MINUTES OF THE CATAWBA ISLAND BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
OCTOBER 10, 2012
Jerry & Marilyn Zacharyasz
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited. Chairman Bryan Baugh called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. Board members in attendance were Bryan Baugh, Sandy Erwin, Tom Anslow, Doug Blackburn, and Jack DeVore. Jack Zeigler and Shelly Stively, Board alternates, were in attendance. The zoning inspector, Walter Wehenkel, was also in attendance as well as Township Trustee Matt Montowski. Mr. Baugh read through the procedure to be followed for the meeting. There were no questions. Mr. Baugh asked the secretary to read the first case.
Sandy Erwin read the request by Jerome and Marilyn Zacharyasz for an area variance. The property is located at 5854 E. Poplar Avenue in Section 3, Lot 13 of Catawba Island Township and also known as Lot 14 in Gem Beach Subdivision #4. The property is zoned “A” Low Density Residential. The request would allow an area variance from the existing requirement for rear yard setback from the required forty feet to six feet and an increase in lot coverage from the permitted thirty percent to forty-two+ percent. The request is to allow an existing patio to be screened in.
Case # 543755
Bryan Baugh stated the first case on the agenda should be addressed before continuing with Case #543799. The applicant had requested in writing that the case be tabled for one month due to a possible property line dispute. He requested the Board move to table that request. Jack DeVore moved to table Case #543755 as requested by the applicant. Doug Blackburn seconded the motion. The motion was passed. Case #543755 was tabled to the November 14, 2012 meeting.
Continuation of Case 543799
Chairman Baugh apologized to those in attendance and requested the individual presenting case #543799 stand and be sworn in. Lee Short stated he was the representative and he was sworn in by Chairman Baugh. Chairman Baugh asked if any of the Board members had a conflict. None of them did.
Lee Short stated he is the architect for Jerry and Marilyn Zacharyasz. They plan to enclose a patio on their lot which is only fifty-eight feet by sixty feet. The home was built prior to zoning being adopted. The variance was needed once zoning was adopted. The patio is a concrete slab that is ten feet by ten feet in size. It has a canopy over it presently. The Zacharyaszs would like to enclose it with screening. It will be the same size and there are no plans to ever convert it to a three or four season room. Eight inches of the patio slab will be removed for the footer and block wall to which the screening will be attached. A rubber roof will be used with minimal insulation installed. Mr. Short offered to answer any questions.
Bryan Baugh asked if the space would be heated. Mr. Short stated it would not be heated. Jack DeVore stated he thought the request was pretty “cut and dry.” Lee Short added that the adjoining neighbor immediately behind the involved lot was owned by Carolyn Longer and she had submitted a letter supporting the request. Bryan Baugh stated the letter was provided to the Board members, but it was not notarized, so the Board would not discuss it further.
Tom Anslow noticed that a shed apparently exists on the lot. He wondered if it was included in the lot coverage calculation. Mr. Short stated the owner had recalculated the lot coverage and determined it was slightly higher with the shed included. He requested an amendment to the application to forty-four percent lot coverage instead of forty-two plus percent lot coverage.
Bryan Baugh swore in Mr. Jerome Zacharyasz. Mr. Zacharyasz stated he wanted the application amended to reflect the correct forty-four percent lot coverage. The Board verbally agreed to amend the request to reflect the forty-four percent lot coverage figure. Mr. Anslow stated “it looks pretty tight out there.”
Bryan Baugh asked if there was any additional testimony from those in attendance. There being none, Mr. Baugh closed the public hearing. The Board discussed the case among themselves.
Jack DeVore stated he saw nothing outstanding with the request. The lot coverage is a little steep, but that is normal in the Gem Beach area. Doug Blackburn stated the material provided to the Board members included a variance request for this parcel from 2002. The permitted lot coverage was increased at the time to about thirty-five percent instead of the required thirty percent. Tom Anslow stated that with the revised lot coverage percentage, the request is now about a forty-six percent increase over the lot coverage that is permitted. He stated it is in the rear and there is a nice privacy fence. The zoning resolution requires a practical difficulty for a variance. The Gem Beach area is already crowded.
Bryan Baugh wondered at what point does an area become overbuilt. He was concerned over fire fighting capabilities being hindered. Sandy Erwin noted there is a lot of side setback area for fire fighting. Tom Anslow added the property to the east is presently wide open, but the solid fence would hinder fire fighting. Bryan Baugh asked what the fence was made of. Jerome Zacharyasz stated it was vinyl.
Doug Blackburn stated the variance in 2002 was for thirty-five percent lot coverage instead of twenty percent. Walter Wehenkel stated he was unaware of the lot coverage requirements in 2002. Tom Anslow wondered if lot coverage did not exist and the Board was looking instead at a non-conforming use being expanded beyond the twenty percent criteria.
Lee Short stated the lots in Gem Beach are small, like postage stamps. He stated a consideration of higher lot coverage is necessary due to the small lot size. Bryan Baugh stated he agreed with that statement, but that the Board also had to consider each case on its own merits. Mr. Short stated there are three other houses in the immediate neighborhood with similar circumstances. The specific addresses are noted in the Finding of Fact submitted by the applicant.
Bryan Baugh requested Sandy Erwin to read the Finding of Fact submitted by the Zacharyaszs. The response for question #1 was approved by three Board members. Tom Anslow disagreed based upon the criteria noted. Bryan Baugh concurred with Mr. Anslow. The Board disagreed with the response to question #2. The Board agreed with the responses to questions #3, #4, and #5, though Bryan Baugh did note fire fighting could be complicated with the variance. The Board disagreed with the response to question #6 and agreed with the response to question #7.
Tom Anslow stated he had looked at the drawing and wondered why the patio could not be squared off with the back of the house. It would be ten feet by twenty feet instead of fifteen feet by twenty feet. He only has one rendering to view and asked Mr. Short if it was possible. Mr. Short indicated the Zacharyaszs had looked at it as an option, but the reason it was not done that way was the existing awning windows and the pre-existing slab. The awning windows reduce the size of the room by about a foot and one-half. Tom Anslow asked if the slab would be cut. Lee Short stated eight inches would be cut off for the footer and block to support the screen structure. Bryan Baugh stated it appeared the owners would like to not lose any area. Doug Blackburn noted that the windows could be replaced or modified.
Walter Wehenkel stated he wanted to address the lot coverage issue with the Board. He noted that the lot in question is zoned “A” Low Density Residential. That district requires a minimum lot area of one acre of land. The lot coverage of thirty percent makes good sense with an acre of land. The lot in question is zoned “A”, but is only about one-tenth of an acre in size. It was probably incorrectly zoned in the past.
A large percentage of Gem Beach is zoned “C-4” Recreational Commercial that reverts back to the “R-3” or “R-4” zoning district requirements if the lot is used residentially. In the “R-3” and “R-4” zoning districts, the lot coverage permitted is in the thirty-six to thirty-nine percent range. When viewed in that light, the present request to forty-four percent is really not that significant of an increase.
Doug Blackburn wanted to reiterate the slab was not going to change. Tom Anslow stated that was his understanding. Mr. Short stated the only change to the slab would be the removal of eight inches for the footer and block work. The room was not intended for permanently living area as a three or four season room. There will be little insulation in the roof. Tom Anslow noted that the Board needs to look into the future and what might happen fifteen years from now, not necessary what the present owner intends to do.
Bryan Baugh requested a motion on case # 543399. Doug Blackburn moved to approve the variance request with the stipulation that the room remain unheated and not used as a three or four season room in the future. Tom Anslow seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Approval of Minutes
Bryan Baugh asked for a motion on the minutes of the September 12, 2012 meeting. Doug Blackburn moved for their approval. Sandy Erwin seconded the motion. The motion was passed and the minutes were approved.
Sandy Erwin moved to adjourn the meeting. Jack DeVore seconded the motion. The motion passed and the meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
Bryan Baugh, Chairman Sandy Erwin, Secretary