MINUTES OF THE CATAWBA ISLAND BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
September 11, 2013
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, Sandy Erwin, and Jack DeVore. Chairman Baugh requested alternate member Jack Zeigler replace Tom Anslow on the Board. Alternate member Shelly Stively, 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 # 544730 – Anthony Mark Puskarich
Sandy Erwin stated this case involved an area variance request from Mark Puskarich, Trustee of the Lois A. Puskarich Irrevocable Trust, for property at 6098 Poplar Avenue and also known as sublots 60 & 61 of Gem Beach Subdivision, Plats 1 & 2 in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “R-6”.
The request would allow an area variance permitting a deck and balcony on the front of a proposed structure that will have a fourteen foot front yard setback instead of the required setback of thirty feet. A deck presently exists, but will be removed and reconstructed from the ground up with the new home construction. All fees have been paid and there is no notarized correspondence. Mr. Baugh asked if any Board member had a conflict of interest with the case. There was none.
Mr. Baugh asked who was present to discuss this request. Mark Puskarich introduced himself. Mr. Baugh swore in Mr. Puskarich. Mr. Puskarich stated the area variance is requesting to have a deck on the front of the new structure similar to the location of the existing deck. The family wants to remove the existing house and the deck needs to be removed to accomplish that. Once the new home is built, a new deck will be built as well. The location was chosen to keep everything lined up and not block any views of the neighbors that presently exist. By moving it to its proposed location, the next door neighbors will not be adversely affected.
Mr. Baugh asked if the house would sit in line with the other homes. Mr. Puskarich stated that was correct. The deck would be in front of the house façade, but not block views. Mr. Baugh asked about the existing driveway location. Mr Puskarich stated it would be slightly to the north of the existing driveway. Mr. Baugh asked about the brick walls. Mr. Puskarich stated he believes they are actually within the road right-of-way and that there are two of them.
Jack DeVore indicated he had difficulty when he visited the site distinguishing the pins and what they were identifying. Mr. Puskarich apologized and stated his contractor had placed many pins identifying utility line locations. He stated he placed the flags at the corners of the front of the proposed house and at the front corners of the proposed deck. Mr. Baugh indicated he had some difficulty with the boundaries of the lots. Mr. Puskarich explained he has four lots. Two are on one side of the street and two are on the other side of the street.
Sandra Erwin informed the Board that there was a notarized letter submitted with the application from the adjoining lot owners, Jeffrey and Peggy Mogg. The letter supported the variance request. Mr. Baugh asked her to read the letter into the record which Sandra Erwin did. Mr. & Mrs. Mogg were in attendance, but had nothing to add to their letter.
Mark Puskarich presented a drawing of the existing house and deck. He also presented a drawing of the proposed house and deck. Mr. Baugh stated the proposed deck looked higher than the existing deck. Mr. Pusharich stated the new deck is higher due to the 100 year flood plain regulations. Mr. Zeigler stated there is also a second floor balcony on the proposed house.
Mr. Pusharich stated that is correct for the street side, but it does not extend as far out as the proposed deck does. Mr. Baugh stated he had no concern over the second or third floor balconies. Jack Zeigler agreed as they are further back than now. Doug Blackburn agreed.
Brian Hirsch was sworn in. He stated he lives in the neighborhood and has no problems with the variance proposal. Mr. Baugh asked for any additional testimony. There was none. Mr. Baugh closed the meeting to the public.
Doug Blackburn stated the height of the building is a bit of a concern. The height of the chimney appears to be higher than permitted. Mr. Wehenkel stated the building complies with the thirty-five foot maximum height requirement. The definition of building height is to the highest point of the roof. The chimney is not considered part of the roof.
Mr. Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the submitted Finding of Fact. The Board agreed with the responses to questions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7. One Board member disagreed with the response to question 5 and three Board members disagreed with the response to question 6. Mr. Baugh asked for any further comments or questions from the Board members. There were none.
Doug Blackburn moved to approve request # 544730 as presented. Jack Zeigler seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Case# 544738 – Sandra Kasten
Mr. Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the facts concerning this case. Mrs. Erwin stated this case is an area variance request from Sandra Kasten for property at 5568 E. Farrow Ave and also known as the east fifty feet of Sublot 1 of Harbor Park Marina in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “C-4”.
The request is to allow an area variance permitting an accessory building to be two feet from the side lot line instead of the required five feet. The accessory building will use the concrete pad remaining from a former accessory building removed this year. All fees have been paid and there is no notarized correspondence.
Mr. Baugh asked if there was any conflict of interest by any Board member on this case. There was none. Mr. Baugh asked who was in attendance representing the variance request. Charles Kasten introduced himself. Mr. Baugh swore in Mr. Kasten.
Mr. Kasten stated he bought the home about six years ago. When he purchased it, there were two sheds on the property. One was removed immediately after the purchase. The second shed was a metal shed that was removed earlier this year. He is replacing that shed with a new one. The west side of the shed is about two feet from the property line and not five feet as required. He submitted a letter from Tom Corogin, the adjoining owner to the west, supporting the variance request. Mr. Kasten stated the previous owner had told him the bushes on the west side of the property were the property line.
Mr. Baugh asked if the new shed was built on top of the existing foundation/pad. Mr. Kasten stated that it was on the pad from the previous shed. Jack Zeigler asked if he was aware of the property line when he obtained his zoning permit. Mr. Kasten stated he assumed it was the bushes as he was told. Mr. DeVore stated he saw no pins when he visited the site. Mr. Kasten stated he found one pin in the front of the lot and it appears to be less than five feet from where he thought the property line was located.
Doug Blackburn asked Mr. Wehenkel if Mr. Kasten obtained a zoning permit. Mr. Wehenkel stated that he did. He applied for the permit and submitted a sketch showing the structure was five feet from the property line. When Mr. Wehenkel was doing an inspection of the shed he looked for the property pins and could not find them. He called the County Sanitary Engineer’s office and requested information concerning the water meter and grinder pump. He talked to Mr. Kasten’s contractor. He then sent a letter to Mr. Kasten informing him he needed to submit evidence that the shed was five feet from the lot line or apply for a variance. He provided alternatives available to Mr. Kasten to resolve the concerns.
James Vacha was sworn in by Mr. Baugh. Mr. Vacha stated he is on the compliance committee for Harbor Park Marina. Mr. Kasten had submitted a request for approval for his shed replacement to the compliance committee. On April 21st, the compliance committee provided paperwork to Mr. Kasten advising him that the shed would require a zoning permit and that it had to be five feet from the property line. Mr. Vacha attempted to hand deliver the signed form, but no one was home so he rolled it up and placed in on the door. Later that evening he had a follow-up telephone conversation with Mr. Kasten. Mr. Vacha saw the shed under construction in July and talked to Mr. Wehenkel who advised him of the zoning permit issuance. Mr. Wehenkel submitted a letter in writing suggesting a survey be undertaken. He provided other options to Mr. Kasten as well. Mr. Kasten did not stop work on the shed and it is finished at this time. There is not much on the adjoining property with Happy Days, but there could be more in the future.
Mr. Vacha stated Harbor Park Marina Subdivision was a mess in the past. Several individuals took on the responsibility to try to get things into compliance. They formed a committee and have made good progress. Mr. Vacha stated he does not believe Mr. Kasten should be rewarded with a variance. By granting a variance, the Harbor Park compliance program will lose some of its momentum.
Tom Corogin was sworn in by Mr. Baugh. Mr. Corogin stated the former shed was on the right side of the property. He believes the new shed is in the same location, about two feet off the property line. Mr. Vacha stated it should be five feet from the property line or have a firewall.
John Chovan was sworn in by Mr. Baugh. Mr. Chovan stated he is President of the association and used to serve on the compliance committee. It is a thankless job. He believes Mr. Kasten should meet the five foot setback rather than get the variance. His concern is when you give it to one, you have to give it to others.
John Just was sworn in by Mr. Baugh. Mr. Just stated he was a former compliance committee member. He agrees with the statements made by Mr. Vacha and Mr. Chovan. The Board needs to draw the line and deny the variance.
George Molar was sworn in by Mr. Baugh. Mr. Molar stated he lives next to Mr. Kasten on the opposite side from the shed. He has no objection to the shed as it is located.
Jack DeVore asked how long Mr. Kasten has owned the lot. Mr. Kasten stated he has owned it for five or six years.
Jean Dietz was sworn in by Mr. Baugh. Mrs. Dietz stated she serves on the compliance committee since its inception. She strongly objects to the two foot variance request.
Sandra Erwin asked when the shed was removed. Mr. Vacha stated it was removed in July of this year. Mr. Kasten stated it was not torn down. It fell down. Mr. Blackburn asked if it was on the same pad. Mr. Kasten stated the old shed was 10 feet by 10 feet. The new shed is 10 feet by 16 feet. The pad was extended six feet to the south and complies with that setback requirement. Mr. Baugh asked if the shed is tied down to the pad. Mr. Kasten stated that was correct. It is screwed down. Jack Zeigler stated there is new concrete that was placed on the site. Mr. Kasten stated that was to the south and is okay with zoning.
Mr. Vacha stated the shed was pre-existing. Once it was removed it needed to comply with the current standards. A firewall is necessary or the setback is necessary. Right now it sits out in the middle of nowhere, but the precedence issue is the greater concern.
Jack Devore stated he understands why the owner did what he did, but he doesn’t accept the fact that the pad was extended. He understands the Association’s concerns with the precedence. Mr. Blackburn stated there was testimony that he knew about the possible issues. Jack Zeigler stated it was suggested he have the property surveyed.
Mr. Baugh asked Mr. Kasten if he was advised to have a survey done. Mr. Kasten stated he didn’t know until after the fact. He was issued a zoning permit. Mr. Wehenkel stated he issued the permit based upon the application meeting the requirements of the zoning district. It was when he made a site visit on July 19th that the setback issue became an issue and it was different from the zoning application. He sent correspondence to Mr. Kasten advising him to have a survey or provide evidence of the property line.
Mr. Wehenkel advised the Board of the dates of the correspondence with Mr. Kasten. The Homeowner’s Association correspondence to Mr. Kasten was dated April 23rd. Mr. Wehenkel issued the permit to Mr. Kasten on May 7th. On July 19th the site visit revealed the problem. On July 23rd he sent Mr. Kasten the letter. He stated there was a follow-up telephone conversation with Mr. Kasten after the July 23rd letter. Mr. Wehenkel suggested a possible acquisition of three feet from the owner of the property to the west to bring the shed into compliance. The construction activities continued throughout this period.
Doug Blackburn asked if we know for sure that it is two feet off of the property line. Mr. Wehenkel stated that based upon the best available information from the County offices and field inspection, two feet would appear to be correct. Without a survey, there is no guarantee.
Mr. Baugh stated the Board of Zoning Appeals has no obligation to enforce the Harbor Park Association requirements. The Board does have an objection to the variance to consider. Mr. Baugh asked for additional testimony. There being none, Mr. Baugh closed the hearing to the public. He requested Sandra Erwin read the Finding of Fact.
Mrs. Erwin read the responses to the questions on the Finding of Fact. The Board unanimously agreed with the responses to questions 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Three Board members disagreed with the responses to questions 1 and 7.
Sandra Erwin asked if the Board could require the property owner to have a survey performed. Mr. Wehenkel stated he could not answer that question.
Sandra Erwin moved to approve case # 544738 as stated. Jack Devore seconded the motion. Mrs. Erwin and Mr. Blackburn voted yes and Mr. DeVore and Mr. Zeigler voted no. The chairman, Bryan Baugh cast the deciding vote. He voted no. The variance was denied.
Case #544739 – Kevin Baron
Chairman Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the information on the next case. Mrs. Erwin stated the request is for an area variance from Kevin and Lea Baron for property at 1511 N. Anchor Ave and also known as Sublot 68 of Harbor Park Marina in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “R-4”.
The request is to allow an area variance permitting the existing home to be removed and a new home placed on the property. The new home will be three feet from the west property line (Anchor Ave) instead of thirty-five feet, five feet from the north property line instead of six feet, five feet from the south property line (Marina Ave) instead of twenty-five feet based upon other structures on the street with a lot coverage of 39.5% instead of the required 39%. All fees have been paid and proper notification given. There is no notarized correspondence.
Mr. Baugh asked if any Board member had a conflict of interest with this case. There were none. Mr. Baugh asked who was present to present on the case. Mr. Baron raised his hand. Mr. Baugh swore in Mr. Baron. Mr. Kubit, Mr. Baron’s architect, was also sworn in at that time by Mr. Baugh.
Mr. Baugh stated he had received a request to modify the application. The request was sent by email to Mr. Wehenkel. Mr. Baron stated he owns lot 68 of Harbor Park Marina. He submitted his proposed building plans to the Homeowner’s Association for approval. The Association approved all of the setbacks he had requested except for the three foot setback along Anchor Ave. They stated they wanted a five foot setback in that area. Mr. Baron stated he has worked with his architect to accomplish that request. He is asking to modify his variance request for a five foot setback instead of three feet. Bryan Baugh asked if the lot coverage would change. Mr. Kubit stated the change does modify the lot coverage slightly. It raises it from 39.5% to 40%. Mr. Kubit noted the lot is 103 feet on the south side and 108 feet on the north side.
Mr. Baron stated the revised variance request would include a five foot setback on the west side and a lot coverage of 40%. Mr. Wehenkel asked for written confirmation on the application. Sandra Erwin made the noted changes on the application page and Mr. Baron signed under the changes on the application page.
Mr. Baron stated he has not obtained a revised compliance form from the association. He stated he was not aware that he needed to do that seeing he was now in compliance with their recommendation. John Just was sworn in by Mr. Baugh. Mr. Just stated the applicant will need to resubmit to the Association all of the revised drawings. Bryan Baugh questioned if the Association approval was necessary for the Board to act. Mr. Wehenkel suggested the motion of the Board could include the requirements of compliance with the Association.
John Choban was sworn in by Mr. Baugh. Mr. Choban stated he is the President of the Association. It is a thankless job as is the compliance committee’s job. The revised setback of five feet along the road maintains the previous efforts of the compliance board. The original three foot proposal would have been a problem for the committee. Now this structure will line up with the other structures. Mr. Baron told the Board that the gazebo along the channel was being voluntarily removed as part of the reconstruction. Mr. Baugh thanked Mr. Baron for the clarification. He was going to ask about the gazebo.
Jim Vacha was sworn in by Chairman Baugh. Mr. Vacha thanked Mr. Baron for making the adjustments to his building plans. He did, however, question the 40% lot coverage and whether it should be allowed. He was not objecting to it, but wondered if the Board had allowed that high a lot coverage previously. Mr. Baugh stated he was unsure if a 40% lot coverage had been previously authorized by the Board, but big homes do exist on the lots in Harbor Park and he does not see where the 40% lot coverage would be an issue. Mr. Baron added that the irregular lot lines does add to the lot coverage issue.
Tom Kubit was sworn in. Mr. Kubit stated he owns the home across the street from Mr. Baron. He supports Mr. Baron’s plans and would like to see it approved. Bryan Baugh asked for additional testimony. There was none. Mr. Baugh closed the hearing to the public. There was no Board discussion. Mr. Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the Finding of Fact responses submitted by Mr. Baron.
Sandra Erwin read the Finding of Fact. The Board unanimously agreed with the responses to questions 2, 3, 5, and 7. Three Board members disagreed with the response to the first and sixth questions. One Board member was uncertain about the response to the fourth question. Mr. Baugh complimented Mr. Baron on his response to question 5 and stated it was the best response to that question that he has seen while on the Board.
Mr. Baugh requested a motion on case # 544739. Jack Zeigler moved to approve case # 544739 as presented and amended. Sandra Erwin seconded the motion. The motion passed.
Minutes – August 14, 2013
Jack Devore moved to accept the minutes of the August 14, 2013 meeting as prepared. Sandra Erwin seconded the motion. The motion was passed.
Jack Zeigler moved to adjourn the meeting. Doug Blackburn seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
Bryan Baugh, Chairman Sandra Erwin, Secretary