CITY OF SPRINGDALE BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS

19 SEPTEMBER 2000

7:00 P.M.

  1. CALL MEETING TO ORDER
  2. The meeting was called to order at 7:04 p.m. by Chairman David Okum.

  3. ROLL CALL
  4. Members Present: Fred Borden, Robert Apke, Robert Weidlich,

    Councilman James Squires, David Okum,

    Councilman Robert Wilson and Jane Huber

    Others Present: Richard G. Lohbeck, Inspection Supervisor

  5. MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF 15 AUGUST 2000
  6. Mr. Squires moved for adoption and Mr. Weidlich seconded the motion. All voted aye, and the Minutes were adopted with seven affirmative votes.

  7. CORRESPONDENCE
    1. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes Ė 8 August 2000
    2. Zoning Bulletin Ė August 10, 2000
    3. Zoning Bulletin Ė August 25, 2000
  1. REPORTS
    1. Report on Council Activities

Mr. Squires reported that the item of interest to this group is the voting precincts (13) in the city. We had a report from the Board of Elections that they had established precincts throughout the city, but they were pretty well scattered, to the point where a number of our citizens would have had to cross certain precincts to get to theirs. We were able to persuade the Board to change at least some of them for the upcoming election. Precincts J & L will stay at the municipal building. Heritage Hill (2 precincts) will not change, nor will Maple Knoll Village. In the future, we want as many of them in public buildings as we can. WE think the recreation center can house nine or so.

Report on Planning Commission

Mr. Okum reported that Sears the Great Indoors was in for final approval. There was a lot of discussion about landscaping islands and pedestrian safety. For example they have a very large landscaped island they are adding, and it was my suggestion that there be a couple of places that people could cross. Conditions included that the lighting be glare resistant, and additional landscaping and mounding in the buffer area around the truck dock area to. They will have an outdoor café (Starbucks) with no alcoholic beverages, but the area will have access in and out of the building. There have been changes made to the landscaping to prevent children from darting directly out into the roadway. They pretty well met all the requests of our staff and it was approved with seven affirmative votes.

 

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING

19 SEPTEMBER 2000

PAGE TWO

V. REPORTS Ė continued

Mr. Okum said there were code items concerning lighting, definitions and parking areas and Planning approved that and referred it on to Council.

  1. CHAIRMANíS STATEMENT

A variance once granted will be referred back to the Board of Zoning appeals, if after the expiration of six months, no construction or action is done in accordance with the terms and conditions of the variance.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a Public Hearing, and all testimony given in cases pending before this board is to be made part of the public record.

As such, each citizen testifying before this board is directed to sign in on the clipboard in the rear of the room. When your variance request is announced, you should take your place at the podium, state your name and address, and state the facts as they are pertinent to the subject before this board.

As this is a public hearing, being sworn in prior to giving testimony is required by law.

Therefore, anyone interested or who may be interested in testifying on any matter on the agenda this evening needs to be sworn in.

At this time, please stand up. Raise your right hand and repeat after me.

I (state your name)

Do solemnly swear

To tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

So help me God.

Please be seated.

Be advised that anyone who was not standing and sworn in cannot testify unless you request the chair to be sworn in when you come to the podium.

Additionally, all testimony and discussion relative to said variance is recorded. It is from this recording that our Minutes are taken.

  1. OLD BUSINESS
  2. None

  3. NEW BUSINESS
    1. Jacqueline Amis, 11810 Fairsprings Court requests variance to allow a picket fence in her front yard. Said variance is requested from Section 153.082(B) "..shall not project into or be located on a front..yard."

Mrs. Amis stated I am requesting permission to leave my picket fence up in the front yard. It is within a foot of my house and is part of a long-term landscape project I have

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING

19 SEPTEMBER 2000

PAGE THREE

VIII A JACQUELINE AMIS, 11810 FAIRSPRINGS CT Ė DECORATIVE FENCE

Ms. Amis said I have spent over $5,000 developing my yard, and this is the finishing touch to make it look like a country cottage. I also have one in my back yard. It is not obstructing traffic; there is no reason to be concerned about safety on Fairsprings or Glensprings Drive.

Mr. Okum stated notice was sent out to residents within 200 feet of this residence informing them of the public hearing. I will open up the public hearing at this time. No one came forth, and he closed the public hearing.

Mrs. Huber said according to the definition of a fence within our zoning code, it has the intended purpose to form a barrier to light, sound wind, snow, animals, vehicles and pedestrians. This fence encloses nothing and is truly decorative. I really do not see the need for this variance.

Mr. Squires agreed, asking Mr. Lohbeck about the definition of a fence. This doesnít have the purpose of keeping out anything. Mr. Lohbeck answered decorative fence or not, it is still considered a fence.

Mr. Squires said if we approved this variance, once Mrs. Amis would sell the property and the variance goes with the land, would the new owner have the right to put a fence up? Mr. Okum answered not if the motion to grant the variance is specific to that structure and limited to no more than the length or height than it currently is.

Mr. Wilson asked if she intended to do any additional fencing, and Ms. Amis answered that she was not. I am going to develop the corner, and I have purchased some Washington hawthorns and 6 ever blooming rose bushes to develop the bed like a country cottage. I will have another $300 to $400 in that bed.

Mr. Wilson said I would agree that it is more of a decorative addition to your front yard, and would be receptive to granting the variance with certain stipulations.

Mr. Borden wondered if we make a distinction between a fence and a rail. I am trying to get away from the fence definition, but I really donít have a problem with what she has there. Mr. Okum responded it is a fence but is an architectural land feature.

Mr. Wilson commented we have to be careful how we define a fence. If we just use the statement for decorative purposes only, we could get wrought iron fencing all around the personís house. The variance will need to be defined. Mr. Huber said on her street there are two homes that have extended brick walls extending from the house, and that in a sense would be a fence.

Mr. Squires said I have no problem with what you have there. It is just a question of wording the variance so you can keep it and someone else doesnít come in and put a fence as we know it around the yard.

 

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING

19 SEPTEMBER 2000

PAGE FOUR

VIII A JACQUELINE AMIS, 11810 FAIRSPRINGS CT Ė DECORATIVE FENCE

Mr. Okum suggested wording similar to "shall not exceed its current height and length and shall not limit any more air or light any more than the fence currently in place does.

Mr. Squires so moved and Mr. Wilson seconded the motion.

Voting aye were Mr. Squires, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Weidlich, Mr. Apke, Mr. Borden, Mr. Okum and Mrs. Huber. Variance was granted with conditions with seven affirmative votes.

B. S & J Properties, 492 West Sharon Road requests variance to allow them to subdivide existing property at 411 Grandin Avenue to create a single-family lot. Variances required from Section 153.144(A) Single household dwellings..shall have a minimum lot area of 9,000 s.f. and a lot width of 75 feet: Section 153.144(C) Multi-household dwellings shall have a maximum density of ten (10) units per acre and a lot width of not less than 200 feet; Section 153.147(A) Single Household dwellings..shall have a minimum rear yard setback of 40 feet; and Section153.504 Single household..two (parking) spaces for each unit with two or more bedrooms.

John Klei said I own the properties at 411, 413 and 415 Grandin, and I was a resident for 30 years, lived on Coxbury Circle and I have a company on Sharon Road, A OK Maintenance. I served on the Planning Commission for 10 years as secretary.

I have owned the buildings for 17 years; there are 12 apartments and one single-family house, and we have been trying to sell the properties for two years with no luck. The realtors say people canít understand blending single and multi family buildings. We have them listed at $650,000 and have lowered the price to $575,000.

The house is frontaged on VanArsdale Lane, which was abandoned quite a while ago. When Springdale abandoned the continuation of Van Arsdale, we didnít end up with any of the property. One of the problems is the address is 411 Van Arsdale, which is non-existent. I thought I had a house that faced on Grandin for 17 years, and it actually faced on Van Arsdale, which isnít there.

Over the years we have done a good job with the apartment buildings. The rents are very fair, $600 for two bedroom and $475 for a one bedroom.

The major problem will be the parking situation. What we propose to do is give the house a 50-foot frontage on Grandin with maybe 150-foot depth, which would conform with the square footage for the lot. The rest of the requirements canít be met and never were met. On the east side of the property between us and the property line there is a five-foot fence and then the office building fence. We want to try to sell it as a house and market the twelve units as an apartment complex.

Mr. Okum opened and closed the public hearing (no one in the audience).

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING

19 SEPTEMBER 2000

PAGE FIVE

VIII B S & J PROPERTIES Ė SUBDIVIDE PROPERTY AT GRANDIN AVENUE

Mr. Okum commented that there is a fairly detailed staff report, and I think it should be incorporated into the minutes. (Staff Comments are attached).

Mr. Okum said this is one of the most difficult issues that I have had at the Board of Zoning Appeals. My first question was if it were Planning Commission Ė are we talking conditional use, zoning variance or rezoning, because we are discussing multi-family zoning for both parcels and if we subdivide, we will have a totally non-conforming single family on a multi-family parcel. It is already non-conforming, but the question is if we allow the variance, it would be doubly non-conforming. The option would be for Mr. Klei to go to Planning Commission and ask for a zoning change, but I donít think he can get a zoning change unless the parcels are divided.

There are a couple of ways we can handle it. We can refer it to our city planner, who is under contract for a Comprehensive Land Use Plan for the community to make comment with some recommendations.

I also have questions for Mr. Klei regarding the porch on the side of the building. It does not appear to be on this drawing, and I am afraid that porch on the west side projects out eight feet and would make it even closer to your property line than what we are discussing. Additionally, we donít have parking area for any cars.

You could take grass out and put parking spaces up in front.

Mr. Klei responded the problem with that is it would be aesthetically almost impossible. It is a beautiful green area now, and all we would do is bring a driveway up to the house.

Mr. Wilson commented we do have a Route 4 Corridor Study, and this property is probably 250 feet from Springfield Pike. Since none of us are city planners, perhaps we should consider having our city planner look at this and give us some suggestions as to how we can accommodate the sale of this property. Personally, I would like to see a driveway going to the back of the house, if only to put a carport back there. I do not think it would be a problem to have that behind the house, on the south side. Perhaps that would help you in the sale of the property.

We probably should have the city planner look at this and give us some suggestions. Are we doing this to allow the resident to sell the property, are we doing it to improve the property, to increase the sale if he decides to sell? What are we doing here?

Mr. Klei answered we are trying to do what the realtors told me in terms of breaking up the property. There is no doubt that a single-family house is a residential and multi families are multi-family and we are trying to facilitate selling the properties.

This has three porches, and if you tried to bring a driveway up on the apartment side, you would be into the blacktop parking area for the apartment buildings.

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING

19 SEPTEMBER 2000

PAGE SIX

VIII B S & J PROPERTIES Ė SUBDIVIDE PROPERTY AT GRANDIN AVENUE

Mr. Wilson responded if the owner could use the common driveway and have a carport there. Mr. Klei answered I understand but would not entertain that as an option when you start putting easements in there. Mr. Okum commented that would be a panhandle and we donít allow panhandles. Mr. Lohbeck said it would be an easement. Mr. Wilson commented that might sell your property faster. Mr. Klei answered I agree with that totally except this would be a starter home, and when you are talking $75-85,000 you give up a lot of the amenities, including a garage.

Mr. Wilson said if this house were in the city and you could walk a block to catch a bus, that is one thing, but we are in the suburbs. People who live in the suburbs tend to have cars.

Mr. Klei responded I agree with everything you are saying, especially the parking problem. This would have to be totally worded to define that this is a special situation because of all of the things that have occurred with the development of Springdale. There are eight parking spaces on the street, and I know that is probably the last thing that Springdale wants. This is a very unique situation with the abandonment of Van Arsdale. It would have to be worded so it doesnít open up a can of worms.

Mr. Weidlich commented I travel that road every morning, and yesterday I counted eight vehicles parked on the street. Since that is on the bend, I wouldnít want to see any more vehicles between the driveway of the apartments and the stop sign, especially when another vehicle comes from the other direction. I wouldnít buy a house that wouldnít at least have some off street parking, but I would be more in favor of a driveway coming in off Grandin right up to the house to get to that porch.

Mr. Weidlich asked where the tenants of the building parked and Mr. Klei answered sometimes they parked in the apartment parking lot and sometimes they parked in the office building lot. As a matter of fact, we even let one of them use one of the carports. There is not one person I know of in any of our buildings that parks on the street, 100%. We have nine open carports and at least 15 parking spaces; we have ample parking. None of our people seem to want to park on the street and walk to the apartment.

Mr. Borden said in light of the number of issues we have, and any future implications, I would like to refer this to the city planner for comments and direction. If weíre gong to divide this, I want us to do it correctly.

Mr. Wilson added we donít want to relinquish the responsibility of handling this, but I feel I need more direction especially in view of the corridor study

Addressing the applicant, Mr.Okum said the boardís indications are to defer action on this to the next meeting and reopen the public hearing with comments from the city planner. Do you have any problem with that?

 

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING

19 SEPTEMBER 2000

PAGE SEVEN

VIII B S & J PROPERTIES Ė SUBDIVIDE PROPERTY AT GRANDIN AVENUE

Mr. Klei said when we charge the city planner with something, what do we charge her with? Mr. Okum answered it would be to review the request for variance and make comments and recommendations from a plannerís viewpoint and how it ties to the Corridor Review District as well as land use planning. We basically are talking a zoning use and not a rezoning at this point. Ultimately once it becomes a zoning use, if it were approved by this board for subdividing the property, then the landowner could make application for rezoning to single family. In good land use planning, you rarely put a single family between office and multi-family. Right now we have a non-conforming use, and we have to look at that and need the city plannerís comments in my opinion to make an informed decision to the best interest of everyone.

Mr. Klei commented I would agree with that, but I would like to have a little more discussion so we donít waste our money on having the planner look at it. I understand exactly what you mean in terms of office, multi-family and single family. We get separate tax duplicates, and we thought it was separate properties.

Mr. Wilson added there is the Route 4 Corridor Study plan, and it is long range, and I would want the city planner to be involved with this parcel of land for the long-range aspect.

Mr. Klei answered I understand that; I just donít want Springdale to spend the money. Depending on what the feeling is here. Do you want it to stay as a 13 unit? My problem is I donít want Springdale to spend the money. Even if in the best case scenario the planner said I could have everything I want. Number one, the $75 to $85,000 you would get for that house would not justify a driveway or garages or carport. We are trying to get the prices down. The numbers work financially. I would like to get a feeling of the board on this rather than spend the money. Even if they came back 100% positive, I can understand where there would be dissatisfaction with the parking on the street. I donít understand how the planner would come up with a house fitting in with apartment buildings.

Mr. Wilson answered the planner is our expert in this area. They know the short and long-range goals and objectives, from Woodlawn all the way down to Sharon Road. We pay our city planner to advise us when we have a question. Iím not concerned about the fact that we have to pay her; she is already on retainer. It would help us vote a lot more intelligently. With all these conditions and concerns here, I donít think any of us feel comfortable with voting on this tonight.

Addressing the applicant, Mr. Apke said you wanted to get a sense of the board, and I feel there is an awful lot to digest and I would like to refer it back to the city planner.

Mr. Lohbeck reported what Mr. Klei wants to do is subdivide this piece of property. In order to do that he needs a variance for these six items. I donít think the city planner gets into these issues.

 

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING

19 SEPTEMBER 2000

PAGE EIGHT

VIII B S & J PROPERTIES Ė SUBDIVIDE PROPERTY AT GRANDIN AVENUE

Mr. Okum responded the city planner does on every development brought before Planning Commission, on setback, land use etc. Mr. Lohbeck answered but those are for new buildings coming in, and Mr. Okum responded I donít disagree, but sometimes it is for redevelopment. We have redevelopment on parcels before Planning all the time. One of the things that the Corridor Review District did was anticipate future change. There is nothing wrong with having the city planner looking at this. She might come back and say on a comprehensive land use plan, this would have been one of the legal non-conforming use parcels under that consideration.

Mr. Lohbeck said he just needs a variance for subdividing the property. It is not changing anything else. Mr. Okum said no, but it is forcing the use of that property solely on its own as a single family unit or what is to say that the house wouldnít be split in half and be a two family. Mr. Lohbeck responded that house isnít big enough. Mr. Okum answered I understand that, but it is on a multi-family parcel. Mr. Lohbeck added and we are not changing the zoning. Mr. Okum responded I think everyone understands we are not changing the zoning, but we are isolating the use of the parcel to strictly a single-family use for that one parcel. Am I interpreting this incorrectly? Mr. Klei said I thought we were changing the zoning.

Mr. Squires said I donít think you are interpreting anything incorrectly. Addressing the applicant he asked if he was under the impression that you are asking for a zoning change. Mr. Klei said no, I thought you were asking for the zoning change., Mr. Squires answered no, we are not. There are six variances, and almost all of them are significantly out of character for the existing code. Those variances are the issue. I donít know what the city planner can do for us, but if the board wishes to refer it, to her for guidance, I am in favor of doing that.

Mr. Klei said before we refer it to the city planner, can we go through the six variances and what they mean? Do you think five feet on the rear yard setback is significant? Mr. Squires answered no, that is the close one. The width of the lot will be almost 57 feet where we require 200 feet. Your single-family lot will now be 7500 feet with this subdivision, and we require 9,000,.

Mr. Klei said letís start with number 1. Thatís not what we proposed, and I donít think that is what it is saying. I donít know what number one is saying. We are proposing to cut off a lot there 50 x 150 or 7500 square feet. Are these telling me what it should be? If you get 57 feet you are in the blacktop of the apartment building. Mr. Okum said he is taking 50 feet off the total frontage and if he is taking the 50 feet off the frontage along Grandin, it reduces the multi-household lot to 56.87 feet. Mr. Klei responded that is the apartment building; you are addressing two issues when I was only addressing one, the house.

Mr. Squires continued what I am saying is that these are significant zoning changes for us, with the exception of number 5, the rear yard setback. The parking issue is big.

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING

19 SEPTEMBER 2000

PAGE NINE

VIII B S & J PROPERTIES Ė SUBDIVIDE PROPERTY AT GRANDIN AVENUE

Mr. Klei stated he is addressing all of this from the multi-family point of view. Mr. Okum said numbers one and two are. Mr. Squires added numbers three through six are referring to the single family.

Mr. Klei asked if you approved the six variances, would the lot be residential or still multi-family? Mr. Okum answered it would be multi-family, unless a zoning issue occurred. Mr. Klei commented and there would be no reason to change the zoning. Mr. Okum responded if it became an entity on itself, there may be. Mr. Lohbeck stated it still would be multi-family. If somebody bought that to develop it as a business, they wouldnít get it because it would have to be rezoned.

Mr. Okum responded right now we are not considering that. We are looking at it as a multi-family zoned parcel being utilized and isolated as a single family use. Thatís why we pay the city planner for a comprehensive land use plan, so she ca look at these oddities and say this may be zoned this, but it would be better to make its use this, and work to that end.. You may end up with a better solution for the whole thing.

Mr. Borden moved to continue the public hearing and refer this to the city planner for comments concerning the requested variances and their tie to the Corridor Review District. Mr. Squires seconded the motion.

Voting aye were Mr. Borden, Mr. Apke, Mr. Weidlich, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Squires, Mr. Okum and Mrs. Huber. The public hearing will be continued to October 17th.

  1. DISCUSSION
  2. Mr. Weidlich wondered how long the BZA materials should be kept, and Mr. Squires answered that he kept the agenda and minutes for one year, but did not keep the drawings, etc. Mr. Okum added our law directors have recommended you discard the drawings. I do keep issues that are continuing for a period of time.

    Mr. Okum commented I would like to see the codification, particularly the zoning code on line, and it currently is not.

    Mr. Squires said I am very pleased that you felt the way you did about deferring this. When I inspected that property and read and reread it again, I was thoroughly confused. I knew what it said, but I didnít have enough background or information to properly act on it.

    Mr. Okum said I had already flagged it this afternoon and called Mr. Lohbeck and asked if it were really a Board of Zoning Appeals issue. It is one of the most complex we have had in some time, and you can read it as strictly use of the land, a variance for the multi-family use. Then I have a hard time tying that to hardship. Mr. Wilson said the applicant wants to sell the property at any cost and doesnít want to do anything to improve it. He wants to sell it and he needs authorization from us to do that.

     

    BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING

    19 SEPTEMBER 2000

    PAGE TEN

    VIII B S & J PROPERTIES Ė SUBDIVIDE PROPERTY AT GRANDIN AVENUE

    We have the Corridor Study, long and short range, and we need to look at it again. Mr. Okum commented the document was written to allow the four areas of the Corridor Review District to evolve and change and gradually become something better. The plannerís recommendation was to expand beyond where it was.

  3. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Squires moved to adjourn and Mr. Wilson seconded the motion. By voice vote, all voted aye, and the Board of Zoning Appeals adjourned at 8:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

______________________,2000 _________________________

David Okum, Chairman

 

 

_______________________,2000 _________________________

Jane Huber, Secretary