MINUTES OF THE CATAWBA ISLAND BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
December 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, Tom Anslow, Doug Blackburn, and Sandra Erwin. Alternates for the Board, Jack Zeigler and Shelly Stively, were also in attendance along with the zoning inspector, Walter Wehenkel. Due to the fact that there were no cases before the Board, Mr. Baugh dispensed with the reading of the meeting procedure.
Chairman Baugh asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the November 13, 2013 meeting. Doug Blackburn moved to approve the minutes as mailed. Sandra Erwin seconded the motion. The motion was passed.
Mr. Baugh stated the Finding of Fact procedure used by the Board on Variance requests was a little problematic. He wondered where it came from and why it was being used. Mr. Wehenkel stated it came from a court case “Sandusky vs. Kisil” and it was incorporated into the zoning resolution at the recommendation of the Prosecutor’s Office. The seven questions were established by the court and are the basis by which zoning appeals boards should render decisions. Mr. Baugh stated he feels that the Board is often agreeing with responses from applicants that truly do not address the questions. A general discussion followed.
The Board concluded that the applicant’s responses to the Finding of Fact questions should be considered only if they address the question. The Board members should give merit to the issues they see in the field and what they hear at the hearing as it relates to these questions. The Board members should answer the question from their perspective. Mr. Wehenkel stated he would try to write a page of instructions to go with the Finding of Fact forms. It was also suggested that a Yes or No line be added for each question with a justification for the response given by the applicant. Mr. Wehenkel will provide a sample revised Finding of Fact for the Board members to review.
A general discussion followed on amending applications for variances at Board meetings. Mr. Wehenkel stated the applicant should be given the opportunity to request a modification to their variance request at the public hearing. The Board does not have to allow it. The Board should not “negotiate” with the applicant, but rather, let the applicant know that they have concerns with their initial request. The applicant can be given a brief timeframe to review their application and suggest modifications. This can be done by tabling the case and proceeding to the next case. Once the next case is decided, the Board can bring the first case off the table and discuss the modification. Or it can be tabled until the next meeting. If no other cases are on the agenda, the Board can take a brief “recess” to allow the applicant to decide on any modifications they want to propose as amendments.
Sandy Erwin moved to adjourn the meeting. Doug Blackburn seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at 7:45 p.m.
Bryan Baugh Sandra Erwin