained that she did not vote because the applicants are her first cousins and her aunt is the owner of the property.

  2. Mr. Squires said the Zoning Bulletin of July 10th has two articles that would be very important to this board. Mr. Borden asked about the earlier dog grooming application, adding that an article in the Zoning Bulletin indicated that we did have the authority to vote on a special use variance.

    Mrs. Webb reminded the members of the Special Training Session on Monday August 30th at 7:00 p.m. here in council chambers.


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Mr. Squires moved to adjourn and the Board of Zoning Appeals adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,



____________________, 2004 _________________________

David Okum, Chairman



_____________________, 2004 __________________________

Jane Huber, Secretary