MINUTES OF THE CATAWBA ISLAND BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
FEBRUARY 13, 2013
Angie & John Schmitt
James & Brenda Brahier
Doug & Kathleen Montgomery
Mike & Marcy Mielke
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited. Vice Chairman Jack DeVore called the meeting to order
at 7:30 p.m. and requested that all electronic devices be turned off. He stated Bryan Baugh was ill and unable to be in attendance. Other Board members in attendance were Tom Anslow,
Sandra Erwin, and Shelly Stively. Mr. DeVore read through the procedure to be followed for the meeting. There were no questions from those in attendance concerning the procedure.
Mr. DeVore asked the secretary, Sandra Erwin, to read the first case.
Case # 544634
Sandra Erwin stated that the area variance request is from John and Angelette Schmitt for property at 5535 E. Mabel Drive and also known as Lot 11 of Eastview Subdivision in Catawba
Island Township. The property is presently zoned "A" Low Density Residential. The request is to allow an area variance permitting the reduction of the rear yard setback and building
separation setback often feet to five feet for a new accessory building, a reduction of the front yard setback from twenty-six feet to eighteen feet for a front porch, and an increase in lot
coverage from the permitted thirty percent to forty-two and two/tenths percent to allow the existing home to be removed and a bigger home with a second story and the new accessory
building to be built. All fees have been paid, it has been properly advertised with notices mailed, and there is no correspondence.
Mr. DeVore asked if any member of the Board had a conflict of interest with this case. No member indicated that they did. Mr. DeVore asked who would be presenting the facts surrounding this request. John Schmitt introduced himself. Mr. DeVore swore in Mr. Schmitt.
Mr. Schmitt stated he has recently retired and he and his wife want to move here full time. The existing house is small and they have plot plans to build a new home. He presented the plot plan to the Board and highlighted some of the dimensions on the plot plan involved in the variance request. Jack DeVore asked if the proposed porch would be enclosed. Mr. Schmitt stated it
would not be enclosed. The roof over the top would be supported by four posts. Mr. DeVore asked if it would be two stories. Mr. Schmitt stated it was only on the first floor. Mr. Schmitt
showed a sketch of the proposed porch.
Sandra Erwin asked if the access to the house would be on the east side. Mr. Schmitt stated the steps would come off of the driveway. Sandra Erwin stated there would be no steps on the front of the porch facing the street. Angelette Schmitt was sworn in by Mr. Devore. Angelette stated there would be a recessed step on the driveway side of the porch with no steps in the front yard.
Jack DeVore asked why the garage is being detached from the house. John Schmitt stated it was recommended by the zoning inspector. Walter Wehenkel stated a detached garage can be
located closer to the lot lines than a principal building can be. A principal building is forty feet from the rear lot line. A detached accessory building is ten feet from the rear lot line. Mr. Schmitt added that there is a twenty foot easement behind his lot so the proposed garage will be a good distance from another structure. Sandra Erwin stated it is an easement and not a road. She questioned the location of the back of the house indicating there were not a lot of flags on site.
Mr. Schmitt indicated the back of the house is five feet from where the proposed garage would be located. There were no other questions from the Board members.
Jack DeVore asked ifthere was anyone in attendance with questions for Mr. Schmitt. James Brahier raised his hand and was sworn in by Mr. Devore. Mr. Brahier stated he is the neighbor
to the west and is happy that the house was being improved. However, he did not wish to lose property value for his property by the upgrade to the Schmitt's property. He stated he believed
the porch variance would cause his property to lose value. Mr. Brahier asked Mr. Schmitt if the green flags in front of the existing house designate the location ofthe porch. Mr. Schmitt stated that they did. Mr. Brahier stated the flags are eighty inches from the existing house while the plans show the porch at ninety-six inches. Mr. Brahier stated his view ofthe water to the east would be curtailed by the eighty inch porch, but it would be worse with a ninety six inch porch.
Mr. Brahier stated he has not seen any blueprints of the proposed home. Mr. Schmitt stated he could provide a copy to him. Mr. Brahier asked if the new home would have a new foundation. Mr. Schmitt stated that it would. Mr. Brahier asked if it would be built at grade or higher. The height of the foundation and the type of roof on the porch will certainly impact how much of his view will be blocked. If it is a pitched roof, it will create a visually impact from the second floor
of Mr. Brahier's home. If it is a flat roof, the visual problem will be on the first floor. Tom Anslow stated that based upon the plans that Mr. Schmitt provided this evening the roof would
not be a pitched roof, but rather, a flat slanted roof. Mr. Brahier reiterated that the height of the foundation will be the determining factor on visibility. Mr. Schmitt showed a copy of the roof sketch to Mr. Brahier. Mr. Anslow stated the roof pitch is a 4:12 pitch. Mr. Brahier asked about the elevation above ground. Mr. Anslow stated the plans show a three block high foundation on the east side. Mr. Schmitt added it is two block high on the west side.
Mike Owens was sworn in by Mr. DeVore. He stated he is the neighbor to the east. He received a variance about three years ago for his home and front porch. His front porch will be in line with the porch proposed by Mr. Schmitt. Mr. Owens does not believe his porch is impeding anyone's views. He stated Mr. Brahier's house is higher than other on the street. He did not
believe the proposed porch would significantly impact Mr. Brahier's views. The proposed porch is really not for view, but rather for convenience. It is a quality of life issue. Mr. Owens
believes the precedence for porches was set before by his variance. The Schmitts are increasing the property values in the neighborhood by removing the old home and replacing it with a home of better quality.
Jack DeVore re-questioned Mr. Schmitt on the porch wanting to clarify that the porch would not be enclosed. Mr. Schmitt stated it would be open and they had no plans to enclose it.
Brenda Brahier was sworn in by Mr. DeVore. Brenda Brahier stated that eleven years ago they built their house. At the time, they were the only home on the street without a front door. They
did that so as to not impede other's views. Porches have been added to homes since they built their home. There was only one two-story home prior to their home being built. Mr. DeVore
asked about their access. Brenda Brahier stated their access is on the east side of their home from the driveway. They have a porch on the east side and a deck on the second floor on the east side.
James Brahier added that if the porch goes out ninety-six inches from the existing home, with the adjoining porches at seventy inches, they will have no view except through the porch openings. Mike Owens setback of his porch on the west corner already cuts down the visibility angle. There is only four feet between the Brahier's driveway and the side of the existing home on the Schmitt property. Mr. Schmitt stated that is caused by the Brahier's driveway being on the Schmitts property. Mr. DeVore stated he would not have discussion occurring that was not related to the variance request.
Doug Montgomery was sworn in by Mr. DeVore. Mr. Montgomery stated he lives across the street (to the south) and believes the improvements proposed by the Schmitts will be good for the
neighborhood. He did question if the variance is granted, if it opens the door for others to submit similar requests? Mr. De V ore stated each case is considered on its own merits.
Tom Anslow asked Mr. Owens ifhe owns the property to the east. Mr. Owens stated that he did. Mr. Anslow asked Mr. Owens what the Board approved for his setback to the front of the house.
Mr. Owens stated he was unsure. Walter Wehenkel stated that he had the variance file and the Boards decision was to allow the front of the house to be twelve feet from the road. Mr. Brahier
stated the proposed variance request is eighteen feet from the edge of the road to the flags. Mr. Anslow stated the Board grants a front yard setback variance. It does not grant a variance for a porch.
Mr. DeVore asked if there was any further testimony to be given. Hearing none, he closed the public hearing to the public. He requested the secretary read the Finding of Fact. The Board
agreed with the responses to questions 1,3,4,5, and 7 and disagreed with the responses to questions 2 and 6. Mr. DeVore asked for any further comments or questions from the Board
members. There were none.
Tom Anslow moved to approve case # 544634 exactly as presently in. the submission. Sandra Erwin seconded the motion. Walter Wehenkel asked for a clarification ifthe motion included
the requirement that the porch not ever be enclosed. Mr. Anslow stated his motion was based upon the plans that show an open porch at eighteen feet from the road. Upon roll call, all
members voted yes. The variance was granted.
Sandra Erwin read the information for the next case. The area variance request is from Michael and Martha Mielke for property at 4332 Konker Road and also known as Lot 9 of Konker
Heights Subdivision in Catawba Island Township. The request will allow an area variance permitting an addition to the front west side of the existing home. The required front yard
setback is fifty feet and the applicant is proposing a reduction of the setback to thirty-four feet. All fees have been paid and notifications given. There is no correspondence.
Mr. DeVore asked if any member had a conflict related to this case. There were no conflicts. Mr. De V ore asked for a representative for the request. Martha Mielke was sworn in by Mr. DeVore. Mrs. Mielke stated that the home is a one story home. They would like to add onto the west side
of the home. The addition would include an eight foot by sixteen foot kitchen and a living room area. There is presently no front porch on the home. The Mielke will use the existing
entranceway which will enter into the living room area. Mrs. Mieljke stated the neighbor to the west is closer to the road than the proposal they are submitting. Mr. Anslow stated he agreed that the proposal is quite similar to the other home to the west. Walter Wehenkel stated he investigated the home to the west and could not find any zoning permits or variance applications for the porch. There was no further testimony to be given and no one else was present to speak about the request. Mr. DeVore closed the public hearing.
Tom Anslow stated it is a nice size lot on a quiet street. He feels the proposed setbacks are okay. Sandra Erwin noted the first two homes are kind of "down in a valley." Mr. Anslow agreed and said it was a modest request. He asked the Mie1kes if they were aware that they would need to address their well and gas service. Mrs. Mielke stated that was included in their plans.
Mr. DeVore asked Sandra Erwin to read the finding of fact. The Board members agreed with all of the responses except for question #6. There being no further discussion, Shelly Stively moved to approve the request for case #544635. Her motion was seconded by Sandra Erwin. Upon roll call vote, the motion was
passed and the variance granted.
Approval of the January 9, 2013 Minutes
Mr. DeVore asked for a motion to approve the January 9, 2013 minutes as mailed. Sandra Erwin so moved. Her motion was seconded by Tom Anslow. The motion was passed.
Mr. Wehenkel provided a copy of the Annual Report of the Ottawa Regional Planning Commission to each Board member as well as a new roster of zoning board members. He explained Keith Fisher had resigned from the Zoning Commission and Stephen Lonneman had
been appointed to file his position. Mr. Wehenkel also provided a copy of the zoning text amendments that will be discussed and
possibly initiated by the Zoning Commission at its February 27,2013 meeting. He requested Board members review them, and if they have any questions or suggestions, they should contact
him before February 27th. Adjournment Tom Anslow moved to adjourn the meeting. His motion was seconded by Shelly Stively and passed. The meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
Shelly Stively, Acting Secretary