BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING
SEPTEMBER 20, 2011
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, Dave Okum, Jane Huber
Others Present: Randy Campion
III PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
IV MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF AUGUST 16, 2011
Mrs. Huber noted a correction on page 1 of the August meeting minutes:
Mr. Reichert and not Mr. Hawkins moved to approve the July 19, 2011 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Minutes. Also, a possible correction in wording for the second amendment to the variance at 12134 Kenn Road, inserting the word it referring to vegetation to be replaced if removed by homeowner.
Mr. Okum: With that correction based upon the recording, based upon that, we will vote on the minutes as posted with the minor adjustments to those items.
With seven aye votes the August 16, 2011 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes were approved with two corrections.
Chairman Okum: You have correspondence; item A regarding Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, Notice of Appeal and Ordinance Number 32-2011 amending Section 153.903 and 150.41 of the City of Springdale codified ordinances regarding Municipal Liens for non-payment of review and inspection fees.
VI REPORT ON COUNCIL
Mr. Hawkins gave a review of the September 7th, 2011 Council meeting.
VII REPORT ON PLANNING COMMISSION
Chairman Okum gave a report of the September 13th, 2011 Planning Commission Meeting.
VIII CHAIRMANS STATEMENT AND SWEARING IN OF APPLICANTS
IX OLD BUSINESS
(There is no Old Business to present at this meeting.)
X. NEW BUSINESS
A. Chairman Okum: The owner of 538 Smiley Avenue has applied for a variance to allow him to park a recreational vehicle in his driveway. Said variance is requested from Section 153.481(D)(1)(b) When stored in the front yard it must leave two additional spaces not less than nine feet by 19 feet or maintain the entire original driveway space if there originally existed less than two such spaces.
Mr. Ken Shroyer: It is not a RV, it is a pull along camper. We have done other things with the City where I had to apply for variances and they have been issued so knowing some of that prior to buying the camper, I checked with the Building Department and was told that Yes, you can put a camper there, as long as you can park two vehicles in the driveway. And there were no specifications or anything like that given at the time. I bought it and parked it there and it has been there for
5 ½ years until this past month when I received notification that it was not in compliance.
(Mr. Campion read the Staff comments.)
Chairman Okum: The 31 figure that was used, they are saying the curb line, but there is a right of way easement that runs, according to the Cagis drawing, down across their property. Is that 31 from the true property line, or in the public right of way line?
Mr. Campion: It is from the true property line.
Chairman Okum: I see the drawing where they are placed on it; but then I saw what the applicant had submitted with a picture of the car going horizontally, or parallel on the driveway.
Mr. Campion: Yes, 31 includes the apron.
Chairman Okum: To the true curb line, we are talking 31.
Mr. Campion: Yes.
Chairman Okum: Does that street have a 10 front yard setback?
Mr. Campion: It does but I believe when there are no sidewalks, you could park your car that way; but he doesnt have 19 wide, he only has 18.
Chairman Okum: So the pads are 9 instead of 10.
Mr. Shroyer, do you have any comments in regard to Staff comments?
Mr. Shroyer: No, not really.
Mr. Emerson: Mr. Shroyer, in looking at your driveway on paper, you can turn your camper around sideways, 7 wide; take that away from 31 of the length of the driveway and you would have 2 9 X 19 parking spaces, side by side. Did anyone think about that or did you call the City?
Mr. Shroyer: If I did that, it would block the entrance to the garage.
Mr. Emerson: I know, but if you park a RV in a driveway, as long as you have your two parking spaces that is all that matters; and that is my opinion. Your camper has kind of got about the first foot of your garage door blocked anyway.
Mr. Shroyer: I can still get a car in and out of it. My wife parks her car in there every evening.
Mr. Emerson: I think you have the square footage there; that is my opinion. I think your driveway is plenty big enough to accommodate a recreational vehicle.
Mr. Shroyer: I get up in the morning and move my truck so that she can leave. I couldnt pull a camper out of the way for her to go to work every morning. She wouldnt be able to gain access to the garage, which we built a few years ago.
Chairman Okum: Based upon what Mr. Emerson said, Mr. Campion, does the Code stipulate which way the configuration of those 9 X 19 parking spaces are required?
Mr. Campion: No, it doesnt. But the driveway is 18 wide though.
Mr. Emerson: But 19 long, so you would have two spaces side by side.
Chairman Okum: He is saying physically; not practically. The Code is written specifically by size.
Mr. Campion: It doesnt distinguish where it has to be.
Chairman Okum: It doesnt distinguish which direction.
Mr. Squires: Mr. Shroyer, when I drove by your home earlier today all I saw was the camper and the pick-up truck and I wondered what the problem was. I did not know that you had another vehicle there; you have pictures with another vehicle in it. Is the other vehicle kept in the garage?
Mr. Shroyer: Correct. It is there all the time. It was put there just to show that two cars can physically be put on the driveway, if it had to be done.
Chairman Okum: That is a visual representation?
Mr. Shroyer: Absolutely.
Mr. Squires: You will not park like that?
Mr. Shroyer: Absolutely; never have.
Chairman Okum: Your driveway is 1 off of your property line?
Mr. Shroyer: Yes, it is.
Chairman Okum: You know that you can carry your driveway all the way to that property line?
Mr. Shroyer: No, I believe we were told that is as far as we can go.
Chairman Okum: Your garage setback was 1 from the property line but your driveway can go to your property line.
Mr. Shroyer: I wasnt aware of that.
Chairman Okum: If your driveway were expanded 1 X 31 you would have an extra 31 s.f. of driveway space, basically that would still comply. I am seeing what Mr. Emerson is seeing; the Code is not specific about how you park in your driveway. It is not specific to how you store you trailer in your driveway; it just says 2 9 X 19 spaces.
Mr. Hawkins: Im wondering, based on the numbers, if there is even a reason to have a variance if the applicant is able to park the trailer the other way and that would provide the spaces needed. Is there even a cause for him to need a variance?
Chairman Okum: I tend to agree with you but he was told that he was in violation so he made application, so we have to hear the variance.
Mr. Emerson: Mr. Shroyer, did anyone from the City come out or did you call them when you got your letter?
Mr. Shroyer: I came down to the Building Department when I got my letter.
Mr. Emerson: But no one came out?
Mr. Shroyer: Best of my knowledge, they havent. I did receive an aerial photo so they must have flown over.
Mr. Emerson: The point that I was making is that you have plenty of square footage to park two cars and a camper; if you want to park it cattycornered, diagonal or however, youve got the space. If someone from the City would come out there, you could have turned your camper sideways and you would have had plenty of space; you would have had your two spaces; and a variance to put a camper on a driveway is not a good thing but I think you have plenty of space.
Chairman Okum: The only thing that concerns me; not to put a fly in the ointment, I dont think there is a variance needed based upon what Ive been presented with, but on the other hand, if that front yard set back is 10 and the apron area or the first 10 of your driveway is truly public right of way even though it is not currently used for that, it is still a right of way area and it is also parking area. If there was a parking lane and if the street were widened and there was an added parking lane or a sidewalk added you would be parking across the sidewalk. There are no sidewalks in your neighborhood and I dont think there ever will be any sidewalks in your neighborhood; I think it was some twenty years ago that we discussed that and it was never going to happen because the people in that neighborhood at that time did not want sidewalks in that neighborhood. If we are going with the strict interpretation then Staff would have looked at that and said, the 10 X 19 area, if that setback is 10 and I think it is from the curb, is public right of way. That means it is not your property but you are required to maintain it. I think in the practical use, you can accommodate what is required and you can still park your car there and everybody parks their car in that right of way line all the time because that is what the purpose is so you can keep it off the street. On the concrete that you poured and placed there, I think you are totally compliant. The problem then is on the other hand part of me says that it is a situation where it is not your property, deeded property.
Mr. Campion: I was just going to note that, is it his intention to park the trailer sideways in front of his garage; if it is then youve got the two parking spots you need but if it isnt, if it is the way the picture is drawn then he doesnt have
2 9 X 19 parking spots. He has 2 9 X 18 because the driveway is only 18 wide and not 19.
Chairman Okum: He can add the foot to the driveway.
Mr. Campion: Yes.
Chairman Okum: And isnt the tongue of the trailer what creates the extra foot issue?
Mr. Campion: I dont know. If he adds the foot to the driveway he would be in compliance.
Mr. Shroyer: The camper itself is 12; not counting the tongue.
Chairman Okum: That makes it even smaller than I thought it was.
Mr. Emerson: I think the issue with the foot is the way he has the car parked sideways, that parking space technically has to be 19, where the driveway is only 18; that is the foot that he is short.
Chairman Okum: The 18 is left to right. So, he could add a foot to the driveway and be completely compliant.
Mr. Campion: That is correct.
Mr. Weidlich: Basically, all we are going to be doing for Mr. Shroyer is granting him a variance for one foot; make him compliant and the problem goes away. You look around the neighborhood on that side of Kemper and the other side of Kemper, so many people have their vehicles almost bumper out to the street and with no sidewalks that is the way people live in that area. If you look down at his bottom left-hand picture, there is a white van down the street that appears to be out in that area, as well.
Chairman Okum: Definitely; it goes all the way to the telephone poles.
Mr. Weidlich: So really we are working on granting a variance, if the Board approves it, for one foot; and he is good to go.
Mr. Reichert: If you set the trailer horizontal with the house, then you have sufficient room and if you dont set it that way then you dont have enough space. Then you are saying if you add a foot, and you could park the one car across the driveway, which is not a practical solution yet it fits the same area of space. You are saying two different things; you are saying if he does it this way he has enough space but if he isnt practically going to park it that way we cant grant it. Then you say, if he adds a foot he can park his car horizontally across; but he cant do that because he cant get in and out with the other car. Youre adding a foot, so you comply now; but you are not going to park that way. And you are saying well you comply if you put your trailer this way; but you are not going to do it. In my opinion he is sufficient the way he is but I would be very happy to grant him his one foot variance.
Mr. Weidlich: I think for a home that has a garage, he only has a single car garage and he uses that for a vehicle; that is commendable because we have so many residents that their cars are parked outside their garages packed with all kind of stuff that they cant get in. I am with Mr. Reichert, I have no problem with granting a variance so the man can park his trailer just like he has got it there.
Mr. Shroyer: Like Mr. Reichert is saying, even if I add a foot to the width and leave my camper sit the way it is, I would be no better off than I am today.
Chairman Okum: But you would be totally compliant.
Mr. Campion: The Zoning Code says that if you park your trailer, and it doesnt say where you can park your trailer or where you cant, it says, if you park your trailer on a hard surface you have to have two 9 X 19 parking spots. It doesnt say how they are configured, how the trailer is. So, you dont have to turn your trailer sideways, you just have to show us that you can do it that way.
Mr. Shroyer: Even at that, the way Mr. Okum said to add the foot, I wouldnt be able to park my camper and two cars in there. I would still have to be, as he said, on the public right of way. Which is where I am at now; we dont do that because I dont park that way.
Mr. Campion: Sure. In adding a foot to the driveway you would be in compliance. You could put a row of bricks down both sides of the driveway; you could put six inches on both sides of the driveway, it just says that you have to have a hard surface; am I right?
Chairman Okum: No, that doesnt work; I tried that. It has to be a truly improved surface but it only has to be an improved surface for the area where the trailer is.
Mr. Campion: You are right, it doesnt.
Chairman Okum: The situation is, why grant a variance if you comply? If it is a very, very simple thing, why put a variance on your property that stays there forever? There is already a variance on your property for a 1 side yard setback; I was here then and I felt there was good justification for that setback with what was adjacent to you.
Mr. Shroyer: The only reason I applied for it, is because before when I originally bought it I was told I could buy it as long as you can fit two cars on there. There was no specification given to what size the areas were, or anything like that. So, I bought it and I can park two cars there for the past 5 ½ years. That is why it bothers me, that now it has become an issue when it hasnt been an issue for going on six years, especially when I received that o.k. from the Building Department.
Chairman Okum: I understand.
Mr. Squires: When I drove by there this morning, and I saw the top picture showing the pickup truck and the camper, I stopped and I examined it and I thought, what is the problem? It didnt dawn on me, Mr. Emerson, that with your foresight to think that you could turn that thing backwards and have it. I thought it must be a mistake or something. And with what Mr. Weidlich said, with you parking the vehicle in the garage is totally commendable; I really believe that. What I see here and what I am looking at particularly in that picture #1, I am more than happy to give this a variance; I dont see any problem with it.
Mr. Shroyer: As it sits right now?
Mr. Squires: Yes, as I saw this morning; I really wondered what the problem was, when I stopped and looked at it. I didnt take any measurements but it has to be close.
Chairman Okum: Mr. Campion, does our Code say specifically that the trailer space, the improved surface has to be a 9 X 19?
Mr. Campion: The trailer doesnt have to be 9 X 19; the trailer just has to sit on a hard surface.
Chairman Okum: So, it doesnt require 9 X 19?
Mr. Campion: No, it doesnt. It just says, if your trailer is in your driveway, or if your trailer is off of your driveway it has to be on a hard surface and you have to have 2 9 X 19 parking spots. So, the question is we talked about putting the trailer behind, against the garage, you put the trailer across the apron and you probably could count your 2 9 X 19 spots.
Mrs. Huber: But then they cant use the garage.
Chairman Okum: I agree with you, but I dont see a need for a variance. I come up with 9 X 19 = 171 s.f., if I take 3 - 9 X 19 spaces, I am at 513 s.f. and this gentleman has got 558 s.f. of driveway space. We have two math teachers here; I just dont see a need for a variance, even though I would grant it if it were absolutely needed but I dont see a need for it.
Mr. Reichert: The point I was going to make is 2 s.f. is square footage; it doesnt say you have to have it in any particular angle or anything. You have to have enough to put your trailer and then the square footage for two cars and I think the citing by the Building Department is in error and he does have enough room. I agree that it isnt necessary for the variance but again I would grant it, as well.
Mr. Emerson: Chairman, I agree with you. I dont think a variance is needed and I think that someone from the City needs to go out and you can turn your camper sideways, you can park both cars; all you have to do is prove that you have the space. They cant tell you how to park it. I dont think you need a variance and I dont think you need to go to the expense of adding concrete to your driveway.
Chairman Okum: I am not encouraging any input, I like the grass there. Im just saying solution wise; there is solution other than a variance.
Mr. Hawkins: I concur with those last couple statements. I dont think there is a need for a variance. I would rather not grant a variance just to grant one if there is not a need for it; and let the applicant go on with life.
Mr. Campion: As a point of record, is it best for there to be a motion made that the Board feels that there is enough square footage if he creatively parked his vehicles and there is no need for a variance; or how do you do that?
Chairman Okum: I think that there is enough record of statements from this Board that is part of public record that states that. We could make the motion that way, but on the other hand we still have a request for a variance on the floor.
Mr. Shroyer, you could withdraw your request, I think that would be a solution; but right now you have an order pending that gives you so many days that you have to act. If Staff gives us another reason, and I hate to do that and carry it forward but there are three things we can do: We could vote on it, and turn it down; vote on it and approve it; and the other is that you withdraw it. The other situation that occurs is that if you were turned down because there are enough people here that say, we really dont see a need for a variance, if we would turn you down, you can still apply next month and the case continues. So, if we continue it, the case continues. If we vote on it today, and in this Boards opinion, there is not a need for a variance and I think there is enough evidence that has been presented that unless somebody brings new evidence to us why it would be any different, I think that supports that.
Mr. Shroyer: If the Building Department were to come over and I could explain to them that if I turn it sideways I would be in compliance, there is your two parking places. That is not to say it would stay that way, I have to put it back where it was so that I can have use of my garage, but it is there if it is needed.
Chairman Okum: You could take a chalk mark and mark where the camper is going to be and say, this is where the trailer would fit.
Mr. Campion: I was just going to ask if we continue it; is that the fourth option?
Chairman Okum: Continuing it is the third option; vote it down is one, approve it is another with a variance of one foot. If we vote it down he can reapply next month. The order from the City to take action is held because of pending hearing with the Board of Zoning Appeals, so there would be no enforcement until it is heard again or resolved.
Mr. Campion: I would suggest that you continue it and he can always withdraw his application if Staff changes their opinion.
Mr. Squires: I do not want to continue it. I would like to make a blanket statement from this Board and I think there are enough votes to do it, that the facts presented in this case do not justify a need for a hearing.
Mr. Reichert: I dont think that our purpose is to overrule the Building Department.
Chairman Okum: That would be an Administrative Appeal.
Mr. Reichert: I dont approve of that at all; I would not support that decision for that particular motion. I think the continuance is correct and have the Building Department reevaluate the situation. If they find that he is in compliance, after re-measuring the situation, I dont see how they cant, then the complaint is withdrawn by the Building Department after they say it is not necessary.
Mr. Shroyer: Then I can withdraw it?
Chairman Okum: You can withdraw it at any time.
Mr. Reichert: You dont have to do it today; you dont have to do it tonight.
Chairman Okum: I think the proper thing is to continue it, in progress. You dont have any problem with that?
Mr. Shroyer: I dont have any problem at all.
Mr. Reichert: I make a motion that we have a continuance on this, after the Building Department reevaluates the area and the need to comply.
(Mr. Squires seconded the motion and with a unanimous aye vote from the Board of Zoning Members the request was continued to the October 18th, 2011 meeting.)
B. Chairman Okum: The next item on the agenda is the owner of 978 Ledro Street has applied for 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. Reginald Perry Jr.: I purchased the property in September of 2002. When I purchased the property it was already split into a half garage and a second room; after a certain period, I lost my job and I didnt want to foreclose on the home so I had another family member live in the place and pay partial rent until I was back on my feet. During the inspection they noticed the garage. This was done two owners before I even purchased the property.
(Mr. Campion read the Staff comments.)
Chairman Okum: This is your residence?
Mr. Perry: Yes.
Mr. Reichert: On your application you have another address in Sharonville under your name.
Mr. Perry: I moved back in (978 Ledro Street) at the end of August.
Mr. Reichert: In the area of the back part of the garage, is that sleeping accommodations?
Mr. Perry: No.
Mr. Reichert: Are there any windows in the garage itself, in the side or the back of the garage?
Mr. Perry: Yes, on the side. In the encapsulated area of the garage there is no window; I guess when they cut it in half they left the window visible as part of the extra room.
Mr. Weidlich: Is part of the wall between the existing home and what was the garage removed?
Mr. Perry: Yes.
Mr. Weidlich: So, they took out the wall and made a larger room out of the whole thing?
Mr. Perry: Exactly.
Mr. Weidlich: Where do you store your lawn and garden equipment?
Mr. Perry: In the shed in back.
Mr. Weidlich: Is that garage door operable?
Mr. Perry: Yes.
Chairman Okum: If you were to get everything out of the garage could you get a car of some type, in the garage?
Mr. Perry: Economy size; yes, you could.
Chairman Okum: Does the wall that is constructed between the garage and the extra room have a switch, electrical outlet?
Mr. Perry: Yes; it has a switch where you can turn a light on and there is a wall outlet at the bottom.
Mr. Hawkins: Based on the fact that when the home was constructed a one-car garage was required and if he can get a vehicle in there, at this time, I ask the question again is there a need for a variance for this applicant?
Chairman Okum: Our Code calls for a certain size garage, 200 s.f.
Does anyone have any further questions of the applicant?
(No one on the Board had any additional comments or questions.)
Mrs. Huber: I move to grant a variance to Section 153.105(B), so as to allow the elimination of an existing garage at property located at 978 Ledro Street. The Code Section is A single two-car garage and related parking area is required
(Mr. Reichert seconded the motion.)
Mr. Weidlich: When Mrs. Huber said the elimination of a garage, would we want to say the partial conversion of a garage instead of the elimination of it?
Mrs. Huber: Yes.
Chairman Okum: I think the intent is that there shall remain a certain amount of square footage that could function as a garage. We can do a motion to amend and we can insert that into it; a functional garage door, a garage must maintain 140 s.f. of garage space.
Mr. Emerson: My comment was that in the past we would always add in the operable garage door, and so many square feet.
Mr. Hawkins: I move to amend the motion to add that the applicant must maintain 140 s.f. of current garage or storage area and must maintain an operable garage door.
(Mr. Reichert 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. Mrs. Huber then polled the Members on the amended motion and with seven aye votes from the Board of Zoning Appeals Members the variance was approved with conditions.)
Mr. Squires: Mr. Hawkins, would you like to mention the EMS squad coming in from Glendale and also the purchase of an ambulance.
Mr. Hawkins: As Mr. Squires indicated our Administration had been contacted by Glendale, we apparently in the past many years ago had provided service for Glendale for EMS. Glendale is currently using Woodlawn to take care of those services and that is going to discontinue and they are now going to contract with Springdale to take care of those services. That should not be a problem for our City in terms of maintaining our current service to our residents; as well, we are also looking at getting a new ambulance. I believe Administration was indicating that we had one that is having some significant issues and there is another one that probably needs a lot of things revamped. So, it will be welcomed. As far as the impact on our residents, we are still doing shared resources with the neighboring areas.
Mrs. Huber: With reference to that new ordinance that we received a copy of, how many builders or individuals defaulted on their payment?
Mr. Squires: It is not many, Mrs. Huber, every now and then there are some that do and the City has always paid these fees up front, whether they are legal fees or Planners review fees. The City has always paid these with the understanding that the owner would repay the City when the contracts were signed for construction. That hasnt always happened. Now we have the ability to put a lien on the property owner for payment.
Mr. Hawkins moved to adjourn, Mr. Squires seconded the motion and the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting adjourned at 7:56 p.m.
Chairman Dave Okum
Secretary Jane Huber