BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING
DECEMBER 15, 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: James Squires, Jane Huber, Dave Okum, William Reichert,
Robert Emerson, Lawrence Hawkins III, and Robert Weidlich

Others Present: Randy Campion, Building Inspection Supervisor

   
III. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE


IV. ELECTION OF OFFICERS

Election of Chairman
Mr. Squires nominated Mr. David Okum for Chairman of Board of Zoning Appeals; seconded by Mr. Hawkins. With no further nominations Mrs. Huber closed the nominations, seconded by Mr. Reichert. With a unanimous vote Mr. Dave Okum accepted the Chairman position for Board of Zoning Appeals for 2010.

Election of Vice-Chairman
Mrs. Huber nominated Mr. Bob Weidlich for Vice-Chairman of Board of Zoning Appeals; seconded by Mr. Reichert. With no further nominations Mr. Squires moved to close the nominations, seconded by Mr. Reichert. With a unanimous vote
Mr. Robert Weidlich accepted the Vice-Chairman position for Board of Zoning for 2010.

Election of Secretary
Mr. Emerson nominated Mrs. Jane Huber for Secretary of Board of Zoning Appeals; seconded by Mr. Reichert. With no further nominations Mr. Hawkins moved to close the nominations, seconded by Mr. Reichert. With a unanimous vote Mrs. Huber accepted the Secretary position for Board of Zoning Appeals for 2010.


V. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 17 NOVEMBER, 2009

Mr. Weidlich moved for acceptance the November 17, 2009 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting minutes, Mrs. Huber seconded the motion and with 5 “aye” votes and 2 abstentions (2 new Board of Zoning Appeals Members), the minutes were adopted.


VI. CORRESPONDENCE


VII. REPORT ON COUNCIL

Mr. Squires gave a summary report of the previous Council Meetings; December 1st and December 2nd, including the installation of two new Council Members:
Mr. Lawrence Hawkins III and Mrs. Holly Emerson. On Wednesday night, December 2nd, chief on the agenda was Ordinance 31-2009, adopting cost containment measures, a furlough plan and a salary reduction plan for the City of Springdale and declaring an emergency. Council decided to have this as the first reading of this Ordinance and there are some changes, I think, that are going to be made.

Chairman Okum: Mr. Butrum suggested that there be some thought among Planning Commission Members that they consider a reduction in a small amount to represent the same consideration that the rest of the employees are giving to the City. These Boards haven’t had a price increase on their services for a long time, but I don’t think any of us do for the financial end of it anyway. I believe from understanding from the Council people on Planning Commission that it was the same situation; they could do it because most people do direct deposit, but it is not a major financial burden to the City to do that. I don’t think that it is something that we have to act on because it is a voluntary thing, but I think it is something that we should talk about and think about. I would throw out a 5% reduction for a period of time.

Mr. Hawkins: The idea of the Boards across the table doing that reduction to 3.8% was discussed and it was determined that there wasn’t going to be any kind of Ordinance passed to that extent, based in large part to the fact that there hasn’t been reductions, and the pay is relatively low plus the cost of going through that process would cancel out any benefit to doing that. If folks want to they can, there was some discussion and the Mayor had brought up the idea of elected officials taking a 3.8% reduction, as well; it isn’t anything that has been brought forth as an Ordinance but it was discussed.

Mr. Emerson: If you did that on a voluntary basis, where would the money go?

Chairman Okum: It would go back in the general fund. It is not a lot but it is more the meaning and the consideration because there are a lot of City employees that are doing it.

Mr. Squires: The actual cost of doing this for all of the Boards and Commissions would be more than it is worth to do this.

Chairman Okum: My feeling is if it would make a difference then I would be interested in carrying it forward and discussing it and if it doesn’t then there is no sense in bringing forward.


VIII. REPORT ON PLANNING COMMISSION

    Chairman Okum: The Planning Commission meeting concerning Wireless Communication Tower Conditional Use Permit hearing was again continued in progress. The next item on the agenda was Kemper Pond /
    IHOP Variance request for Tree Preservation Ordinance, 1309 and
    1333 E. Kemper Road; they came to the City concerning trimming the trees back and in that process someone removed the trees, one was a 21’ tree. They sent a representative to the Planning Commission Meeting and there is a $10,000 fine and replacement requirement under our Code; they made an offer of $2,500 against the fine and said they felt that was adequate. It was very inadequate. They were told to come to Planning Commission at the next meeting with a real plan for how they are going to deal with the situation.
    The other item we had on the agenda was the Zoning Code amendment for electronic signs; that did go through Planning Commission; it will effect approximately between 16 and 20 developments or business.


IX. CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT AND SWEARING IN OF APPLICANTS


X. OLD BUSINESS

There were no items of old business to be presented at this meeting.

XI. NEW BUSINESS

A. Chairman Okum: The owner of 11988 Marwood 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…”

Gena Schlotterbeck: I work for Housing Solutions and I am the property manager. We have a tenant, the Jones, who reside at 11988 Marwood Lane, they have been renting from us for about three years and they love the home. They are now in the process of purchasing the home. When they moved in, the garage is used for storage; they don’t put the car in the garage, at all. We are asking if we can leave the garage as is. They will be purchasing the home in a few months to get the eight thousand dollar tax credit. It is a two bedroom slab ranch and there is no basement. They do not sleep in there, they just put boxes and junk in there.

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

(Chairman Okum opened the floor to the audience, no one came forward and this portion of the meeting was closed.)

Mrs. Huber: I make a motion to grant a variance from Section 153.105(B) so as to allow the single car garage converted to living space to remain on property at
11988 Marwood Lane; “a single two-car garage and related parking area is required” as per Code.
Seconded by Mr. Emerson.

Mrs. Huber: As much as I can see from going by the property there appears to be a storage building in the side yard; does that belong to that property?

Ms. Schlotterbeck: Yes.

Mrs. Huber: And they use the space that we are referring to as a garage, as storage area also; it has never been used as a living area?

Ms. Schlotterbeck: They do not sleep in there at all. There are just two people that live there, husband and wife.

Mrs. Huber: They are going to buy it ultimately?

Ms. Schlotterbeck: Yes, it is in the process right now.

Mr. Weidlich: Their lawn and garden equipment, does that go into the shed and not the storage area?

Ms. Schlotterbeck: Yes.

Mr. Weidlich: Is the garage door operational?

Ms. Schlotterbeck: No. They would have to tear down the board they have. They are trying to prevent the cold and heat from coming in. They don’t open it at all.

Mr. Weidlich: But is it still in tact, are there garage door tracks and openers still there?

Ms. Schlotterbeck: Yes. They just don’t use it, their car sits outside.

Mr. Weidlich: On the application it says that it was already converted to living space when it was purchased. What is in there right now?

Ms. Schlotterbeck: There is no carpet other than a throw rug and the bare concrete floor. There are shelves in there for working with tools and there is a little space heater.
Mr. Weidlich: So you are saying that it still has the configuration of a garage inside.

Ms. Schlotterbeck: Yes. It would be very inconvenient for them to move all of their stuff out, the shed in the back is too small. It is not living area; they are not living in the garage.

Mr. Weidlich: It is not a problem then to have this garage door become operational by taking down that board, and whether they park a car in there or they store stuff in there it would still be a garage area, correct?

Ms. Schlotterbeck: Sure. Yes, they would just have to take down this big giant board with nails on it and they don’t want to do that at all, they want to leave it like it is.

Mr. Squires: I understand your testimony but do they ever intend at any time to use that as a living area?

Ms. Schlotterbeck: No, absolutely not. They could lie to me, but no. It is just the two of them and they use one bedroom as an office and sleep in the other bedroom. They don’t use the garage for living quarters.

Mr. Squires: The reason is, there would have to be some electrical inspections and things like that, if that was going to be a living area there.

Ms. Schlotterbeck: Yes. There are electrical outlets in there. We did have the house inspected (rental permit inspection) and everything passed, except for the garage because of the boxes in there.

Mr. Emerson: I am getting a mixed signal, has this conversion already happened, or is it just a garage?

Ms. Schlotterbeck: It is a garage with a big board inside that is hammered shut, they don’t open it at all.

Mr. Emerson: The only reason the City has the impression that this is being converted or has been converted is because the garage door is being blocked by a piece of plywood to try to keep the cold air out.

Ms. Schlotterbeck: Yes, sir.

Mr. Emerson: Concrete floor, and are the walls finished in there?

Ms.Schlotterbeck: Yes, concrete floor and the walls are painted in the garage and there are some shelves in there.

Mr. Emerson: I’m think this is a variance for what could be constructed in the future. It sounds to me like a garage door that has been boarded up.

Chairman Okum: I lived in Heritage Hill for many, many years and I don’t know of any house over there that didn’t have drywall on the walls, drywall on the ceiling and a register in the ceiling. That is the way those houses were built; they were not living space.

Ms. Schlotterbeck: You could use it either way, either storage or living but they are using it for storage.

Mr. Hawkins: Just for clarity sake, is there insulation and drywall in this garage?

Ms. Schlotterbeck: No.

Mr. Hawkins: How long has this space been like this?

Ms. Schlotterbeck: Three years; they have lived there for three years.
Mr. Hawkins: Prior to that, when this property was purchased was this board up?

Ms. Schlotterbeck: It was there when they moved in.

Chairman Okum: A functioning garage door is required by Code. If the functioning garage door required removing some screws and the track is still there, if I were to tell someone that they couldn’t increase their insulation factor of their property by putting some insulation against that overhead door opening, I would be wrong in doing that. On the other hand, the Code is clear that it needs to be a functioning garage door, is that right, Mr. Campion?

Mr. Campion: That is correct.

Chairman Okum: Because it is being used as storage; I guess the question is and I thought I read something that there is access from the living room directly into the garage; so there is no doorway?

Ms. Schlotterbeck: From the living room you can go straight into the garage.

Chairman Okum: So there is no door?

Ms. Schlotterbeck: I don’t think there is, but there could be.

Chairman Okum: Obviously, if there is a clear opening between a living room and the garage, I could understand why an inspector going in there, whether it was finished nicely or not with shelving on the wall or storage, it would still be assumed that because there was no separation for purposes of keeping fumes out of the house, there would be no way that they could have a functioning garage. We have a non-functioning garage door, as a result of the board; how is that attached?

Ms. Schlotterbeck: I don’t know; it is either nailed or something holding it. It is directly applied to the garage door and it may extend over a little bit.

Chairman Okum: Mr. Campion, if the applicant would remove the plywood or whatever cover it is that is over top of the overhead door, would that satisfy the requirements of the Code?

Mr. Campion: If the applicant would remove the barrier that is over the garage door and the garage door is functional, then I would say that it is a garage. You can store items in your garage.

Chairman Okum: You don’t have to park a car in the garage; there is nothing in the Code that says you have to. If you were to remove that barrier, so that garage door could be functional, you wouldn’t need a variance.

Ms. Schlotterbeck: True. They just want to leave it up because they are going to purchase the home.

Chairman Okum: Whether they purchase the home or not the Code still applies; it doesn’t separate out whether it is a rental home or it is occupied by a private owner; the only thing that would not occur is the safety inspection that is occurring as a result of this being a rental property.

Mr. Reichert: Besides the fact of the garage door going up and down, I think they would have to replace the door going into the home; that would have to be put back on if there is not a door separating the garage from the residence.

Mr. Campion: That is correct.

Ms. Schlotterbeck: The door is on there, it is on there. I first thought there wasn’t, but there is.

Mr. Campion: The Code requires a 20 minute separation between the garage and the house; usually it is just a inch layer of drywall and a door.

Chairman Okum: You would not need a variance if you were to just remove the wood or whatever it is. They could add an insulated garage door and improve the house because it would give them the thermal separation that they don’t have with an older garage door. I am very favorable to the $8,000 incentive for purchase, hopefully that is to help these people put the money back into their home and an insulated garage door is a good item for them to invest in.

Mr. Reichert: Also an insulated garage door would qualify for a tax credit.

Chairman Okum: I haven’t heard a lot of positives from this Board in regards to this variance. If this is voted on, I can’t tell you whether it will be approved. You can withdraw or let us vote on it. Would you like us to vote?

Ms. Schlotterbeck: Yes, sir.

Mr. Emerson: My hang-up is the motion clearly states “living space” and I think by approving living space you are opening the door for them to make further improvements without the City knowing about it.

Chairman Okum: If there is a negative vote to the motion, the applicant will be required to remove the barrier and take care of the separation between the spaces.
Based upon the facts, I think it is very simple to see that the applicant is able to live up to the Code. Certainly the lot size would accommodate a larger addition, but there is nothing in our Code that says they can’t utilize that space for storage.
Seeing there is no further discussion, Mrs. Huber would you poll the Board?

(Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members and with a unanimous “no” vote the request for the variance was denied.)

Chairman Okum: The request for a variance was denied; they will have to conform to the Code.


B. Chairman Okum: The owner of 12065 Greencastle Drive requests a variance to construct a 13’ X 11’ deck 11 ’ from the rear property line. Said variance is from Section 153.580(D) “an entrance, deck or open but roofed porch may project… not more than 50% into a required rear yard.”

Mr. Sean Teague: I am the property owner of 12065 Greencastle and my request as stated is to construct a 13’ X 11’ deck on the rear of my property, which puts the deck at about 11 ’ from the property line; and keep in mind that the lot purchased from the City is an irregular lot and to begin with there had to be a variance requested in order to construct a home of that size and the property setback was only 22 ’ as soon as I walk out the back of my door.

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

(Chairman Okum opened the floor to the audience; no one came forward and this portion of the hearing was closed.)

Mr. Reichert: Section 153.072 required a 40’ setback; that has already been addressed earlier and he has earned a variance for 22’; so we are really only applying for the 50%, is that correct, Mr. Campion?

    Mr. Campion: Yes.

    Mr. Reichert: I would like to make a motion to grant a variance for the property of 12065 Greencastle Drive from Section 153.580(D) so as to allow a deck to project up to 50% into a rear yard; based upon that requirement the minimum setback for the deck would be 22’; the variance would be for the 11 ’.
    Seconded by Mr. Weidlich.

    Mr. Weidlich: Are you planning to put a roof on this deck?

    Mr. Teague: No.

    Mr. Weidlich: I have no problems with the request, I will be supporting it.

Mrs. Huber: Do you have something out there now?

Mr. Teague: In error, when I came before the Board before, I mistakenly thought that Mr. Tulloch had said that I had permission that was going to be granted for future construction of the deck; but the City quickly put that to a halt. So I stopped and came to speak to Mr. Tulloch and that is when we spoke to the Building Department and it was explained to me how it should have been handled. The base of the deck is constructed, but not completed.

Mr. Huber: Is that the size of what you want?

Mr. Teague: That is. The only thing left is the railings.

Mrs. Huber: I have no problem with the request.

Mr. Hawkins: You have come before the Board several times before dealing with requests for variance, was there any discussion previously that there may be plans for a deck in the future when you came initially?

Mr. Teague: Yes. I was under the impression the first time that I had come before the Board that permission was granted; that was the assumption that was made that I would have some type of deck at the rear of the property but I was in error because there was no information in the file. When I began construction, the City sent the notice and I did have to stop construction of the deck. I went to Jeff and the Building Department explained that I didn’t have the proper setback and I would have to come before the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Chairman Okum: I pretty much envisioned a deck being built there; I remember seeing that outline on the back of the building. This is a very irregular lot; it would be ridiculous to think that the deck should go to where there is room on the side.
I will be supporting this request.

Mrs. Huber polled the Board and with a 7-0 “aye” vote the request for a variance was granted.


XII. DISCUSSION

Mr. Squires: I would like to call your attention to the Minutes; I’m referring to
Page 4, the last meeting you had you turned down a request for a fence, is it up to the Board of Zoning Appeals to give that person so many days to get the job done?

Mr. Campion: In most of these cases they have already been cited, they have been sent a letter. If they appeal that to the Board then that stops the clock and we wait until we hear from the Board. We work with people and they may go back and give them thirty days. Usually we send them a notice telling them that they have been denied. Like the garage conversion tonight, the inspector will contact them and tell them they need to convert it and he will give them a reasonable amount of time to do that; if they don’t then we will take them to Mayor’s Court.

Chairman Okum: I don’t sign denials; we probably should.

Mr. Squires: What are the fines on that, do you know?

Mr. Campion: When they get to Mayor’s Court they tend to continue things and give them more time and they will fine them Court costs, but it is usually not a lot of money, I think it is $175.00.

Chairman Okum: I think there are probably a lot of resolutions that have occurred by Mr. Ward's inspections, I think he has been very successful in making things happen. I just don’t want it to sound so easy, especially investment owners; I think the New Year’s resolution is to have the owner sign a “right to photograph” in their application and then Brian or somebody can get photos to us prior to the hearing so that we have them as part of the evidence that is presented.

Mr. Reichert: I think it would help us be informed.

Chairman Okum: Sometimes the applicant submits those as part of their package; they should present those because they are the one making the application.

Mr. Emerson: Then why don’t we put the burden on the homeowner; let them take the pictures for their case.


XIII. ADJOURNMENT

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

Mr. Reichert moved to adjourn, seconded by Mr. Hawkins; all members of the Board of Zoning Appeals signified by saying “aye” and the meeting adjourned at 8:19 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

________________________,2010 ___________________________________
            Chairman Dave Okum



________________________,2010 ___________________________________
            Secretary Jane Huber