BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING MINUTES
19 DECEMBER 2006
7:00 P.M.

I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER

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

II. ROLL CALL

Members Present:        Robert Weidlich, William Reichert, James
                Squires, Jane Huber, Marjorie Harlow,
                Robert Emerson and Chairman Okum.

Others Present:        Jeff Tulloch, Economic Development Director
                Bill McErlane, Building Official
                Randy Campion, Inspection Supervisor

III. ELECTION OF OFFICERS

A. Chairman

Mr. Squires nominated Marjorie Harlow. Mr. Weidlich nominated David Okum. Ballots were passed out and Mr. Okum was elected with four affirmative votes.

B. Vice Chairman

Mrs. Huber nominated Marjorie Harlow and Mr. Okum nominated Bob Weidlich. Mrs. Harlow was elected with four affirmative votes.

C. Secretary

Mr. Squires nominated Jane Huber. Nominations were closed, and Mrs. Huber was elected by acclamation.

IV. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

V. MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING OF 21 NOVEMBER 2006

Mr. Weidlich moved to approve and Mr. Reichert seconded the motion. All voted aye except Mrs. Huber and Mr. Squires who abstained, and the Minutes were approved with five affirmative votes.

VI. CORRESPONDENCE

A. Zoning Bulletin – November 10, 2006
B. Zoning Bulletin – November 25, 2006
C. Planning Commission Meeting Minutes – November 14, 2006
D. 11/24/06 Letter to Joseph Wellman re variance request for oversize garage, 514 Lafayette Avenue

VII. REPORTS

A. Report on Council – No Report

B. Report on Planning Commission

Mr. Okum reported on the December 12th meeting. The tree removal and landscape plan for Sweeney was tabled to the January meeting.

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19 DECEMBER 2006
PAGE TWO

VII B – REPORT ON PLANNING COMMISSION – continued

Mr. Okum stated that the T-District Zoning on West Sharon Road next to the Springdale Family Medicine was considered. This consists of four properties up to the church driveway entrance and the zoning was recommended to City Council.

The landscape plan for Kemper Square was approved. The concept plan for the Lakeview project was approved and referred here for the setback variance needed. Planning also approved the Pictoria Plaza conditional on a final review by staff. The electronic sign discussion was moved to the January meeting.

VIII. CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT AND SWEARING IN OF APPLICANTS

IX. OLD BUSINESS

A. Approval of variance to allow the construction of a 24’ x 40’ detached garage at 514 Lafayette Avenue. Said variance is requested from Section 153.105(B) “The garage shall have..a maximum floor area of 600 s.f. – tabled November 21, 2006

Joe Wellman said I have owned this property for 15 to 20 years and have improved it over the years. The existing garage is getting to the point that it is inadequate and needing repair. Instead of putting a lot of money into that, I would appreciate approval for this new garage.

Staff provided photographs of the driveway and existing garage. Mr. Wellman said this new larger garage would cut down on the number of vehicles and would replace the existing garage you see in the photo.

Mr. McErlane reported that the applicant is requesting approval to construct a 24’ x 40’ garage to replace the existing 14’ x 21’ garage. The maximum garage floor area is 600 s.f. so this is a 60% increase over what is permitted.

The property lot size is 70’ x 156’ (10,920 s.f.). His residence has 1,296 s.f. of habitable area and the total lot coverage of structures with the proposed garage will be 22.3%.

The applicant has not indicated what unusual circumstances or practical difficulties concerning the property warrant this oversized garage.

Mr. Wellman commented that I would remove the shed with the construction of the new garage.

Mr. Okum opened the public hearing.

Roland Fries of 11502 Rose Lane said I am a friend of Mr. Wellman and I have advised him on his construction needs over the last years. In the case of the garage, he asked my advice on the present garage. I told him it would be difficult to repair and should be torn down.


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PAGE THREE

IX A 24’ X 40’ DETACHED GARAGE – 514 LAFAYETTE AVENUE

Mr. Fries sand from a square footage point of view, the larger garage the garage the more benefit he would get from a dollar point of view. I know he owns a vehicle and trailer that is relatively new, and he would be able to move them into the new facility.

No one else came forward, and Mr. Okum closed the public hearing.

Mrs. Harlow moved to grant the variance for a 24’ x 40’ detached garage at 514 Lafayette Avenue to replace the existing garage and shed. Mrs. Huber Seconded the motion.

Addressing the applicant, Mr. Squires said your home is 1,299 s.f. and a 960 s.f. garage is 70% of the area of your house. Why so big? Mr. Wellman responded I need it for what I have in my shed and what I have on the driveway. The shed will come down, and I would appreciate it if you would approve it and help me. Mr. Squires asked if he had considered a smaller garage, and Mr. Wellman answered with all the materials I need to put in there, a smaller one would not be adequate.

Mr. Weidlich said this drawing from PDQ shows the height at 12 feet. What would the total height be to the peak of the garage? Mr. Okum responded I believe it is around 16 feet.

Mr. Weidlich asked if the siding would be vertical and steel and Mr. Wellman answered yes. Mr. Weidlich wondered if he had considered a different material to match your house and the rest of the neighborhood, adding that is a big wall to be putting in there.

Mrs. Harlow said when I drove around the block, I was not able to see back into that area from Kemper Road. What type of trees or shrubs might be there that would break the view from Kemper Road?

Mr. Wellman answered between my property and Kemper Road there are no fences or trees or shrubs.

Mrs. Harlow asked if the applicant had calculated what he needed to store his vehicles, travel trailer, lawnmowers, tools, etc. Mr. Wellman answered I estimated it with the help of my friend. Mrs. Harlow commented this is a very large building for this type of lot, and it will be visible up and down the street and from Kemper Road. Mr. Wellman responded you would see it if you are looking for it.

Mrs. Harlow asked the opening size for a double car garage and Mr. Okum answered 16’ x 8’ is common. Mrs. Harlow commented the opening on this one would be 16’ x 20’.

Mr. McErlane asked the applicant if he intended to park his travel trailer in the garage. Mr. Wellman answered if possible I want to put the travel trailer and truck if the door is high enough, and I believe it is. Mr. Okum wondered if it would fit with the air conditioner on the top, and Mr. Emerson said I have one and it would make it.

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19 DECEMBER 2006
PAGE FOUR

IX A 24’ X 40’ DETACHED GARAGE – 514 LAFAYETTE AVENUE

Mr. Okum said the question has come up on the type and size of the building. Under the code you are permitted 720 s.f. of garage and shed, and you are asking for 960 s.f. for a garage. That is a pretty significant structure, and the metal commercial look of the building jumps out at you. Personally I have concerns about that.

Mr. Okum added your garage would be 71% of your house size so unless I hear something different, I will not be supporting your request. Do you have anything you would like to add?

Mr. Wellman responded I would rather have it, but if you turn it down, what can I do? I wanted to use the extra footage to tinker around a work area out there.

Mrs. Harlow said I have a problem with the openness of that area and how visible this will be. There is no vegetation to shield this, and that is a concern.

Mr. Weidlich suggested including the letter from Susan Roschke in the minutes. Mrs. Huber read the letter:


“November 20, 2006


Dear Board Members:

I am unable to attend the hearing regarding 514 Lafayette because I have to work. I hope you will accept my written comments regarding the variance for a 960 square foot garage requested by the owner of 514 Lafayette.

Based on the information in the file, including the applicant’s comments, there does not seem to be any hardship that would support this variance request. In my opinion, a 960 square foot garage would seem out of place in this rather densely built neighborhood, particularly given that the house itself is only about 1,300 square feet. I understand that the owner may have large storage needs, but this will have a long-term impact on the neighborhood and our property values.
Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,

Susan Roschke
500 West Kemper Road”

On the motion to approve the variance everyone voted no, and the variance was denied with seven negative votes.

X. NEW BUSINESS

A. Approval of variance to allow 39-foot front yard setback for proposed Lakeview Project (5 buildings with 61 units) at 11174 Springfield Pike. Said variance is requested from Section 153.424(D) (1) (a) which requires a minimum 100 foot front yard setback.
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FRONT YARD SETBACK LAKEVIEW PROJECT 11174 SPRINGFIELD PIKE

The applicant passed out color drawings of the project, and Mr. Okum added an aerial photo as well.

Kenneth Huff, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Life Sphere said our history goes back to the 1850’s in services in the human housing and health area. We are committed to serving seniors and are a not for profit organization. In 1977 Maple Knoll Village opened, and tonight we are looking at part of the original construction (30 cottages).

Doug Hinger, President of Great Traditions said we were before you to remodel the part of the campus to the west of Route 4. This project is to the east, and we are requesting a variance for a 39-foot setback for the Lakeview Project. This is being driven by the aging population. We are landlocked in our 54 acres and 654 residential units.

This project will be in the $22 million range over a 36-month construction period and will be done in three phases. We are being very thorough in our planning. We had a needs assessment done which says that by 2011 there will be a need for 300 additional units. The age 85 and older is the fastest growing segment of the population, and the average age of people moving in our complex is 84.

The existing cottages are obsolete, and we are looking to rebuild on those grounds using a local developer, Great Traditions and a local architect. In our market evaluation to determine what should be done, we have had meetings with perspective residents and existing residents.

We have a large project and it is important to us to carry out our mission. We need this variance to go forward.

Doug Hinger, President of Great Traditions Homes said that the new Lakeview cottages are architecturally significant and very exciting. They are five buildings which will be primarily masonry with architectural details for the terraces and a roof design which will provide breaks in the fašade.

We share some of the concerns of the city on how architecturally significant these buildings are. The new project buildings set seven to five feet below Springfield Pike so there is a significant tree buffer. The variance we need would be to the edge of the balcony rather than the building. We build very high end condominiums. The style and architecture of this project is as luxurious as any we build.

We believe this is a major architectural statement for Maple Knoll and the mission of the campus, and is a significant improvement over the existing cottages.

Mr. Hinger showed models of the site, adding that there is significant tree cover which will be retained and there will be additional landscaping. We want to make sure that the landscaping minimizes the impact of this on Springfield Pike
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19 DECEMBER 2006
PAGE SIX

FRONT YARD SETBACK LAKEVIEW PROJECT 11174 SPRINGFIELD PIKE

Mr. McErlane reported that the northernmost of the two buildings is to be 39 feet from the Springfield Pike right of way to the balconies, and 44 feet from the building wall. The south building is 49 feet from the right of way to the balconies and 53 feet to the main building wall.

The current front yard setback to the existing one-story cottages is 24 feet. The set back was reduced through the City’s acquisition of right of way. It appears originally it was 50 feet and at the time theses cottages were built the 100 foot setback was not required.

Since the 100 foot front yard setback has been in the code, only one other project has obtained a variance to it and that was 50 feet for Maple Knoll’s Westminster Cottages across Springfield Pike.

Planning Commission looked at the concept plan for this project last week and voted 6-1 to recommend it to you for consideration of this variance.

Mr. Okum opened the public hearing. No one came forward and he closed the public hearing.

Mr. Squires moved to grant the variance and Mr. Weidlich seconded the motion.

Mr. Weidlich said of the 300 additional units you will need, how many will this add? Mr. Hinger said the 300 units is needed for the entire market area. Sixty-one units would be going up, some as small as 980 s.f., but the average is 1,300 s.f.

Mr. Reichert asked about the balconies facing Route 4. Mr. Hinger reported that the balconies are located on the perimeter. Mr. Reichert wondered if they were on the west and east sides and Mr. Hinger confirmed that they were.

Mr. Hinger said this is being done in phases. We have all but one of the people in the initial 12 units that are affected placed in new units. They will either be moved into Beecher or the apartments on the other side of the assisted living. Some will have the option of moving into the existing cottages over the three years. We are trying to have hem move only once.

Mr. Emerson asked if the people have the option to move into the new facility. Mr. Hinger answered they would have the option three years down the road, but generally we have an eight-year length of stay and many of those will not be in independent living in three years but will be in assisted living or skilled nursing care.

Mr. Okum questioned the placement of the two-story buildings. Mr. Hinger responded the area in here is not conducive to a three-story building. This building is two stories because it is very close to this building, and part of the design is for a village style environment with a common area. To do that we have designed it so that the parking on the community environment is minimized.


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19 DECEMBER 2006
PAGE SEVEN

FRONT YARD SETBACK LAKEVIEW PROJECT 11174 SPRINGFIELD PIKE

Mr. Okum wondered if they couldn’t put a three-story building there in the rear. It would be impractical to park here and walk to the residences.

Mr. Hinger reported that the large white building in the lower right hand corner is a 92-unit building. Part of the concern is parking for that building as well. We need parking close to the apartment building in that corner. Part of the concern is the view for the people in the apartment building. Mr. Okum commented the people on the second floor still would be looking at another building, probably a roof element.

Mr. Hinger reported that the balconies come out 10 feet deep, like an outdoor room. Mr. Okum wondered if people would be able to make it a sunroom, and Mr. Hinger indicated that they would.

Mr. Squires said I think we are getting away from the crux of the matter. We are dealing with setbacks, and we need to talk about setback requirements.

Mr. Okum said if approved this evening, the applicant would have the right to build a 60 foot building along Route 4. So without limiting the height, the building could be 60 feet high at 39’ from the right of way at the closest place. Mr. Squires wondered why Planning hadn’t considered this. Mr. Okum responded that Planning made this a concept approval. BZA could put a height restriction on the variance, but Planning could not. If we are going to approve the setbacks, we should consider how that elevation will impact Route 4. You have to anticipate what could be done on any variance.

Mr. Squires said Maple Knoll has been here since 1926. This is one of the gems in our city, and I have faith that they are gong to do exactly what is presented here.

Mrs. Harlow said I agree that it is a gem. I noticed that there are a lot of people in different parts of the campus gong to other parts of the campus, so the area that will be a communal village makes sense. If they put that two-story building on Springfield Pike and not have a communal area, it would be taking away access and a sense of community.

Mrs. Harlow asked the height of the building. Mr. Hinger answered it is 10 feet per floor or 33-34 feet to the eaves line and roof above.
Mr. McErlane reported we measured it in planning and it is about 42 feet. Mrs. Harlow commented I don’t feel that the applicant is going to build anything other than what they are presenting this evening. Mr. Okum added Maple knoll has lived up to every presentation they have made. On the other hand, I wonder if the applicant would consider building something of less impact along Route 4.

Planning approved this conceptually, and their presentation was nothing close to what you are seeing this evening. They wanted to make sure that this board had a clear and honest representation.

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
19 DECEMBER 2006
PAGE EIGHT

FRONT YARD SETBACK LAKEVIEW PROJECT 11174 SPRINGFIELD PIKE

Addressing the applicant, Mr. Okum asked if he could build the two-story building on Route 4. Mr. Hinger answered yes, but economically it is not viable because we would have more parking than we would need, and the units on the back side would not have visual access to this. In the interest of the overall design and to create this overall community, this was the better choice. I appreciate these concerns, but we believe this design gave us the best balance. We are not adverse to conditions. We do share your concern about the building mass along Route 4, and these are a residential style and not institutional.

Mr. Okum said I want to understand the conditions that would be acceptable. Would a condition that the building height should not exceed what was presented be acceptable?

Mr. McErlane reported that was 52 feet, and I would not want to tie them down so tight that they would not have the flexibility. Mr. Hinger suggested referencing the drawings.

Mrs. Harlow moved to amend the motion to add that two buildings along Route 4 be representative of the drawings we have seen here tonight in size and height. Mr. Emerson seconded the motion.

Voting aye were Mrs. Harlow, Mr. Emerson, Mr. Reichert, Mr. Squires and Mr. Weidlich. Mrs. Huber and Mr. Okum voted no.
The motion was amended by a vote of five to two.

On the amended motion, voting aye were Mr. Squires, Mr. Weidlich, Mr. Emerson, Mr. Reichert, Mrs. Harlow and Mrs. Huber. Mr. Okum voted no and the amended variance was granted with six affirmative votes.

B. Approval of variance to allow the existing deck to remain 1 foot from side property line at 697 Yorkhaven Road. Said variance is requested from Section 153.580(D) “An entrance hood, deck...may project three feet into a required side yard.

Rash Patel owner of the property said I built this deck inside the fence and later when the property was acquired by the City of Springdale and surveyed, it was determined that the fence was six to seven feet inside the property at 703 Yorkhaven Road. If I cut back and made my deck comply with the code, I would have a narrow strip which would be useless, and I would have to take it all down.

Mr. McErlane reported that Section 153.580(D) allows decks to encroach up to three feet into a required side yard, and the minimum side yard in this district is 10 feet, so the requirement is for the deck to be seven feet minimum from the side lot line.

A permit for the deck was issued on June 3, 1986, but the drawings and site plan are no longer on file. The deck was apparently constructed using the adjacent fence line at 703 Yorkhaven as the property line. However, that fence was six to seven feet inside their lot line. This was discovered when the property was surveyed and the applicant was advised to remove the encroachment.
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19 DECEMBER 2006
PAGE NINE

DECK ONE FOOT FROM SIDE LOT LINE – 697 YORKHAVEN ROAD

Mr. McErlane said the applicant indicated that compliance with the code would make the deck unusable. If enough of the deck were to be removed to obtain compliance, the width of the major portion of the remaining deck would be nine to 10 feet.

Mr. Patel said my neighbor built an in ground pool and then the fence. I suppose he wanted to keep it as close as possible. Mr. McErlane added there is a little grade difference, but it is not steep.

Mr. Okum opened the public hearing. No one came forward, and he closed the public hearing.

Mrs. Harlow moved to grant the variance and Mrs. Huber seconded the motion.

Mrs. Harlow said so you would have to cut off a portion of the deck along the fence line, wondering how that would affect the support of the deck. Mr. Patel answered it would affect it some; if I have to tear it back I would give up the deck.

Mr. Okum commented right now the deck is at seven feet, and my feeling is if we give you a variance to bring the deck back to five feet and require that evergreens be placed along the fence lines.

Mr. Squires said the applicant was in compliance when he constructed it in 1986. Mr. McErlane reported at the time it was assumed he was in compliance, but it was not because he was encroaching on the neighbor’s property.

Mrs. Harlow said the deck needs to be partially removed to be in compliance with the code. It is an unfortunate situation, but I think we have to respect the rights of the people who now own 703 Yorkhaven Road and provide them the use of their yard. Mr. Weidlich said I have to agree. Mrs. Harlow added I also would like to see the edge of the deck finished.

Mrs. Harlow moved to amend the variance to require the deck to be five feet set back from the property line, provided the sides adjacent to the property are finished. Mr. Reichert seconded the motion.

All members voted aye on the amendment.

On the amended motion, voting aye were Mrs. Harlow, Mr. Emerson, Mr. Reichert, Mr. Squires, Mr. Okum and Mr. Weidlich. Mrs. Huber voted no, and the amended variance was granted.




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19 DECEMBER 2006
PAGE TEN

XI. DISCUSSION

Mr. Okum said variances by type and chronologically have been developed by staff. Based on that, what are the key items that need to be revised in the code? We are looking at 10 shed issues.

Mr. McErlane reported that one is shed setbacks. Another is accessory building size. Fence setbacks are included, but the ones we have seen have been legitimate because there are corner lots with no rear yards and a hardship. However, it is something to be considered on a case by case basis, so it is not necessary to modify the code for that. Another issue is the dwelling unit size, primarily in the Smiley/Cloverdale area. Garage size is another issue the board has considered over the past three years.

Mr. Okum asked if there were any other suggestions.

Mrs. Harlow said currently we limit the shed size to 120 s.f. no matter the size of the property. Is there anything we can do to graduate the size of the shed to the size of the property? We do have a lot of large lots that 120 s.f. shed would be lost on.

Mr. Okum suggested identifying the types of buildings that would constitute a shed. Mrs. Harlow asked about gazebos, and Mr. McErlane reported that a gazebo is an accessory building that you could not have without securing a variance.

Mrs. Harlow commented that corner lot properties are a real problem with setbacks for accessory structures. Mr. McErlane commented I am not aware of anybody asking for a permit in the setback. Mrs. Harlow said we had one lady who asked for a shed placed along the path going into the park and the board recommended that the shed be placed on the back fence of the property line toward the community center. She did not want it there, and she moved.

Mr. Okum said what about the rule that you can have a 600 or 700 s.f. garage (depending on your zoning) plus a 120 s.f. shed? Mr. McErlane reported you do not have an attached garage, you can have a detached garage and a 120 s.f. shed.

Mr. Okum said I am hearing that we might consider the shed size based on the lot size. We also discussed the definition of a shed and other accessory structures (gazebos and yard ornaments).

Mrs. Huber asked why Springdale doesn’t allow fences in front yards. Mr. McErlane said if Planning wants to consider decorative type fences in front yards that might be appropriate. Most zoning codes restrict fences in front yards because they do not like the way they look, i.e. chain link.



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19 DECEMBER 2006
PAGE ELEVEN

XI DISCUSSION – continued

Mrs. Harlow commented if a resident has a chain link fence in place, he is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Mr. McErlane responded you are saying we should accommodate the resident even though the city does not want chain link fences. Mr. Okum added codes are written not to encourage some things.

Mr. Emerson suggested the problem of double fences, privacy fences inside chain link fences without enough room for maintenance.

House conversions, turning a garage into a living space was considered. Mr. Weidlich commented I have a problem with people doing that; I think people should have a garage.

Mr. Okum said I went through the requirements. Guidelines 1 through 4 are very specific. Take a good look at those before the next meeting. If you think the wording is wrong or unfair or a practical impossibility to answer yes to all of them we need to discuss this.

I have come up with some wording that I will review with Mr. McErlane concerning what we are expecting the applicants to bring to the meetings. We need them to clearly understand that we are expecting them to give testimony, a “preponderance of evidence”. I believe the applicants need to know that.

I also have suggestions on the check list items. Once I go over them with Bill, I will send them out to the members. I also might get Ms. McBride’s comments on this.

XII. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Squires moved to adjourn and the Board of Zoning Appeals members voted aye and adjourned at 9:45 p.m.

                    Respectfully submitted,



__________________.2007    _____________________
                    David Okum, Chairman



________________, 2007    __________________________
                    Jane Huber, Secretary