MINUTES OF THE CATAWBA ISLAND BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
JUNE 12, 2013
Joseph Homiza Sr.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited. Chairman Bryan Baugh called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Board members in attendance were Bryan Baugh, Doug Blackburn, Sandy Erwin, and Jack DeVore. Chairman Baugh requested alternate member Jack Zeigler replace Tom Anslow on the Board. Walter Wehenkel, Township Zoning Inspector, and Matt Montowski, Township Trustee were also in attendance. Mr. Baugh read through the procedure to be followed for the meeting. There were no questions concerning the procedure by those in attendance.
Mr. Baugh asked the secretary, Sandy Erwin, to read the information for the first case.
Case # 544687 - Kevin Wagner
Mrs. Erwin stated the request is for an area variance from Kevin and Jill Wagner for property at 1398 N. West Catawba Road and also known as sublot 4 of Catawba Orchard Beach Subdivision in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “R-3”. The request is to allow an area variance permitting an attached garage on the rear of an existing dwelling. The garage will be set back eleven feet from the rear lot line instead of the required twenty-five feet. All fees have been paid and required notifications have occurred. There was no notarized correspondence.
Mr. Baugh asked the Board if anyone had a conflict of interest. There were none. He asked who was present to represent the request. Kevin Wagner introduced himself and was sworn in by Mr. Baugh.
Mr. Wagner thanked the Board for the opportunity to discuss his request with them. His driveway is on Overlook and he assumed that was his front yard. But his address is a West Catawba Road address and that is his front yard. He thought the location of the garage would be in his side yard, but it is actually in his rear yard. The rear yard setback is twenty-five feet and his is requesting a reduction to ten feet and not eleven feet as stated on his application. He asked to amend the application accordingly. He has provided letters signed by his neighbors indicating they are not opposed to the proposed location of the garage.
Sandra Erwin asked if the existing shed would stay or be removed. Mr. Wagner stated it would be removed. Mr. Devore stated it appeared the shed was partially on the neighbor’s property. Mr. Wagner stated that it is on the neighbor’s property, but he had permission to move it there while the garage is being built. Sandra Erwin asked if the shed was relocated. Mr. Wagner stated that it had been relocated. The dirt area was where it was previously located.
Bryan Baugh asked if there would be five feet between the garage and the house. Mr. Wagner stated it would be attached with a breezeway. The garage will be smaller than shown. It will now be twenty-five feet instead of twenty-eight feet. The depth request is based upon the size of his boat that is wants to store in the garage. Mr. Baugh asked if the setbacks would remain the same as shown on the sketch. Mr. Wagner they would be the same, and reiterated that the rear setback request is now ten feet.
Mr. Baugh asked if there was any cross examination by those in attendance. There was none. Mr. Baugh closed the public portion of the hearing. He asked for questions from the Board members. Jack Devore asked if the garage would be one foot further south than the house. Mr. Wagner stated that there would be a one foot difference. Sandra Erwin stated her only concern was the shed and it will be gone. Jack Zeigler noted the schematic that was presented with the application does not appear to be proportionate. Mr. Wagner stated that Mr. Zeigler was correct. Sandra Erwin and Jack DeVore both expressed that there was “nothing outstanding” concerning this request. There were no other comments.
Mr. Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the Finding of Fact. The Board unanimously agreed with the responses to questions 1, 2, 3, 4, & 7. There was some disagreement on the responses to questions 5 & 6 by members, but the majority agreed with the responses given.
Doug Blackburn stated the letters from the neighbors were not correct, but the neighbors do seem to support the request. Mr. Wagner stated the neighbor next to his lot wrote the letter correctly.
Doug Blackburn moved to approve request # 544687 as presented including the ten foot rear setback request. Jack DeVore seconded the motion. The motion was passed.
Case # 544696 - Tim Ward
Bryan Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the information on the case. Sandra Erwin reported that the request is an area variance request from Timothy & Judy Ward for property at 5831 E. Gordon Shore Drive and also known as sublot 10 of Gem Beach Subdivision #4 in Catawba Island Township. The request is to allow an area variance permitting a porch addition on the front of the existing structure that will have a fifteen foot front yard setback similar to the adjoining structures on either side instead of the required setback of fifty feet in the “A” zoning district. All notifications have been made and all fees have been paid. There is no notarized correspondence.
Mr. Baugh asked if any member had a conflict of interest with the case. There were none. Mr. Baugh asked who was present to address the Board. Tim Ward introduced himself and was sworn in by Mr. Baugh. Mr. Wehenkel noted the legal notice did not include the lot coverage request. There are two variances being requested – a front setback variance and a lot coverage variance. The application requested both.
Mr. Ward stated that his mother lives with him and his wife. They need a place for her to sit as well as provide a little more room for the family’s use. It is the access into their home. Mr. Baugh asked if it would be a three season room. Mr. Ward stated that was correct. Mr. DeVore stated there was a dog pen in the front yard. Mr. Ward stated the pen is there for when his daughter visits and brings their dog. Their home is at the end of the road and there is little vehicular traffic.
Mr. Baugh asked if the bog tree was being removed. Mr. Ward stated the intent is to try and save the tree. They will do whatever they can to minimize damage and keep the shade. Mr. Zeigler asked if the addition would have a footer and concrete floor. Mr. Ward stated the builder will do whatever the County requires. The plan is to put rebar into the original slab and connect the two. Their intent is to keep it at ground level, if possible, or four inches or less in height and keep it as simple as possible. It is an addition for his mother more than anyone else.
Doug Blackburn stated it is a busy area. Mr. Ward stated any corner lot is a busy area, but the predominant mode of transportation is golf carts. Mr. Blackburn stated the lot coverage request is not substantial and the proposed addition lines up with the other structures on either side.
Bryan Baugh asked if anyone in attendance wanted to cross examine Mr. Ward. There was no cross-examination. Mr. Baugh closed the public hearing portion and asked for Board member’s comments. There were no comments. Mr. Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the Finding of Fact.
Sandra Erwin read the Finding of Fact. The Board members unanimously agreed with the responses to questions 1, 3, 4, 5, & 7. There was one member who disagreed with the response to question 2. The Board did not agree with the response to Question 6.
Jack Devore moved to approved case # 544696 as presented. Doug Blackburn seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Case # 544698 - Roger Newman
Mr. Baugh requested Sandra Erwin read the information concerning this case. Mrs. Erwin stated the request is an area variance request from Roger Newman for property at 5795 Commodore Drive also known as sublot 94 & 95 of Harbor Estates Subdivision in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “R-3”. The request is to allow an area variance on a corner lot permitting an attached garage to be built nineteen feet instead of the required twenty-five feet on the second front yard along Swallow Drive and a rear yard setback of seventeen and one-half feet instead of the required twenty-five feet. All notifications and publications have occurred and there was no notarized correspondence.
Mr. Baugh asked if any member of the Board had a conflict of interest with this case. There was none. Mr. Baugh stated there were no flags or identification on the site when he visited it. Mr. Lathrop stated that was his fault. Mr. Lathrop was sworn in by Mr. Baugh. Mr. Lathrop stated he was to replace the flags on the site after they were removed by kids in the neighborhood. He thought the meeting was next week. That is why the flags are not there.
Doug Blackburn moved to table request # 544698 until the July 10, 2013 meeting. Jack Zeigler seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Case # 544649 – Dorothy Franks
Mr. Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the facts concerning this request. Mrs. Erwin stated the area variance request is from Dorothy Frank for property at 3091 Carolina Street and also known as sublot 42 of Gem Beach Subdivision #2 in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “A”. The request is to allow an area variance on a corner lot permitting a fence to exceed the four foot height requirement in the second front yard. The request is to allow a fence with a height of up to seven feet. All notifications and publications have occurred and there is no notarized correspondence. Several letters were submitted that were not notarized.
Bryan Baugh asked if any member had a conflict of interest with the case. There were none. Mr. Baugh asked who was present to represent the application. Ron and Rick Frank introduced themselves. Mr. Baugh swore in Ron Frank and Rick Frank.
Rick Frank stated the fence was erected for the primary reason of hiding the air conditioning units and the trash bin for the Yacht Club. The fence was erected to make the lot look better. Bryan Baugh asked how long the fence has been up. Ron Frank stated it was erected in July of 2012. Jack DeVore asked if a zoning permit was obtained. Rick Frank stated it was obtained after the fact.
Walter Wehenkel stated the fence was erected. He cited the Franks for erecting a fence without a permit. They applied for a permit, but the height of the fence exceeded the permitted height in the front yard which is four feet. He discussed the fence with the Franks. One section in the right-of-way was removed.
Ron Frank presented pictures of the Yacht Club air conditioning unit and the dumpster. Rick Frank stated the lot pins are just outside of the utility poles. Mr. Baugh asked if the family was planning on extending the fence out more. Ron Frank stated it was out further, but the police chief felt it was creating a visibility issue, so one section of the fence was removed. Rick Frank stated the fence in front of the condominium project creates a visibility issue as well and showed the Board several pictures. Doug Blackburn stated the condominium fence is not a solid fence and you can see through that fence unlike the one erected by the Franks.
Dan Holan was sworn in by Bryan Baugh. Mr. Holan stated he supports the request to allow the fence to remain. The dumpster is big and is often empty. Jack DeVore stated the fence we see stays as it is today. Ron Franks stated that was correct. Doug Blackburn asked for clarification on the distance. Mr. Wehenkel stated the variance is to allow a fence higher than four feet in the front yard of a corner lot. The depth of the front yard setback in this location is twenty-five feet.
There was no further discussion.
Mr. Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the Finding of Fact. The Board unanimously agreed with the responses to questions 3, 4, and 5. The Board disagreed with the responses to question 1 & 6. There was one disagreement with responses to questions 2 & 7.
Doug Blackburn stated his concern in Gem Beach is that a kid would be running behind the fence and then run into the road and not be seen by a motorist on the street. Bryan Baugh stated there is not much difference between Gem Beach and other areas in the Township. Mr. Blackburn stated he understands that, but the safety issue still exists.
Sandra Erwin moved to approve case 544649 as presented with the fence remaining at 6 ½ feet in height and be placed no closer to the road than presently existing. Jack Zeigler seconded the motion. The motion passed with Jack DeVore voting no. Mr. Baugh stated to the Franks that if they propose additional activities they should get the required permits in advance. The Board does not look favorable to giving forgiveness instead of permission.
Case 544699 – Ken Cline
Mr. Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to present the information concerning this request. Mrs. Erwin stated an area variance is being requested by Kenneth and Rose Cline for property at 5318 Starboard Drive and also known as sublot 5 of Johnson’s Landing Subdivision #A in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “R-3”. The request would allow an area variance to allow a structure damaged by fire to be rebuilt in the same location. Variances from the rear yard setback of twenty-five feet to four and one-half feet, side yard setback from ten feet to five and one-half feet, and lot coverage requirements from thirty-six percent to fifty-seven percent are needed. All notifications have been made and there is no notarized correspondence.
Mr. Baugh asked if there was a conflict of interest by any Board member. There was none. Mr. Baugh asked who was present to speak to the Board concerning the request. Ken Cline introduced himself and was sworn in by Mr. Baugh.
Mr. Cline stated there was a fire in his home about a month ago that gutted the structure. The estimate to repair the damage is more than the house is worth. He would like to build a new house on the same footprint. He will not be able to use the same footer. He would like to build a two story home with a garage. Bryan Baugh asked how long the existing house has been there. Mr. Cline stated it was built in the early 1960’s. Doug Blackburn asked if the plan is to tear out what is there. Mr. Cline stated there is a small crawl that he hopes to make deeper. He will need to pour a new footer as contractors do not want to use the existing one. The floor plan will be the same size as the home that is there today.
Bryan Baugh asked about the lot coverage issue. Mr. Wehenkel stated the lot coverage was exceeded due to the size of the lot. If the home were not destroyed to the degree it was, the 75% criteria for rebuilding would apply. However, in this case, the applicant needs a variance for lot coverage as well.
Doug Blackburn asked if the existing shed would stay or go. Mr. Cline stated it would go once the structure is completed. Jack DeVore stated there is nothing outstanding concerning the request. The owner is in a bind and it is not his fault. Jack Zeigler questioned the reserve areas that are owned by Mr. Cline. Mr. Wehenkel stated he did not do any research on the reserve areas. Traditionally reserve areas are dedicated for a specific use. Even though they may be privately owned, they may not be used for purposes other than those purposes that they were reserved for. Doug Blackburn asked if the reserve areas were calculated in the lot coverage. Mr. Cline stated that they were not included.
Bryan Baugh asked if others in attendance had comments. There were none. Mr. Baugh asked Mrs. Erwin to read the Finding of Fact. The Board unanimously agreed with all seven responses provided by Mr. Cline on the Finding of Fact. Bryan Baugh congratulated Mr. Cline for his completeness and honesty.
Doug Blackburn moved to approve case 544699 with a 49% lot coverage allowed and that the shed must be removed. Jack DeVore seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Case 544703 – Jeffrey O’Connell
Mr. Baugh requested Sandra Erwin read the facts concerning this case. Mrs. Erwin stated the request is for an area variance from Jeffrey and Margaret O’Connell for property at 1333 N. Overlook and also known as sublot 94 of Orchard Beach Subdivision in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “R-3”. The request is to allow an area variance permitting a second floor porch/deck addition on the front of the existing structure that will have a twenty foot front yard setback instead of the required setback of thirty-five feet. The second floor deck was originally designed as a four foot deck which would have been grandfathered, but the owner now wishes to make it an eight foot deck which requires the variance. All notifications have occurred and there is no notarized correspondence.
Bryan Baugh asked if any Board member had a conflict of interest concerning the case. There were none. Mr. Baugh asked who was present to discuss the application. Jeff O’Connell introduced himself. Mr. Baugh swore in Mr. O’Connell.
Mr. O’Connell stated a second floor is being added to their existing structure. The original plan was to have a four foot deck on the second floor that complied with the setback of the existing structure. His builder suggested it would be cheaper to just make it an eight foot deck. He measured the setback from the edge of Overlook Drive and felt it met the zoning requirements. He was not aware that measurement should have been made to the edge of the right-of-way versus the driving surface. Mr. O’Connell noted he received a call from Mr. Wehenkel concerning the setback issue that was identified during his inspection. All work was stopped and the variance application submitted.
Jack DeVore asked if the area under the deck would be enclosed. Mr. O’Connell stated it would remain open. Jack Zeigler asked if the second story would have a railing. Mr. O’Connell stated that it would. Sandra Erwin stated she had no questions, but added that the construction workers were helpful and very nice to her when she visited the site. Doug Blackburn stated he looked down the road in both directions and the proposed deck does not stick out. Bryan Baugh agreed and stated it lines up with the home to the north.
Mr. Baugh asked if anyone in attendance wished to address the Board. No one did. Mr. Baugh closed the hearing to the public. Jack DeVore stated the application states it is thirty-one feet from the edge of the road and twenty feet from the right-of-way. Mr. O’Connell stated it is a correction of his original misinterpretation.
Bryan Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the Finding of Fact. The Board agreed with the responses to questions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7. There were two members disagreeing with the response to question 1.
Doug Blackburn moved to approve case 544703 as presented. Sandra Erwin seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Approval of Minutes – May 8, 2013
Jack DeVore moved to approve the minutes of the May 8, 2013 meeting as presented. Jack Zeigler seconded the motion. The motion was passed.
Mr. Wehenkel presented a sketch for a fence gate. He requested input from the Board members if the gate in the front yard must meet the four foot height restriction. The consensus of the Board was that it could not exceed the height limitations.
Doug Blackburn moved to adjourn the meeting. The motion was seconded by Sandra Erwin and passed. The meeting was adjourned at 8:27 p.m.
Bryan Baugh, Chairman Sandra Erwin, Secretary