BOARD OF ZONING MEETING
DECEMBER 16, 2008
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, Robert Emerson, Jane Huber, Dave Okum, William Reichert

Members Absent: Randy Danbury

Others Present: Randy Campion, Commercial Building Inspector

III. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

IV. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 18 NOVEMBER 2008

Mr. Reichert moved for acceptance the November 18, 2008 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting minutes, Mrs. Huber seconded the motion and with a unanimous vote from all Members present (Mr. Danbury being absent) the November Board of Zoning Appeals minutes were adopted.

V. CORRESPONDENCE

a. Zoning Bulletin – November 10, 2008
b. Zoning Bulletin – November 25, 2008

VI. REPORT ON COUNCIL

Mr. Diehl gave the report on Council: We had some housekeeping things to take care of; primarily the budget, preliminary being approved and the reading will be at the next meeting.

VII. REPORT ON PLANNING COMMISSION

Chairman Okum: Planning Commission met last Tuesday evening and we had one item on the agenda and that was the Hooters Restaurant on Route 4 and
Ray Norrish Drive. There was storm damage to the building and the owners of Hooters decided that they would get that taken care of as promptly as they could. They did repaint the building, as well. They painted the brick elevations instead of fixing them. They are going to come back to Planning Commission with a plan for redoing the building elevations; it did not conform with the Corridor Review District or the PUD approval that was approved for this site.

VIII. CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT

IX. OLD BUSINESS

A. The owner of 11893 Ventura Court 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…”
Ms. Martaly DeHamer, owner of 11893 Ventura stepped forward: I am here for 11893 Ventura Court.

Chairman Okum: Do you have anything you would like to add in regard to your request?

Ms. Martaly DeHamer: No.

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

Chairman Okum: At this time we will open the floor for comments from the audience. (No one stepped forward.)

Mrs. Huber: I move to grant a variance from Section 153.105(B), so as to allow a previously converted garage to remain as living and storage space; the property is located at 11893 Ventura Court.
Mr. Reichert: I second the motion.

Mr. Emerson: How long have you owned the property?

Ms. DeHamer: I think since 1989.

Mr. Emerson: As long as you have owned it has it been converted over?

Ms. DeHamer: Yes.

Chairman Okum: Just for the record, is it a partially converted garage?

Ms. DeHamer: Yes.

Chairman Okum: Has it been changed since it was originally converted?

Ms. DeHamer: No.

Chairman Okum: The storage space is by the garage door; so if you were to open the garage door you would see the storage space?

Ms. DeHamer: Yes.

Chairman Okum: So, the garage door is remaining?

Ms. DeHamer: Yes.

Chairman Okum: If there were conditions put on the variance that it would remain that way, you would not have a problem with that?

Ms. DeHamer: No.

Chairman Okum: You would maintain 108 s.f. of storage and the garage door would remain?

Ms. DeHamer: Yes.

Chairman Okum: Based upon other variances that have been considered by this Board, I think that is a reasonable approach to it.
Is there adequate parking area outside of the garage?

Ms. DeHamer: Yes.

Chairman Okum: How many cars can you park in that outside area?

Ms. DeHamer: About four.
Chairman Okum: So that is more than adequate; more than what we see at other properties.

Mr. Weidlich: I would like to amend the motion that the property at 11893 Ventura Court; the front portion of the garage remain a storage area of approximately
9’ X 12’ and that the garage door remain on the building and not be removed and boarded up; also, that the additional parking in front not be removed.
Mr. Reichert: I will second the amendment.

Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeal Members and with 6 “aye” votes (one member absent) the amendment to the motion was approved.

Mrs. Huber then polled the Board of Zoning Appeal Members and with 6 “aye” votes (one member absent) the request for a variance with conditions was granted.

Chairman Okum: Your variance with conditions has been granted, you will be getting a formal letter from the City after we approve the minutes at the next meeting.


X. NEW BUSINESS

A. The owner of 11994 Marwood Lane requests a variance to allow a 10’ X 12’ utility building remain 2’ from the side property line. Section 153.097(B) (4) requires accessory structures to be 5 feet minimum from the side and rear lot lines.
   
    Mr. Remigio Cruz owner of 11994 Marwood Lane stepped forward: I live at 11994 Marwood Lane.
        Mr. Josh Colon also stepped forward: I live in Fairfield Township; I am here to translate for Mr. Remigio Cruz.

        Chairman Okum: Would you like to present to us the reason why you are requesting this variance?

        Mr. Josh Colon translating for Mr. Remigio: He wasn’t aware that it had to be 5’ over. Where it is now is really not being an impediment to anyone and also it would cost an extra amount to move it over.

        Chairman Okum: Is there any particular conditions that the building could not be put where it was supposed to be?

        Mr. Josh Colon: There was a side walkway that exits next to the house that goes straight into the shed and it made it easier to get everything in and out of the shed; not having to reconstruct that side of the sidewalk on the side of the house leading to the shed.
        There is a tree right there that he would have to remove to be able to bring it to that entrance.

        Chairman Okum: Was there an existing shed there that was replaced, or is this a new shed?

        Mr. Josh Colon: There was one there that was little and very old, and that is why he constructed this new one.

        Chairman Okum: Is the new shed the same size as the old one or a little larger?

        Mr. Josh Colon: It is a little bigger than the old one.

        Chairman Okum: Is the new building closer to the fence than the original building?

        Mr. Josh Colon: Almost the same.

        Chairman Okum: Was there a foundation or a concrete pad where the old building was?

        Mr. Josh Colon: It was just on the grass.

Chairman Okum: Is there anything else you would like to add in your testimony?

        Mr. Josh Colon: No.

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

        Mr. Josh Colon: The only thing we would like to add, towards the rear it appears to be 2’ rather than 5’, the reason for that is there is a privacy fence in the back of his lot, then if you look behind the fence the lot continues about 3’ or 4’ more and it has like an indentation and that is why they have the privacy fence there. It is 2’ from the privacy fence, but he has more property going after the privacy fence.

        Chairman Okum: Is there two fences behind his home?

        Mr. Josh Colon: When you look behind the privacy fence you will see the metal fence 3’ to 4’ after that and that ends his property; his property continues 3’ to 4’ after that privacy fence and then there is the metal fence. I think the reason they did that is because that section has a slope that somebody could fall, or a child could fall.

        Chairman Okum: Did this gentleman construct the privacy fence, or was it there before?

        Mr. Josh Colon: It was there when he bought the property.

        Mr. Campion: The Cagis map doesn’t show the fence, but I would guess based on the Cagis map it looks like it is 5’ to the property line.

        Chairman Okum: The variance request is strictly for the 2’ side yard set back. Let’s put the 5’ and the metal fence aside because it wasn’t part of the request and we need to evaluate that. But, we should be looking at the side yard set back for this request.

Chairman Okum: At this point we will open the floor for communication from the public. (No one stepped forward.)

        Mrs. Huber: I move to grant a variance from Section 153.097(B)(4), so as to allow a utility building to remain 2’ from the side lot line on property located at 11994 Marwood Lane.
        Mr. Emerson: I will second the motion.

        Chairman Okum: I just want to make sure that the applicant understands the proceedings?

        Mr. Josh Colon: Yes, he does.

        Chairman Okum: Is there anyone here that would like to ask questions of the applicant?

        Mr. Diehl: Could you tell me where the tree is?

        Chairman Okum: It is in front of the shed.
        How was the building constructed?

        Mr. Josh Colon: It was constructed right there.

        Chairman Okum: Does it have a foundation?

        Mr. Josh Colon: It has a cement block foundation.
        Chairman Okum: Is there a floor in the shed?

        Mr. Josh Colon: There is a floor.

        Chairman Okum: If this were not approved how would Mr. Cruz move it?

        Mr. Josh Colon: He would have to destroy it, take it apart and throw it away.

        Chairman Okum: Are you able to service the area between the shed and the fence?

        Mr. Josh Colon: Yes, he uses the weed-whacker effectively.

        Chairman Okum: Out of the photos that we received it appears that there is no overhang on the shed on that side yard set-back which means there is no overhang that is overtop of the neighbors property.

        Mr. Diehl: The sidewalk, is it new? I see it lines up right with the door.

        Mr. Josh Colon: The one that goes with bricks from the concrete to the shed is new.
        The concrete is not new.

        Chairman Okum: The concrete that you are referring to is by the door of the shed or the house.

        Mr. Josh Colon: It is by the house. He used the bricks to continue that sidewalk.

        Chairman Okum: At this point, there is no other discussion and there is no motion to amend, we are going to call to question.

        Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeal Members and with 6 “aye” votes (one member absent) the request for the variance was granted.


B. The owner of 897 Ledro Street requests a variance for the elimination of the garage. Said variance is from Section 153.105(B) “A single two-car garage and related parking area is required…”

David Temmesfeld representing Daniel Temmesfeld the owner of the property located at 897 Ledro Street came forward: I live in West Chester. My brother moved to Oregon in August of last year. My brother bought the house in February 2002. The garage had been converted into a living space well before Dan had bought the property; it was turned into a family room. Dan estimated that it had been converted by the previous owner in the late 80’s or early 90’s. Dan doesn’t know if the previous owner acquired a permit. Dan began renting the home in December of 2007. It would be an economic hardship for them to reconvert the garage back to a standard garage.

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

Chairman Okum: At this time we will open the floor for comments from the audience. (No one stepped forward.)

Mr. Weidlich: I would like to make a motion that we allow the approximate 75% conversion of a garage at 897 Ledro Street to remain living space and approximately 84 s.f. be designated as storage space with the garage door left in place.
Mr. Reichert: I will second that motion.

Chairman Okum: I will ask the same question that I asked the last person that presented a request; how much parking area is at this address?

Mr. Temmesfeld: There is room for two cars in front of the garage.

Chairman Okum: Would there be adequate space to allow for any additional cars?

Mr. Temmesfeld: No.

Chairman Okum: Is there topography issues to prohibit that, such as a wall or slope?

Mr. Temmesfeld: Yes.

Chairman Okum: Seeing there are no motions or further deliberations, we will call to question and vote on the request.

Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeal Members and with 6 affirmative votes, (one member absent) the request for the variance was granted.

C. The owner of 930 Ledro Street requests a variance for 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. Bob Weaver, owner of the property at 930 Ledro stepped forward: I am requesting a zoning variance for the garage area that has been converted to a nice living area when I purchased the property on 07/17/2006.

Chairman Okum: Just so I understand, there is a storage area?

Mr. Weaver: Yes.

Chairman Okum: It is approximately 7’ X 12’?

Mr. Weaver: Yes. And there is plenty of parking.

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

Chairman Okum: At this time we will open the floor for comments from the audience. (No one stepped forward.)

Mr. Reichert: I make a motion to grant a variance from Section 153.105(B) for the garage to be made as approximately 240 s.f. of living space and 84 s.f. of storage and that the garage door would remain in place.
Mr. Weidlich: I second the motion.

Chairman Okum: Can you explain the outdoor parking area?

Mr. Weaver: I have two parking spots in the driveway area plus four to five spots on the street that are in front on the property and on the side of the property.

Chairman Okum: Seeing as there are no further questions of the applicant and no further discussion or comments from the Board, we will call to question.

Mrs. Huber polled the Board and with 6 affirmative votes from the Board of Zoning Appeal Members, (one member being absent) the request for the variance was granted.

Chairman Okum: Mr. Weaver you will get a notice in the mail that your variance has been granted after we vote on the minutes at the next meeting.

XI. DISCUSSION

Chairman Okum: I don’t think we are going to be able to do anything with the garage conversions. The only thing we can do is be consistent on the issue. We are certainly not expected to tell everybody in the City of Springdale that they are going to have to take their garages out, their living spaces out. Some of the things that come up through this process help for zoning code purposes I think that the mandatory requirement of a certain amount of storage space be maintained; that the mandatory requirement that the overhead doors not be removed; a mandatory requirement that there is ample parking. I think those are necessary things for anybody that has a converted garage.

Mrs. Huber: May I ask why the code now says that a two-car garage is required in Heritage Hill?

Chairman Okum: There is a situation where a house burnt down in Heritage Hill and they rebuilt and the zoning code applied and they were required to build a two-car garage on that home.

Mr. Emerson: My comment is that these three tonight are all related to rental property inspections; how many of them are over there that will never be discovered because they are not rental property and who is to say how many of these are constructed because a family member did it; is there any inspection done on these to see if they are up to code. Can you go back and see what the code was to see if they are done right?

Chairman Okum: I think life-safety issues are being looked at the housing inspections.

Mr. Campion: It is still a superficial inspection, you can’t see what is inside the walls; but if they see something such as if there is a junction box with wires hanging out of it or something that looks like it is a life-safety issue they will write them up on that.

Chairman Okum: I do megatrometer testing on some fire damage jobs, which is a method of testing resistance inside the wires. Meg testing for the space like in the garage conversion in Heritage Hill would be about $250.00 for someone to do a megatrometer test. I am more worried about life safety issues with those garage conversions than I am anything else. Those houses in Heritage Hill do not have insulation in the exterior walls; there was a foil backed drywall in those homes and that was the insulation barrier. Like I said, unless you do a megatrometer test you would not know if there were any resistance issues in the wiring in that space.
Most of those garages don’t have a window.

Mr. Emerson: So, where is the nearest exit door? If they are closing off their garage door that garage door may have been the exit.

Chairman Okum: The exit is into the house.

Mr. Emerson: If there is a fire in the kitchen then they are stuck.

Chairman Okum: Especially if there is no window in that space; if it is finished space and it is used as a bedroom, I don’t know how our building department is looking at it but I think they will probably require that they put a window in.

Mr. Campion: You would have to have an egress window and you would have to have a smoke detector in and outside the bedroom door.

Chairman Okum: And how would you determine if it is a bedroom or a recreation room? I would say if there is a bed in the room during the inspection or if there is a closet constructed in the space, then the inspectors would lean toward that being a bedroom space. I think if it is being used as a bedroom you have to think life-safety right away.

Mr. Campion: Or we would tell them they can’t use it as a bedroom.

Chairman Okum: You can’t enforce that but we do have a re-inspection process on the rentals.
Mr. Emerson: On most of these is the door removed?

Mr. Campion: No, for most of them the door is still there.

Mr. Emerson: It is a fire door?

Mr. Campion: It is usually a hollow-core door.

Chairman Okum: The reason the rental inspection process was passed was for safety and eliminating urban blight and I think you are doing that by the inspection process that was approved. I will say this, if they eliminate all storage then I will be a “no” vote.

I guess the first of the year, according to Mr. Dale we are going to need to start including the reason for a variance. The question might be a little stronger; we are going to need to turn over a new leaf. I don’t think we as a City want to make it an easy street to come to the Board for a variance. The community has an attitude that we will do that. Anne and Bill are going to work on a questionnaire that ties to that very closely.


XII. ADJOURNMENT

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

Mrs. Huber moved to adjourn and Mr. Emerson seconded the motion, the Board of Zoning Appeals adjourned at 8:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,


________________________,2009 ___________________________________
            Chairman Dave Okum



________________________,2009 ___________________________________
            Secretary Jane Huber