BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING
AUGUST 18, 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, Jane Huber, Dave Okum,
William Reichert, Robert Emerson, and Randy Danbury

Others Present: Randy Campion, Inspection Supervisor
   
III. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE


IV. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 21 JULY, 2009

Mrs. Huber moved for acceptance the July 21, 2009 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting minutes, Mr. Weidlich seconded the motion and with 6 “aye” votes and
Mr. Danbury abstaining, the July 21, 2009 Board of Zoning Appeals minutes were adopted.

V. CORRESPONDENCE

a. Zoning Bulletin - July 10, 2009
b. Zoning Bulletin - July 25, 2009


VI. REPORT ON COUNCIL

No report presented on Council.

VII. REPORT ON PLANNING COMMISSION

Chairman Okum gave the report on Planning Commission summarizing two items on the agenda; a pylon sign panel for Pappadeaux at 11970 Northwest Boulevard and a wireless communication tower Conditional Use Permit that was tabled to the September 8, 2009 Planning Commission Meeting as a continuation of a Public Hearing.
Chairman Okum also reported the Committee from Planning Commission had its first meeting looking into modification to the existing Zoning Code concerning digital display signs.

VIII. CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT AND SWEARING IN OF APPLICANTS

IX. OLD BUSINESS

A. The owner of 33 West Kemper requests a variance to allow signage to remain on the light poles. Said variance is from Section 153.531(D)(2) “Pole signs shall be limited to not more than one such sign…”

Mr. Fred Mangold: Since the last meeting, Randy Campion and I got together and we changed the signs at 1280 E. Kemper to directional signs, “Used Cars”; at 33 West Kemper, the Chevrolet location, I took down all but 4 pole signs, two on each side of the poles.
Mr. Campion: You had 10 signs and you reduced it to 4 signs.

Chairman Okum: So your request is officially to reduce the signs to four?

Mr. Mangold: Yes.

Chairman Okum: So the square footage changed to 64 s.f. at 33 West Kemper.

Mr. Reichert: I make a motion that we accept the adjusted signs to 4, as stated, an additional 64 s.f.
Mr. Weidlich seconded the motion.

Mr. Campion: Also in your motion, we still need a variance to grant additional pole signs for 11521 Princeton Pike, this will be adding the additional signs; I think it is all one property.

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

Chairman Okum: Although you have lowered the signage down, you are still requesting a sign variance for 757.7 s.f., from the 693.7 s.f. variance that you were already granted.

Mr. Reichert: I would like to withdraw my motion, at this time.
Mr. Weidlich also withdrew his second on the motion.

Mr. Reichert: I would like to make a motion to grant a variance for the two parcels: 33 West Kemper and 11521 Princeton Pike, with said inclusion of additional 7 signs on the Princeton Pike property and also an additional 4 pole signs on the West Kemper Road side, 757.7 s.f. of signage.

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

Chairman Okum: So these are basically directional signage?

Mr. Mangold: Yes, they either say “Used Cars” or they say “New Cars”. We took all the other signs down.

Chairman Okum: All present need to realize that once a variance is granted it stays with the property forever. One thing that Mr. Mangold had indicated is the signs would remain on the second row of lights internal to the parking area.

Mr. Reichert: I would like to amend my motion for the signage to be located on the second row of lights from the street front.
Mr. Diehl seconded the motion.

Mr. Campion: He has moved the signs to the 3rd row of light poles from the road.
The only other point I want to make is you are adopting a variance to allow more pole signs and I think that you should clarify that these pole signs are 2’ X 8’ signs to be mounted on existing light poles.

Mr. Reichert: I would like to amend the motion once again to 2’ X 8’ tall vertical signs on poles to be located on at least the 2nd row of existing light poles or farther from the street frontage.
Mr. Emerson: I will second the amended motion.

Mr. Diehl: Rather than saying 2’ X 8’, that means all signs in the future have to be
2’ X 8’, I would rather say 16 square feet.

Mr. Weidlich: I kind of disagree with that because I think the 2’ tall is more aesthetically pleasing to the eye than just having a 6’ or 8’ wide sign by 2’ high which somebody could do in the future.
Chairman Okum: They can always come back and request a change to the variance. If we hold them to it I think it gives some control to whoever is in these seats ten years from now if they decide to change it. The only thing that is etched in stone is the quantity and what we make as far as the conditions on the amendment. I will support the amendment based upon the fact that holding it to 2’ wide by up to 8’ tall; and if they want to change that they can come back to the Board.

Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members on the amendment to the motion and with a 7-0 “aye” vote the amendment to the motion was accepted.

Mrs. Huber then polled the Board on the amended motion and with a 7-0 “aye” vote the amended motion was approved to grant a variance for the two parcels at
33 West Kemper and 11521 Princeton Pike, with said inclusion of additional 7 signs on the Princeton Pike property and also an additional 4 pole signs on the West Kemper Road side, 757.7 s.f. of signage. Signage must be 2’ X 8’ tall vertical signs on poles located on at least the 2nd row of existing light poles or farther from the street frontage.

X. NEW BUSINESS

A. The owner of 775 Ledro Street requests a variance to allow the elimination of the garage. Said variance is from Section 153.105(B) “A single two-car garage and related parking area is required…”

Mr. Richard Hake: I am representing Bill Cochran.

Chairman Okum: And what is your relationship?

Mr. Hake: I am managing his properties.

Chairman Okum: We have a Power of Attorney so you can speak for the applicant.

Mr. Hake: The tenant has been in this house longer than three years. I would guess that the garage was converted in the 1980’s, but I am not sure exactly.

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

(Chairman Okum opened the floor to the audience for comments.)

Tammy Merritt: I live at 848 Castro Lane. The person that owns this property owns two others and three right there in the subdivision on Ledro, as I understand they want to make the garage a living space to put more people in it and I have seen that happen since I have been there, I have lived there eight years and it is continuing to happen and so that is why I am here. I will do what I can to stop it.

Mr. Art Brockman: I live at 840 Ledro, right next door to this house. I have begged Springdale to do something about the living conditions of this place for eleven years. With the tenants that they bring in here, and the lady that just spoke hit it right on the head, you let two people come in and all of a sudden you have got six. It has been going on all over with this Section 8 people. The house over there is in shambles. They have been warned and warned over there about the grass cutting, the garbage in the back yard, painting of the fences, the soffits under the house have been naked with animals going up in there, which I have seen and brought to the attention of the City people. They will not comply with the code; squirrels, birds, raccoons and whatever has been going up in these soffits. I have been gone to Canada for the last two weeks and if it has been fixed I don’t know for sure. The wiring on the outside of the house is naked causing a hazard of fire. With the animals that have been going up in there, especially squirrels I know because I have seen in past houses that this causes a fire hazard to the people who live in it plus myself. I am here for the first time, I have lived in Springdale for 60 years and I have seen a lot of changes. I have known Mrs. Huber and she has known my mother for years and we have seen a lot of changes in Springdale. I hate to say this but anymore Springdale used to be a beautiful place to live with a lot of beautiful people; it is going downhill. These houses around here they put these Section 8 people in, they expand the people in these houses two to four times over what is suppose to be in there. I lived at
477 West Kemper Road prior to moving to 840 Ledro, the same conditions happen there, people living in the house eight and ten people at a time. You people have to do something about the conditions that neighbors live with around Heritage Hill and all of Springdale. I tell you it is really getting to be a mess. In sixty years I have seen a lot of changes, a lot for the good but there has been a lot for the bad. This house over there is terrible, my property value has probably dropped and I don’t know how much; I keep my house and our property and I have a lot of people say to me how nice it looks and I want to keep it there but we need to get these places cleaned up.

Mr. Danbury: That is one of the biggest issues we have facing us, we are an aging community and we have a Housing Board that we have established within the last three years; we just put in legislation about a year ago that anybody that rents out a house they have to register with the City and it is $50.00 a year. It allows the City within a two year period to go in there and inspect the house and look for different items that are going to protect the integrity of the neighborhood and it is also going to protect the homeowner. We have a lot of people living in Florida or California, they buy houses and as long as they get the rent. We have a lot of problems with people coming in from different cultures and they will bring in and pack them in, so we established a number of occupants based on the square footage and we have found a lot of people in violation of this. We have a property Hot Line that you can call up and be totally anonymous and say that there is a property that needs to be looked at.
We have one person and that is his entire job to look for violators.

Mr. Brockman: Your inspectors have been at this location I know five or six times.

Chairman Okum: This is 775 Ledro, right now. We do have two variances before us. We have to stay strictly to 775 Ledro in our discussion.

Mr. Brockman: Yes. That is the house I am talking about. But the inspectors have been there numerous times and they have seen the property in the condition it is. The grass gets cut maybe two or three times a year. The back yard three weeks ago to a month, the weeds and a hole back there that holds water has mosquito hazard. I have told them about this and they say that they will have something done and nothing has been done. When you have grass cut once a month and everybody else around keeps their area the way it is supposed to be and we continuously have this problem. This has been going on with this house for eleven years.
Excuse me, this is 846 Ledro.

Chairman Okum: Mr. Brockman has indicated that his comments are in regard to
846 Ledro Street.
We will get back to 775 Ledro.

Mr. Hake: The only reason I am here is because of the Building Inspector who has been through it and the garage conversion wasn’t on record. I am just trying to get it in Code; I paid my $50.00 and I abide by the City rules and regulations. That house looks very good on the outside; they take very good care of 775 Ledro.

Chairman Okum: Until the property inspection program for rental properties was instituted, we did not have these cases before this Board, but very rarely. We do now because of the inspection program that is going on; they are going into the rental homes. A lot of the garage conversions have occurred for years and nobody got permits for them, nobody got any inspections.

Mr. Campion: I just want to add one thing; the occupant load is based on the square footage of the house and based on the size of the bedrooms. So in this case, the garage conversion cannot be used as a bedroom, it can only be used as a living room. It does increase the square footage of the building by 200 s.f. livable space but it doesn’t affect the occupant load.
Deanna Merritt: I live at 848 Castro Lane. I hear everything you are saying but I watch them play musical house. When I called the building inspector for cars being worked on; and before I came up here he is working on bricks on one and he is backing up the street right across from the rental house and there is about 12 or 15 people living there. They play musical house. When I called on the other one because of the noise and I don’t know how many lived in there. This man is saying that it can only be used for living space and not a bedroom; but a room as a living space, all they use is mattresses on trucks.

Chairman Okum: According to our code there is four adults permitted for that house.

Deanna Merritt: How do you enforce that?

Mr. Danbury: We should just be talking about 775 Ledro. We have had monitors that we will check people coming in and out; we do have cameras. We encourage people to go to the neighborhood watch programs to be able to help out.

Deanna Merritt: It is a rental property and the owner lives in Tennessee.

Mr. Hake: The only reason I am requesting the variance is to comply with the Code.

Chairman Okum: This portion of the public hearing is closed on this property only and we will receive a motion.

Mrs. Huber: I move to grant a variance from Section 153.105(B) so as to allow an existing garage conversion into living space to remain on property at 775 Ledro Street.
Mr. Emerson seconded the motion.

Mr. Weidlich: They are saying that 96 s.f. is still storage space at this property?

Mr. Hake: Yes. It still has the garage door.

Mr. Weidlich: So the door is operational?

Mr. Hake: Yes.

Chairman Okum: It would have to remain that way.

Mr. Weidlich: I would like to make an amendment to add that the garage door must remain in good repair and working order, the living space is not to be used as a bedroom and the storage area is to remain at 96 s.f. and adequate parking on the property of two vehicles.
Mr. Reichert seconded the motion.

Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members on the amendment to the motion and with a 7-0 “aye” vote” the amendment was accepted.

Chairman Okum: I am very pleased that the City has this in place. I am hopeful that the conditions that were set in the motion can put some bite to what would be applied. I can’t control the types of people that are being rented to. There has been variances granted for garage conversions throughout the City of Springdale for years, many with conditions and I believe that probably before my tenure on this Board, without conditions. At least the conditions will hold to some bite.

Mr. Diehl: Has the inspection of the house been completed yet?

Mr. Campion: I don’t know, we will have to ask the applicant. We can’t issue the permit until the variance is granted.

Mr. Diehl: Beside the garage, has the inspector told you to make any other corrections?
Mr. Hake: Yes, sir. There is a list and everything has been done except the frayed wire and I have the permit. It is a costly item and it is a timely thing that has to be coordinated with Duke.

Mr. Campion: Mr. Brian Ward, the rental inspector will go back and when all of the items are complete and the service cable is inspected by IBI then we will issue a certificate for the space.

Mr. Diehl: Can we table this until those inspections are complete?

Chairman Okum: We could but it is difficult; the applicant can request it be but it would be difficult for us without a real reason to table, but on the other hand Staff would not release it unless they complete the requirements.

Mr. Campion: And it will have to be re-inspected in two years.

Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals members and with a 7-0 “aye” vote the amended motion was granted for a variance from Section 153.105(B) to allow an existing garage conversion into living space to remain on property at 775 Ledro Street
and that the garage door must remain in good repair and working order, the living space is not to be used as a bedroom and the storage area is to remain at 96 s.f. and adequate parking on the property of two vehicles.

B. The owner of 846 Ledro Street requests a variance to allow the elimination of the garage. Said variance is from Section 153.105(B) “A single two-car garage and related parking area is required…”

Mr. Hake: I am the property manager for Bill Cochran. This house is not as good looking as 775 Ledro but it is what it is. This conversion wasn’t recent; it has been done way before I started managing Bill’s property. Everything on this house is done except for the frayed wire. It has been a revolving tenant in this house. The tenant that is in the house is Section 8 and the house is immaculate. The tenant put her own new carpet in with her deposit. The only reason I am here is trying to comply with the Codes.

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

(Chairman Okum opened the floor to the audience for comments.)

Mr. Arthur Brockman: I live at 848 Ledro Street. This house has been in shambles for eleven years. From the outside I have seen the tenants move out and I have seen what has happened inside this house. I have been in there with the inspectors talking to them about the appearance of the outside of this place; at that time we went on the inside of that place and the utility room and the bathroom and front room and the garage space were in shambles. Now, if there has been everything done right to put this back in condition, I don’t know. It is a nightmare to live next door to this place. The outside is an eyesore from the word “go”. The tenants are in and out of there four to six months and there are new ones moving in. The back is a mess it is knee-high with grass. It is not a good environment. I have grandkids that play in the back and the mosquito situation from the water standing in the backyard where there used to be a swimming pool and the open containers standing in the back yard from mop buckets; we have mosquitoes. Please do something about this.

Chairman Okum: Seeing there is no one else who wishes to address the Board we will now close this portion of the proceeding and take a motion for the floor.

Mrs. Huber: I would like to make a motion to grant a variance from Section 153.105(B) so as to allow an existing garage conversion into living space to remain on property at 846 Ledro Street.
Mr. Reichert seconded the motion.

Chairman Okum: It appears that there is a shower or a toilet and vanity or laundry in that garage space?

Mr. Hake: Yes sir. It has a garage door there but it does not move and it is a drywall finished wall on the interior. It is rented as a three bedroom.

Chairman Okum: I have a problem with this conversion. There are three bedrooms on one side and two on the other side, which is five bedrooms in that house. I have not heard any reason why we need a five bedroom house on Ledro. On the Cagis map it shows a 14’ X 16’ patio, is that enclosed or open?

Mr. Hake: Open.

Mr. Danbury: I have never seen anything like this where there is no storage. The entire garage is being utilized; and as far as living space typically we say that you can have a TV room or a game room. I have not seen a conversion before this Board that has a shower and two closets. This is a red flag to me and it just appears that it is used as bedrooms. I don’t know if I can support this but we have always had situations where they have had some storage space and they had a working garage door and this doesn’t have that. It appears that this is used as two extra bedrooms.
There are five bedrooms in a house where you can only have four adults. I have a problem with this.

Mr. Emerson: The garage door is there but there isn’t any rails?

Mr. Hake: No, sir.

Mr. Emerson: What about windows?

Mr. Hake: There is one window in the bathroom. Right now, these rooms are not being used as bedrooms because it is being rented to a lady with two children.

Mr. Emerson: Are there any of these room with doors going to the outside?

Mr. Hake: No, sir.

Mr. Emerson: What would it take to get the garage door working again and using the front half of the space for storage?

Mr. Hake: I haven’t looked into that.

Mr. Danbury: If there were a fire going by the entrance, that is a death trap.

Mr. Hake: The bathroom is like a Jack and Jill with two doors and then there are two doors on each end.

Chairman Okum: So there must be a door out of the living room into the front space and a door out of the kitchen.

Mr. Hake: There is not even a door hanging there it is just an open doorway to the back room. The front one does have a door.

Mr. Diehl: When the inspector came out did he find any other items?

Mr. Hake: Yes, sir. There is a list that includes the soffits.


Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members and with a 7-0 “no”
vote the request for a variance at 846 Ledro Street to allow the elimination of the garage was denied.

C. The owner of 11760 Lawnview Avenue requests a variance to allow the elimination of the garage. Said variance is from Section 153.105(B)”A single two-car garage and related parking area is required…”

(Mr. Keith Chavies and Mrs. Beth Chavies came forward as representatives of
11760 Lawnview.)

Mr. Keith Chavies: I am a long time resident of Springdale; the address in question is the house that my wife grew up in. We lived in the home until six years ago and then we wanted a little more space and we moved to the east side of town, so we are not absentee landlords. We remodeled the entire house prior to moving and landscaped. My father-in-law originally used the garage as summer room. The actual remodel happened back in the 1970’s. I did update it and put some bigger duct work in and actually put a bigger window in so there is a means of egress. This came up as part of the Rental Program and Brian Ward has been to the residence; this was the last remaining item that needed to be corrected the other items have all been corrected. We are really glad that you are taking care of our City.

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

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

Mr. Reichert: I would like to make a motion for a variance to the property at
11760 Lawnview Avenue for Section 153.105(B).
Mr. Danbury seconded the motion.

Chairman Okum: This is more like a master suite?

Mr. Chavies: Yes.

Chairman Okum: You are maintaining a 108 s.f. of storage, which is positive. I did check today and your driveway would accommodate two cars.
This is still a bedroom situation and does have egress; recently I found out that the Code calls for 5.7 s.f. of open window for egress purposes.

Mr. Campion: When he opens up the window panel he has to have 5.7 s.f.

Mr. Danbury: Does this have to be a bedroom?

Mrs. Chavies: I think that is up to the tenant; I don’t know, as landlords, if we can dictate how they use that room.

Mr. Chavies: Does it have to be? No.

Mr. Danbury: Is it possible to put a door from the room to the garage area; a working door?

Mr. Chavies: Where you are talking about would probably be the most popular spot to put a couch or a bed.

Mr. Campion: The building code dictates whether you can use it for a bedroom or not and if our inspector said that the window met the egress, and there is a smoke detector in there then we have determined that it can be used for a bedroom.

Mr. Reichert: I would like to make an amendment to the original motion stating that the said property at 11760 Lawnview Avenue maintain a working garage door and a storage area of 108 s.f. and also have sufficient parking in the driveway for two vehicles.
Mr. Weidlich seconded the motion.

Chairman Okum: If there are complaints from residents, we can enter before that inspection period?

Mr. Campion: We have to have permission from the owner to enter a property.
If the property changes ownership we do another inspection; if the property changes tenants we go back and do another inspection. If there are no changes we go back every two to three years.

Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members and with a 7-0 “aye” vote, the amendment to the motion was accepted

Mrs. Huber then polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members and with a 7-0 “aye” vote the request for a variance at 11760 Lawnview Avenue was granted to allow the elimination of the garage, to maintain a working garage door and a storage area of 108 s.f. and also have sufficient parking in the driveway for two vehicles.

XI. DISCUSSION

Mr. Danbury: It is so important that we keep the housing stock maintained because once it goes; I know a lot of communities that used to be very nice, so please use the Hot Line.

Ms. Deanna Merritt: What is the Hot Line for?

Mr. Diehl: Anything that you want to complain about.
I have a question on the rental properties; wouldn’t it be beneficial if we have a copy of the inspection report?

Mr. Campion: We can do that, or at least the status of where they are at in the process.

Chairman Okum: Yes. That is public record.

Mr. Weidlich: Do you ladies happen to go to your Neighborhood Watch Meetings?

Ms. Tammy Merritt: I did call and tried to find out the date.

Mr. Weidlich: Call Officer Bushman at the Police Department; he holds them.

Mr. Diehl: Third Thursday of the month; the odd months.

XII. ADJOURNMENT

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

Mr. Reichert moved to adjourn and Mr. Weidlich seconded the motion, the Board of Zoning Appeals adjourned at 8:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

________________________,2009 ___________________________________
            Chairman Dave Okum



________________________,2009 ___________________________________
            Secretary Jane Huber