Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes

16 December 1997

7:00 p.m.

  2. The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman James Squires.


Members Present: David Okum, Councilwoman Kathy McNear,

Dave Whitaker, Councilman Robert Wilson,

Thomas Schecker, Barbara Ewing and

Chairman Squires

Others Present: Richard Lohbeck, Building Inspector

Chairman Squires welcomed Dave Whitaker and Councilman Bob Wilson to the Board of Zoning Appeals.


    1. Chairman
    2. Mrs. McNear nominated Mr. Squires and Mr. Schecker seconded the nomination. There were no other nominations, and Mr. Squires was elected by acclamation.

    3. Vice Chairman
    4. Mrs. McNear nominated Mr. Okum and Mr. Schecker seconded the nomination. There were no other nominations, and Mr. Okum was elected by acclamation.

    5. Secretary

Mr. Schecker nominated Mrs. Ewing and Mrs. McNear seconded the nomination. There were no other nominations, and Mrs. Ewing was elected by acclamation.


Mr. Okum moved for adoption and Mr. Schecker seconded the motion. By voice vote, all voted aye except for Messrs. Whitaker and Wilson who abstained, and the Minutes were adopted with five affirmative votes.

    1. 12/3/97 Letter to Maple Knoll Village re variance request for patio room at 609 Maple Trace
    2. Minutes of Planning Commission Meeting Ė 11 November 1997
    1. Report on Council Activities Ė Kathy McNear
    2. Mrs. McNear stated that tomorrow we will have the continuation of the Public Hearing on the Target project. If any of you could attend that would be great.

    3. Report on Planning Commission Ė David Okum

Mr. Okum reported that the proposed Garden Center Expansion at Wal-Mart, which was tabled was dropped because there was no representation. The request to install a 7í x 50í leasing banner on the IDI Building at 12075 Northwest Boulevard also was dropped due to no representation.

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Mr. Okum continued that the presentation to amend Preliminary Plan for Tri-County Commons PUD to allow the construction of proposed MARS Music Store at 11805 Commons Drive. MARS stands for Music and Recording Superstore and it looked like the outside of a Steinbergís, which we discussed. They wanted to locate adjacent to Dave & Busterís, breaking the façade to a flat face on the building; they wanted to paint it all white with a lot of signage and other things that are opposite from the way that development has gone. After a lot of discussion, there was a motion to approve and a vote of four affirmative, two against, which would have required five affirmative votes from Council. The applicant requested that it be reconsidered and it was tabled for more information in the January meeting. Micro I appealed the plan and engineering fees for the addition on Northland Boulevard. There were numerous reinspections and those bills were higher than anticipated. After much discussion, appeal was denied. Under discussion we brought Planning Commission up to date on the Zoning Code review. To update this board, we anticipate that March it will be complete. Signage was the big issue at the last meeting; big pole signs were eliminated for the new Code; neon lighting and translucent panels and canopies that contain signage also are considered signage. This is in development, and they are looking into it to make sure everything is proper before it comes before this Board and Council.


All testimony given in cases pending before this Board are to be made part of the public record. As such, each citizen testifying before this Board is directed to (1) take his place at the podium; (2) state his name address and nature of his variance; and be advised that all testimony given is made part of the public record by way of a recording.


A variance once granted will be referred back to the Board of Zoning Appeals if after the expiration of six months no construction is done in accordance with the terms and condition of the said variance.

If a variance appeal is denied, the applicant may resubmit the appeal six months after the denial.


Michaels Crafts, 425 East Kemper Road requests variance to allow them to move their existing wall sign west (47.43 square feet over allowable). Said variance is requested from Section 153.092(D)(1)(b) "..Maximum gross area of signs = (W x 1.5) + 40 square feet."(Granted 10/21/97 Ė modification requested ) tabled 11/18/97

It was reported that Michaels decided not to continue with that request and went back to the original variance granted in October. Mrs. McNear moved to drop the item from the agenda and Mr. Okum seconded the motion. By voice vote all present voted aye, and the item was dropped from the agenda.

Maple Knoll Village, 11100 Springfield Pike requests variance to allow the construction of a patio room 29 feet from the rear yard at 609 Maple Trace. Said variance is requested from Section 153.165(F) (35í variance granted March 16, 1993) tabled 11/18/97

Lena Mares, Associate Executive Director of Maple Knoll Village said LI am here on behalf of the resident asking for the patio enclosure.

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Mr. Squires said it is our understanding that Maple Knoll will continue to own that property and the construction will remain. Does the Maple Knoll Village administration wish for the construction to be made in accordance with the present architecture?

Ms. Mares responded initially we were prepared to allow the patio enclosure. There were two requests, one was for a room addition which did have to meet the requirements of the exterior façade of the existing building. On the second request for the patio enclosure, I understand this groupís concern was that it would not appear to have met the architectural requirements.

Since that time, Champion has agreed to adjust the pitch of the roof to make it a little more consistent with the existing architecture. There also was a question about aluminum siding, and Champion also has agreed to change that to painted redwood that would match the painted trim of the existing building. We are in accordance with that.

Mr. Squires commented we began to wonder what was going on at Maple Knoll. It is such a beautifully constructed community that we were concerned about some of the additions that might not be compatible.

Ms. Mares responded because of the unit location at the very back corner of the property, and the fact that it is not seen from any area, we were a little more lenient than we would normally be if it were a more visible area.

Mr. Wilson commented I saw the unit at 611which was previously approved. Will this unit be the same? Ms. Mares responded it will be considerably different. The room addition you saw is fully heated and air conditioned and usable 12 months a year. The unit at 609 is a patio enclosure that will be more for summer use. It is more of a sliding patio type glass enclosure.

Mr. Wilson wondered if they will be able to enter and exit from the patio onto the back. Jim Marowitz said I run the enclosure division for Champion , and you will be able to enter and exit. Mr. Wilson continued so this is the first of its type being done at Maple Knoll. Ms. Mares confirmed this.

Mr. Wilson asked if they anticipated that others might want to do the same thing. Will we see a request for variance every time a new resident wishes to have a patio enclosure? Ms. Mares responded the reason for this variance request is because of the distance from the end of the property line. In some instances a variance would not be necessary because it would not be that close to the property line. We have an overall variance that was granted when the project was first designed for parking. Because this is a room enclosure, a variance was required. A variance would not be required in every instance, and we would look at each case individually in terms of where it is located, how visible it would be, the use of the room and whether or not it is possible because not every area is conducive to adding that type of enclosure.

Mr. Wilson said my concern is that we donít have an influx of variances. By approving this, we might be encouraging other units to want to do the same thing. If we are going to do this individually, every month we could have someone coming in requesting a variance. If those owners wish to have these added on, maybe we need to consider doing this as a unit.

Ms. Mares responded I really donít know. It is a concern for us as well. We donít want to have a situation where we have rooms of this type that will intrude on a space that we donít want it to intrude.

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Ms. Mares continued this particular area is pretty isolated. Whether or not it will start something I donít know. I canít say that, but I do think we want it to be consistent to the extent that it is appropriate to that space.

Mr. Okum added I had the same concern, that there be some symmetry. When Maple Knoll presented the project to the City, the buildings had symmetry; all the features on the buildings, the architecture and styles were similar among the units. There is a drastic difference with this. I would hope that Maple Knoll Village would adopt a particular style or theme for their enclosures that is consistent for all their units, and then make a decision as to whether any others would be built or not built based on the use of the land and how it appeals to the rest of the site. This is a physical structure and falls under the guidelines of the Code.

Mr. Okum said Iím not sure if you bring this roof up to a 7/12... Mr. Marowitz responded the intent is not to bring it to a 7/12, but to a 3 1/2/12. Mr. Okum asked the pitch of the roofs on the complex and Mr. Marowitz answered my understanding is it is steeper. I think we should make it clear that there was never an attempt on our part to 100% duplicate the exact pitch of the existing structure, nor was the intent of the resident to be looking for a room addition or something that is in complete accordance with the structure of the building. What she is looking for is an area where she can go to enjoy the breeze, be protected from bugs and sun and also fit into the existing design and structure. That is what we did with the modifications that Ms. Mares requested of us in terms of making the roof give some additional pitch, and covering the areas on the outside with redwood and having them painted so it matched the existing. The resident today made it completely clear to me that she had no desire or need for a full blown room addition. She has no desire to heat and cool her space.

Ms. Mares added I talked with Bill McErlane and we were looking at it from the standpoint of a patio enclosure. The other that you approved is a room addition, and in our minds they were two different things. What he explained to me is that you see it as a room addition. That clarifies our understanding, but thatís how a resident sees it and how we see it, as a summer room that they would like to have as opposed to a fully heated air conditioned room addition.

Mr. Marowitz said Ms. Mares has made it very clear to us at Champion that by their approving this particular project, they are in no way issuing a rubber stamp okay that will open the floodgates to all their residents for this type project. As a matter of fact, she was rather direct in telling me that one of the reasons they did approve this was because of the area it is located. I can see the concern that the commission has in terms of not wanting an inordinate number of structures all over the grounds, but I donít think that is their intention.

Mr. Okum said I can understand that, but this board has to see a hardship to grant a variance or something so we wonít end up with a precedent being established approving this enclosure even though it is not seen so much by the public. If it is approved for one site, we canít be confident that other units that are conforming to your setback requirements wonít end up this way in your site. That worries me because it is something the City never was presented with the original plan.

Ms. Mares said I think it is a situation where we have residents, and we want to allow them some flexibility. This is a concrete slab enclosed patio as opposed to the other unit which has a carpeted or hardwood floor; it is a room addition.


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Ms. Mares added we have been on that site for 20 years, and we are very concerned about doing the appropriate thing for our site for future residents, for marketing appeal and appearance. I appreciate your concern, but I can assure you we have no intention of changing that historical perspective. We want to have a consistent well appearing facility, and we have worked toward that. Our smoke shelter came before this unit, and it is probably one of the finest smoking shelters in the area. It is a well designed facility that fits in with the overall structure our buildings. We have no intention of allowing people to put anything up anywhere anytime they want to.

Ms. McNear thanked Ms. Mares for coming in, adding that at the last meeting we didnít feel we could vote on this without some input from Maple Knoll. You thought that because of the isolated nature of the structure you felt it wasnít as much of a concern as if it were less isolated.

Ms. McNear added we have to be concerned with any precedent we might set. Given the fact it was the exact same structure in the front as in the back, we couldnít turn one down if we had approved the other. I think we might have jumped ahead of ourselves approving the first one, although it was a great looking structure and fit in with the rest of the buildings, we should have had more input from Maple Knoll. My suggestion would be that should we have any of these in the future, and I believe we will, we need to have something from Maple Knoll saying it has been approved. Secondly, if there has been a change to the design of the structure, we have to have a new plan before we can go forward on this.

Mr. Whitaker said my concern is like Mr. Okumís, with the pitch of the structure. Driving through the complex, everything fits in quite nicely and although this is at the rear of the property, and you do have the GE Training Facility behind it, with a smaller pitch, youíll wind up with something like a shed, and it will not go with the existing structure. I realize it is a patio enclosure. My question is outside of changing the fixed glass size and panel sizes, would it be a cost factor to increase the pitch to at least 5 or 6?

Mr. Marowitz responded the component parts have certain tolerances and maximums, and the bottom line is I am not comfortable modifying that pitch to a 5 or 6/12. I donít like going outside of what the engineer has recommended, and they do not recommend going to that steep of a pitch. Mr. Whitaker said I understand that, but is it because it is a 10 x 12 structure? Mr. Marowitz answered it is a function of what the engineering allows in terms of the pitch of the roof, regardless of the size of the structure. There is only so much pivot that the header has tolerance for. If you go beyond that, the structural capabilities, the integrity of the room is compromised, and we will not do that.

Mr. Okum said I completely understand what you are saying, and I also understand you are intending to put shingles on this and you are fastening those with standard shingle application procedures. Mr. Marowitz answered actually more than standard; they have to be screwed. It is very secure.

Mr. Okum asked where the wood is going, and Mr. Marowitz answered on the side of the proposed room where it attaches there is some area that will not be glassed. It was going to be constructed using insulated panel and we will make sure that the only thing that is seen in addition to the insulated glass will be that redwood that will be painted to match.


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Mr. Okum said it doesnít seem like you are adding any wood at all except where it attaches to the house underneath the soffit. So you really have not made a lot of changes; you have changed your pitch to three and added some wood where it would have been aluminum.

Mr. Okum said frankly I am sorry your limitations on the building are 3/12. I work in the building industry so I know that roofs can vary in pitch. Those are your limitations and not this boardís, and I cannot vote in favor of this, unless we can get the roof a little more in line with the rest of the pitch of the complex.

Mr. Okum added if this is denied this evening, there cannot be another submission for six months, and I donít know how this Board is going. For the benefit of the applicant, he could withdraw at this time and request that it be tabled or the vote could go forward. This limits Maple Knoll from reapplying for six months on that site for any other enclosure at that address. Ms. Mares responded so you are suggesting that if it is tabled or withdrawn we would not have that limitation. In any event if we came back with a new request, we would have to have new drawings, so we would have to start at square one regardless of what we do.

Mr. Wilson said to get this off center, I will move to grant this variance. Personally I cannot support it, but I think we need to move on and give them an answer. If you come back with more and more requests for this type of variance, that defeats the purpose of having the Code. Ms. Mares responded at this point, I am in a situation where our best strategy would be for any additional enclosures we would ask for, we could almost indicate to the resident that it has to be a room addition.

Mr. Wilson said every request comes individually although we do look at it collectively. That is not to say because this is granted a room addition would be granted the next time. I was not on the Board of Zoning Appeals so I canít comment on that portion, but based on the information I have after six years of planning, I see what might happen in the future and I do not feel comfortable with that.

Ms. Mares said administratively looking at 80 residents in these units, I need to be able to have some sense of how to direct them and tell them what will go and what will not go. My impression is that the type of structure with the best chance is one that matches the exterior façade of the building that is there and at this point, the notion of an enclosed slab that may or may not have a pitched roof or pitched enough will not be as acceptable. This helps me administratively in dealing with our residents.

Ms. Mares said this is a new group of people in a new development. Our other structures have had more opportunity to add room additions. This one is very limited; it doesnít have that kind of flexibility. I believe we are comfortable in maintaining that consistency, and I have no problem with that. I am disappointed from the standpoint that the resident would like to do this, but if it is not something that makes sense to any of us, and having looked at it more closely, I understand your perspective and I appreciate where you are coming from.

Mrs. McNear said Mr. Okumís point was that you have a feel as to how things are going on the board, and perhaps you want to take another look at it, particularly the roof pitch. If we bring this to a vote tonight you cannot bring this back for six months. If you withdraw or ask to table, you can bring it back in a month or two.


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Ms. Mares responded then I think that is the way to go, to at least give the opportunity to allow the resident to know how much money they ant to put into this. Mrs. McNear continued I donít think it is so much that patio rooms would not be allowed, but that they fit in better with the complex.

Mr. Squires stated we do have a motion on the floor. Do you wish to withdraw the motion and give them the opportunity to reconsider this? Mr. Wilson withdrew his motion, and Ms. Mares said we will withdraw our request and get back with the resident and see what they want to do.

Mr. Marowitz said isnít it correct that if we didnít have the issue with respect to setbacks, we wouldnít be here right now? Wasnít the variance requesting a setback? When I was first told this was an issue, I didnít know where the issue of design came in when the variance was for setback. For the future, I need to know if I have to be concerned about the design issue.

Mr. Okum responded when it is a situation of setback, it falls upon this Board to make a decision on that and how it affects the adjoining properties and how people will observe that.


Charles Wilkins, 245 Harter Avenue requests variance to allow the conversion of his garage into an additional bedroom. Said variance is requested from Section 153.025(F) "Each single family dwelling...shall have a 1 or more car garageÖ"

Mrs. McNear asked if Mr. Ken Yingling was his builder. Mr. Wilkins confirmed this, and Mrs. McNear responded then I have to remove myself from this due to the close nature of our families, so I will not be participating or voting on this.

Mr. Wilkins said my mother was ill in Florida and was unable to live on her own. The State of Florida informed us she would have to either live with us or in a nursing home, and she came to live with us. I wasnít aware that there would be any problem with this because we live in a neighborhood where practically every garage has been converted into some sort of family room or den. I asked Mr. Yingling to construct an additional bedroom for my mother. He began construction on it and a gentleman came by from the City and informed us we couldnít do it without this procedure, so I am here asking to turn my garage into a bedroom.

Mr. Wilson wondered if there were any other way to accommodate your mother. Mr. Wilkins answered I have two children eight and 14, a boy and a girl, and I do not want to have two preteens living together in the same bedroom.

Mr. Wilkins added my mother requires a walker or a wheelchair to get around, and she has difficulties coming in and out of our front door. Mr. Yingling was going to put a door wide enough to accommodate her walker and her wheelchair out the back so we could build a pathway as a means of getting her in and out of our home in case her condition becomes worse. We will redo the back door to help her get in and out. There will be a door leading from our living room into the side of the room, which will be her main entrance into our home. The existing garage back door will be widened slightly to accommodate her walker and wheelchair. We also are going to put a smaller door with some handrails in the existing bathroom and use that existing half bath as her own private bathroom.


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Mr. Whitaker wondered if there would be enough room left in the garage for a car and Mr. Wilkins answered no. Mr. Whitaker wondered how many feet they would have left, and Mr. Willkins answered we plan on having a wall down from the existing garage door opener about seven to eight feet for storage. We will not be changing the front of the home; there still will be a garage door in the front. There will not be any indication that it is not a garage.

Mr. Okum said based on what the gentleman has submitted, it certainly seems to be a feasible use of the site. I donít have any difficulty with it. You have maintained the front of your building. It certainly is a need and warrants hardship considering the use.

Mr. Wilson asked how many cars are in the family. Mr. Wilkins answered my mother will be selling her vehicle, so there will be two cars in the family. Mr. Wilson asked if there were enough area so the two cars could park side by side in the driveway, and Mr. Wilklins answered that he did not. We have always parked on the street. Mr. Wilson wondered if they would want to put a parking pad in, and Mr. Wilkins answered that has been considered, but we want to wait until we have sufficient funds to do that. We can put the cars in the driveway front to back and we are not overhanging the sidewalk. We have done that before, but normally one of us parks on the street and one in the driveway.

Mr. Schecker said with the car issue, immediately across the street from you is a corner house facing Van Cleve, and you donít have the pressure of needing opposite neighbor parking, so that would be in your favor.

Mr. Whitaker said in the area between Lawnview and VanCleve there currently are four existing structures that the garages have been renovated into bedrooms or playrooms. I do not have a problem with what he is proposing to do, especially with leaving the garage door up. I definitely can appreciate the need he has for the structure.

Mr. Okum moved to grant the variance and Mr. Wilson seconded the motion. Voting aye were Mr. Okum, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Whitaker, Mr. Schecker, Mrs. Ewing and Mr. Squires. Mrs. McNear abstained and the variance was granted with six affirmative votes.



Mr. Wilson said off the record, we have to be careful when we approve what was approved the last time because the applicants will take advantage of it. I am sure Maple Knoll came in here expecting to get this approval. When we vote for something in a complex of this type, we should look at it short term and long term and make certain that we donít establish a precedent that will come back to haunt us. Mr. Wilkins was honest; he said he will be back when he can afford it. For what itís worth, it is something we need to think about as members of this board.

Mrs. McNear responded if you get the Minutes for the last several years, you will notice that precedent is a word we use probably almost every meeting, so we are very aware of precedence.

Mr. Okum said I agree 100%. I had no problem at all with the first presentation, and that is why when the second presentation came up, IL looked at cohesiveness and symmetry for the entire development, and I think the rest of the board did too. It was not an individual unit applicant, and should have been Maple Knollís representation presenting it because they are the owners of the property.

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Mr. Okum left at 8:05 p.m.

Mrs. McNear said I wanted to welcome our newest members; we are glad to have you here. We ran into a situation where being short one member was a problem, so we are really happy to have both of you here.

Mr. Squires said Iíll second that. I hope to enjoy a very fruitful friendship with both of you. I think youíll enjoy the board. I was very pleased at the way we handled the Maple Knoll situation tonight. I went through the Village and had many questions about what was contemplated there, and did not want to see that noncompatible architecture there. With the Maple Knoll Village administration, hopefully we can come to some type of agreement and continue to be proud of that village.


Mrs. Ewing moved to adjourn and Mr. Schecker seconded the motion. All present voted aye, and the Board of Zoning Appeals adjourned at 8:10 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,



________________________,1998 ______________________

James Squires, Chairman



________________________,1998 _______________________

Barbara Ewing, Secretary