20 NOVEMBER 2007

7:00 P.M.


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


Members Present:     Mr. Emerson, Mrs. Harlow, Mr. Squires, Mr. Weidlich,
Chairman Okum, Mrs. Huber

Members Absent:     Mr. Reichert

Others Present:     Mr. Campion, Inspection Supervisor



Mr. Squires moved to adopt the Minutes from October 16, 2007. Mrs. Huber seconded the motion. All members voted aye, and the October Minutes were approved with six affirmative votes.


A. Zoning Bulletin – October 1, 2007
B. Zoning Bulletin – October 15, 2007


Mr. Squires stated there was no report from Council.



Chairman Okum reported that Planning Commission met last week, November 13, 2007; we had the Board of Zoning Appeals recommendation for the storage buildings and garages. That was approved with an additional change that the garage section be utilized out of the average of the two; which is a little bit higher on the garages. And there was also a limit not to exceed 75% of the house size in that additional language. That goes to our City Planner for wording, and then it will come back to Planning Commission for another final approval, and then it can be referred up to Council for their action. There were a lot of compliments on the work that the Board had done on that, and I want to compliment everyone for their efforts and their review on it. I think it is very fair.
Sometimes we come across things that I would put in the classification of model language and I think that that will turn out to be model language that will be picked up by other communities because it does eliminate a lot of problems and it gives a fairness to accessory buildings that I think our code needed for a long time. The mayor spoke to it in essence in exactly the same thing in that it gives fairness to our Zoning Code; it is not arbitrary and it shows a concise set of numbers that can be quantifiable ascertained and there was a lot of compliments on that. We actually turned it over to our Planners Office to do the verbiage changes because they deal with Zoning Code writing all the time. Obviously it will still probably go through the Law Director’s Office. Council typically sends most legislation to the Law Director for a final review. I think probably after the first of the year we will see that in action. It didn’t change the issues of the “Reds”, except for that one item, when we changed it to 55%, but it did present a situation when people come to the Building Department and they are going to build an accessory structure, then they are going to have a number that they can work with. People who want to build those overly large garages and accessory buildings would see that and say, “There is fairness to this”; if I’ve got a big lot, that’s been taken into consideration. Right now we don’t have that situation, everybody has 120 square foot shed and we have a 400 to 700 foot garage and that is the way the Code is read.

20 NOVEMBER 2007


Mr. Perin from Staples tabled the discussion until December.


We had a sign change to Laptopworld at Princeton Plaza. Laptopworld is moving from where they are on the side by Larosa’s over to where CSI Sports used to be and CSI Sports moved to the Dinettes place; Skeffington’s is widening. There was a lot of change, but the only thing we were really considering was Laptopworld. Laptopworld’s sign says “”, Laptopworld’s corporate name is “Laptopworld”. They didn’t want to have to buy a whole new sign, they were accommodating the landlord by moving, but their signage would have overhung the borders of their building. So, it was going to end up being over the pass-through going to the adjacent parking area and they agreed that if it was within reason to take the “.com” off the sign and shorten in to just “Laptopworld” it probably would fit within their space and they are going to try to do that and submit written documentation to Mr. McErlane and our Building Department to support that.


There was no old business to report.


Approval of Variance to allow the applicant to have an 8 X 10 utility building to remain at 4 feet from the property line, Section 153.097 (B) (4) requires structural accessory structures to be 5 feet minimum from the side and rear lot lines. All other structures or uses may be located in a rear yard but must be not less than 5 feet from any rear or side lot lines.

Linda Kiser, owner of 171 Ruskin, stated that the shed was placed in the location (4 feet from property line) because that is where the concrete slab is, and that was there when I moved into the house. The original shed was probably about 2 feet from the property line. That was as close as I could put it without having it overhang onto the ground.

Chairman Okum: Your indication and testimony is that the original shed was closer to the property line than this shed is currently?

Mrs. Kiser: Yes.

Mr. Campion representing the Building Department presented the report:
Request for accessory building 4 foot from rear property line, 171 Ruskin Drive - The applicant is requesting a variance to allow her 8 X 10 vinyl utility building to remain at 4 feet from the rear property line, Section 153.097 (B) (4) requires accessory structures to be at least 5 foot minimum from the side and rear lot lines. A permit was issued to the applicant on 9/26/07 to erect an 8 X 10 utility building. The site plan submitted by the applicant and approved as part of the permit showed utility building to be located 5 feet from the rear lot line. When Gorden King, building inspector made his inspection on October 9, 2007 he found the structure to be 4 feet from the rear lot line in violation of the Zoning Code. The applicant was advised to move the utility building into compliance or seek a variance. The Board of Zoning Appeals granted a variance on June 19, 2007 to allow construction of a 132 square foot utility building, which the applicant apparently chose not to take advantage of; the variance for the size of the utility building only and not for the set back.

Mrs. Huber moved to approve a variance to allow the applicant to have an 8 X 10 utility building to remain at 4 feet from the rear property line at 171 Ruskin Drive.
Mr. Squires seconded the motion.

Chairman Okum: I guess I have a question in regards to the variance that was already granted for a larger utility building; this will then make that null and void?

Mr. Campion: I don’t really think so.

Chairman Okum responded it is less than the original, and the request for this is 8’ X 10’.

Mr. Campion: What you could put in your motion is that you are granting a variance for the shed to be 4 feet from the property line.

20 NOVEMBER 2007

Chairman Okum: I think that stating it is an 8’ X 10’ that is limiting and making the property hold to the 4 foot setback – would only be approved for an 8’ X 10’ storage building. I think that would be appropriate to understand it that way. If she or someone would decide to move from this location; if they wanted to put a new shed on that site 132 square feet, I guess that still holds, but they couldn’t put it 4 feet from the property line. They would still have to meet the standard.

Mr. Campion: Yes. This variance is for that 8’ X 10’ shed being 4 feet from the property line.

Chairman Okum answered, O.K.

Mr. Squires stated that was in Mrs. Huber’s motion, strictly for the 8’ X 10’ shed.
In the event that Mrs. Kiser decides to move or erect another shed, a 12’ X 11’ for example – 132 square feet – that would have to be according to code.

Chairman Okum: In regards to that, I would like some clarity from the Building Department, maybe at a later time, just regarding that because I would like to know that and how the Code addresses that. Based upon the motion and what has been discussed the consideration is on the 8’ X 10’ shed, 4 feet from the property line.

Mrs. Huber: First of all, I would like to thank you for getting a permit. So many people put the sheds up without a permit. So if you were utilizing a concrete slab as indicated in our paperwork, I really see no problem with leaving it as it is.

Mr. Squires: Mrs. Kiser, that concrete slab was there when you bought the house?

Mrs. Kiser responded, yes.

Mr. Squires: Even though it is only 4 feet from the rear property line, do you have adequate room back there to maintain that shed, to paint it and cut grass?

Mrs. Kiser states, yes.

Mr. Squires: That is the reason for the 5 foot variance, to begin with. If you can do it with 4 feet…

Mrs. Kiser added: The lawnmower will fit back there.

Mrs. Harlow: Mrs. Kiser, has any of your neighbors complained about the shed at all. They probably don’t even know that it is a foot off.

Mrs. Kiser answered, probably not.

Mrs. Harlow: Is there any foliage or shrubs, trees or anything along the back fence line?

Mrs. Kiser answered, there are trees and shrubs along the back fence line.

Mrs. Harlow responded, o.k., so that kind of hides the building a little bit, too?

Mrs. Kiser: Yes.

Chairman Okum: We were provided a cagis drawing showing the property and the shed, and the one thing that I will comment in regards to the cagis drawing is that it appears that the closest residence to this has the deepest distance to that; residence 160. So that certainly supports it. Also, that she has brought a larger shed than she was allowed under the Code. I will also be supporting this. I think that this also brings to light that possibly when we get these permits issued we go out to the property owner and stake. I hate to ask the Building Department to do that, but maybe that would help on these setback issues because we have had several over the years and maybe a visit by the inspector prior to the construction, so that we can put a stake in the ground to help the resident, for pools, sheds and the like.

Mr. Squires: Mr. Campion, is that within reason with the Building Department, a pre-construction inspection?

Mr. Campion: I can ask Bill. Usually the sheds go up pretty fast, so by the time Gorden gets around to looking at it, it is already up. When we issue the certificate for the variance, maybe we could state in there exactly what it is.

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Chairman Okum: I think our application for sheds covers that. I want to try to eliminate that need for a variance, if we can; if it means stopping by and marking the site. Maybe we could look at that. We may say there is a holding period before the shed can be erected, of ten days to give the Building Department time to go out and survey with the residents. Property lines are not truly exact. Typically we will have the cagis and we will be able to identify some type of landmark.

Mrs. Harlow: This address probably had that shed put in when the subdivision was fairly new. That was back in 1959, and that was probably before we had a lot of the Ordinances and the Zoning Codes that we have now; it might have been a legal nonconforming type of an issue, because I know on our property we had a concrete slab that was too close to the fence and when we erected a new shed we had to take care of that. I can understand too not wanting to have this extra piece of concrete hanging out the back of it; or if you moved it forward to the 5 feet, would you be on dirt?

Mrs. Kiser responded, yes.

Mrs. Harlow: So that would not make it nice for storing tools and things in there.
I don’t have any problem with that.

Mrs. Huber poled the Board and the variance was granted with a unanimous vote.

Chairman Okum added, your request for a variance is granted. You will get a letter in the mail from the City stating that your variance has been granted and it will have the specifics of the variance. You can just keep that, it stays on the property forever.

Thank you very much.


Chairman Okum: Be aware that Council elect and the Mayor have appointments to be made at their December meeting after the swearing in; and if you are interested in continuing on this Board or on another Board or Commission, please contact both Council and the Mayor so that they know you are interested.
We have Mr. Emerson, Mr. Weidlich, Mrs. Huber, and we have myself which is a liaison from the Planning Commission, and we have Mr. Squires because he is Council appointee.

Mrs. Harlow stated: Mrs. Huber and Mr. Emerson are Mayor appointments, and Mr. Weidlich is Council appointment. Mr. Weidlich has already expressed an interest in continuing.


A motion was made to adjourn, and the Board of Zoning Appeals adjourned at 7:25p.m.

                            Respectfully submitted

        ____________________________, 2007 ______________________________
                            David Okum, Chairman

_____________________________, 2007 ______________________________
                            Jane Huber, Secretary