Minutes: February 12th, 2014


February 12, 2014


Terry Wharton II
Tony Kaiser
Jeremiah Sellers
Vickie Starr
Jack Keller
Jim Foard
Jan Foard
Martin Svenson
Valerie Szakovits
Tom Szakovits

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, Jack DeVore, and Sandra Erwin. Alternate for the Board, Shelly Stively, was in attendance and was asked to join the Board as a voting member for the evening. Walter Wehenkel, Zoning Inspector, was also in attendance. Mr. Baugh read the meeting procedure. There were no questions on the procedure. Mr. Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the information summary for the first case.

Case #544797 - Jeremiah Sellers

Chairman Baugh asked Sandra Erwin, the Board Secretary, to read the information for the first case. The applicant is Jeremiah Sellers for property at 4107 N. Crogan Street and also known as Sublot 18 of Maplewood Subdivision in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned
“R-3”. The request is to allow area variances permitting the placement of an accessory building three feet from the rear lot line instead of the required five feet and three feet and four inches from the main structure instead of the required five feet. There is no notarized correspondence and the required publication and notification have occurred.

Chairman Baugh asked if any member of the Board had a conflict of interest. There were none. Mr. Baugh asked who would be representing this application. Tony Kaiser introduced himself. Bryan Baugh swore in Mr. Kaiser.

Mr. Kaiser gave the building dimensions. He indicated the structure is too close to the rear lot line and too close to the manufactured home. These are the variances that he needs. Sandra Erwin asked about the setbacks indicated and questioned whether it was two feet or three feet. Mr. Kaiser stated the structure is three feet from the property line so he needs a two foot setback variance.

Bryan Baugh asked if Mr. Kaiser has obtained a zoning or building permit. Mr. Kaiser said he has applied for a building permit and zoning permit. He has paid the fees. Mr. Wehenkel clarified that applications have been filed for both, but no permits can be issued without the variances being approved. Jack Devore asked if Mr. Kaiser was aware of the building permit requirements. Mr. Kaiser stated he was not aware of the requirement for a shed. He knew one was required for a house..

Tom Anslow asked how Mr. Kaiser is related to Mr. Sellers and the property. Mr. Kaiser stated Mr. Sellers is his nephew. He and his sister are both living in the mobile home. Mr. Anslow asked if the accessory building was built on site or brought to the site. Mr. Kaiser stated it was purchased from Lakeside Cabins in Shiloh, Ohio. They brought it to the site and placed it in the present location.

Jack Devore asked if the structure has firewalls. Mr. Kaiser stated he was unsure of the answer. Mr. Wehenkel stated the building would be required to have a 2 hour firewall if it is closer than five feet to any lot line. There are a number of ways to accomplish that including drywall or fire retardant paint.

Sandra Erwin asked if the little shed would stay or be removed. Mr. Kaiser stated the little shed would remain. They store gasoline and other small items in it. Bryan Baugh asked if the size of the new building is 12 feet wide and 30 feet long. Mr. Kaiser stated that was correct. Mr. Baugh asked for an explanation of something shown on the building plans. Mr. Kaiser identified the item as the stairs going up to the second floor. Mr. Baugh stated the building appears to be on gravel and not on a foundation so it could be moved. Mr. Kaiser stated that was correct. It could be moved to another location. Mr. Anslow stated the request was pretty cut and dry when he visited the site this afternoon.

Bryan Baugh asked if anyone was in attendance that wished to address this request. There was no one present to address the case. Mr. Baugh asked Sandra Erwin if there was any correspondence. Sandra Erwin stated there was nothing in the file. Mr. Baugh closed the hearing to the public.

Jack Devore stated the building stands out like a “sore thumb” in the area. Sandra Erwin stated it is big, but it is surrounded by trailers which makes it look bigger than it is. She also noted the smaller existing shed in the back yard is not five feet off the property line. Jack Devore stated it does stand out, but there may not be other options for its location. Tom Anslow stated the Board granted a variance a couple of months ago for the double wide manufactured home to the north.

Bryan Baugh asked about the distance between the trailer and the accessory building. Mr. Wehenkel stated it was 3 feet and 4 inches. Sandra Erwin added that is the reason for the firewall protection. Mr. Baugh stated it is a good size shed and there really are no other option if it were moved. Mr. Anslow stated that the home and shed could be tied together and that would eliminate the problem. Mr. Wehenkel stated the setback requirements are greater for a principal building than it is for an accessory building. That would not resolve the issue. Mr. Anslow stated in hindsight, he would not have approved this if it were brought to him for approval before it was placed there.

Bryan Baugh asked why the building was 12 feet by 30 feet in size. Mr. Kaiser stated he wanted a building that was big enough to park his motorcycle inside. He and his sister recently went through divorces. She was from Maryland and he was from Mansfield. The have combined two households into one mobile home and they needed a building for storage reasons. Bryan Baugh asked if there was a reason the building was so long. He asked if he was storing cars or boats. He wondered if there was another purpose for the size or other intentions. Mr. Kaiser stated the building was strictly for storage.

There being no other questions from the Board, Mr. Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the Finding of Fact. All of the Board members agreed to the responses for questions 3, 4, and 5. The majority agreed with the responses to questions 1, 2, and 7. The majority disagreed with the response to question 6.

Bryan Baugh asked for a motion on case #544794. Sandra Erwin moved for approval of the request as written and stated. Jack DeVore seconded the motion. Upon roll call vote, Sandra Erwin and Shelly Stively voted yes and Jack DeVore and Tom Anslow voted no. Bryan Baugh cast the deciding vote as Chairman and voted no.

Mr. Kaiser asked what options he has available to him now. He asked for suggestions. Mr. Baugh stated there was concern of fire issues and suggested he meet with Walter Wehenkel and review possible options. Tom Anslow and Jack DeVore concurred. Mr. Wehenkel stated he would be available on Friday morning. Mr. Kaiser stated he would stop in and see Mr. Wehenkel. Vicki Starr asked how she should handle her neighbors using her land. Mr. Wehenkel stated she should have a survey prepared and then go through civil court to remove the encroachments.

Case # 544795 James and Janis Foard

Mr. Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the information concerning this request. Mrs. Erwin stated the request is from James and Janis Foard for property at 5489 E. Twinbeach Road and also known as Sublot 3 of Terrace Beach Subdivision in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “R-3”. The request will allow area variances permitting a single family residence to be thirteen and one-half feet from the rear lot line instead of the required twenty-five feet, to allow that residence to contain 532 square feet instead of the required 1,200 square feet, and to have less than the 23 feet minimum width and depth. The structure exists and has been used as a guest house in the past. The owner now wishes to sell the home on its own lot. All publications and notifications have occurred. There is one notarized piece of correspondence from Dale and Diane Nicolay who live at 5545 E. Lakeview Drive. Mr. Baugh asked Mrs. Erwin to read the letter for the record which she did.

Mr. Baugh asked if any members had a conflict of interest with this case. Both Jack DeVore and Sandra Erwin indicated they had a conflict of interest and left the room.

Bryan Baugh asked who was present to represent this request. James Foard introduced himself and was sworn in by Bryan Baugh.

James Foard summarized the letter that was submitted as part of the application. There is no buyer in line to purchase the structure. He and his wife hope to will the property to their children. The two structures were separately connected to the public water and sanitary sewer. The primary reason for the variance request is to allow the cabin to be separated from the main house. When he originally purchased the property, the cabin was the primary house. He built a new house and moved the cabin. It was approved as a guest house in an accessory building. He anticipates he would lose thirty percent of the value if he sold the property as one unit versus two lots.

Shelly Stively asked if the cabin was moved in the past. Mr. Foard stated it was moved about 125 feet west of the present home in the early 2000’s. It sat behind the existing home location. Bryan Baugh added there is a garage and shed in addition to the cabin. Mr. Foard stated there is 16 feet and 8 inches feet between the shed and the cabin with a 10 foot setback shown from the cabin to the proposed lot line. Mr. Foard stated it could be 11 feet. Mr. Foard stated the rear setback of the cabin when he bought the property was 10 feet. When it was moved to the west and classified as an accessory building, only a 5 foot setback was required. At that time, he really did not look at what would be needed in the future if he made it a separate structure. Shelly Stively asked when the cabin was actually moved. Mr. Foard stated it was in 2002.

Bryan Baugh asked where 5545 Lakeview Drive was located in relation to the Foard property. Mr. Foard stated it is across the street and is an A-frame structure. Mr. Baugh wondered as that was the address for the Nicolays.

Mr. Baugh asked if there was there was anyone in attendance that wanted to address this request. Mr. Martin Svenson introduced himself. Mr. Baugh swore in Mr. Svenson. Mr. Svenson stated he had a prepared statement to read. He started by stating that he lives at 5535 E. Lakeview Drive and is directly across the street from the Foard’s property. The Nicolay’s are about 100 feet away from the Foards.

Mr. Svenson stated he built his home in 1984. At the time he was the first house on the north side of the street. Five homes have been built since his home was built and they range from 1,456 square feet to 1,944 square feet with the average 1,790 square feet. The value range from $173,500 to $237,700 with an average value of $196,000. This is based on County Auditor records. They were all built without variances.

The North Pointe Subdivision is to the south of the Foard property. The utilities are underground and the roads are paved. The homes are big homes. Homes range from 1,480 square feet to 2,123 square feet with the average 1,668 square feet. Prices range from $235,000 to $277,000 with the average at $249,000. Other lots have been sold, but not yet built on. The Foard cabin is 532 square feet with a minimum of 1,200 square feet required. That means the cabin contains only 43.33% of the required square footage. Mr. Svenson stated his garage contain 576 square feet.

Mr. Svenson added that the lot may meet the minimum lot width and area requirements, but it is a pie shaped lot. It measures 93 feet at its widest point and is roughly 480 feet long. The building site for the lot is not much bigger than the existing cabin. Mr. Svenson stated the variance request is inconsistent with what has been occurring over the past thirty years and, in his opinion, a 532 square foot structure is not in the best interest of Catawba Island. If approved, it could set a precedent and others may come before the Board requesting one-half the size of the home currently required.

Mr. Baugh asked for other testimony. There was none. Mr. Baugh closed the hearing to the floor. Shelly Stively stated the lot is a difficult lot to build upon if it is split because of the issues created by its shape. Bryan Baugh stated there is really no hardship in this case. Mr. Svenson raised a good point that the cabin could devalue the other homes in the area, as it is less than one-half of what is required.

Mr. Anslow stated the Foards are requesting three variances – structure square footage, minimum width for a dwelling, and rear yard setback. Mr. Baugh agreed stating the rear yard setback is 25 feet and the request is to 13.5 feet. Mr. Anslow asked if the cabin was on a slab. Mr. Foard stated it was on a five block crawl space. Mr. Anslow stated that if it were simply a rear setback variance request, he would not have a problem with it. The two other issues create concern for him.

Bryan Baugh asked Shelly Stively to read the Finding of Fact. The Board members agreed with items 1, 2, 3, and 5, but disagreed with items 3, 6, and 7. Mr. Baugh asked for a motion on case #544795. Tom Anslow moved to approve case # 544795 as presented. Shelly Stively seconded the motion. All Board members voted against the motion to approve. The variance request was denied.

Jack DeVore and Sandra Erwin rejoined the Board for the next case.

Case # 544796 – Lawrence Jenkins

Mr. Baugh requested Sandra Erwin read the case information. Mrs. Erwin stated that request is being submitted by Lawrence Jenkins for property at 2897 N. Coho Drive and also known as Sublot 57 of Harbor Island Subdivision in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned
“R-5”. The request is to allow an area variance permitting the construction of a new deck with an approximate height of twenty-six inches. The deck will be located twenty-three feet from the rear lot line instead of the required thirty-five feet.

Mr. Baugh stated there is a notarized piece of correspondence from David Timmons of 2899 N. Coho Drive. He requested Sandra Erwin read that correspondence which she did. Copies were provided to the Board members. Mr. Baugh asked if there were any conflicts of interest with this case. There were none. Mr. Baugh asked who was in attendance to discuss this application. Terry Wharton introduced himself and was sworn in by Mr. Baugh.

Mr. Wharton described the project to the Board. The present patio is at ground elevation. The owner wishes to have a raised patio that is about fourteen inches above grade. There would be stone on the inside and the outside between the pillars that will be 26 inches in height. There is an opening in the middle by which you would leave the deck and go to the water. Mr. Wharton stated he has only been in business for about three years.

Mr. Baugh asked Mr. Wharton how he is related to the project. Mr. Wharton stated he is the contractor that will be constructing the deck. Mrs. Erwin asked if it is a patio or a slab. Mr. Wharton stated that basically it is a patio that is above grade with a fence around it. Mr. Anslow asked why a variance is needed if it is a patio. Walter Wehenkel explained that, with the pillars and walls, it is more than six inches above grade, and therefore, it is considered a structure and must meet setback requirements. Mr. Wharton gave a further explanation of the project to clarify to the Board what is planned.

Mr. Baugh asked if there is a homeowner’s association on Harbor Island. Mr. Wehenkel stated there is and the association met and approved the setback request. Mr. Keller is in attendance representing the association. Mr. Baugh swore in Mr. Keller. Mr. Keller stated the association approved the proposed patio with the reduced rear yard setback, but denied the posts. Tom Anslow asked if the township variance request is consistent with the associations’ action. Mr. Keller stated that it was consistent.

Mr. Devore stated when he visited the site, this patio seems to stick out further than the other patios on adjoining properties. Mrs. Erwin stated she had difficulties finding the edges of the proposed patio. Mr. Baugh stated it did not feel it was that far out of line with the existing patios. Mr. Wehenkel asked for clarification from Mr. Keller about the association’s disapproval of fountains on the patio. Mr. Keller stated they were not approved. In other words it has to be a patio with no obstructions. Mr. Wharton explained that the posts on the corner were designed to have water shoot out of the limestone caps.

Mr. Baugh stated the Board should consider the notarized correspondence requesting the patio not be enclosed. Mr. Wharton stated there is no way to put a structure on top of his work. It would not support it. Mr. Wehenkel once again wanted clarification on the association’s position. Mr. Keller stated the reduced setback was okay for a patio 14 inches high, but the pillars shown were not approved. Mr. Anslow stated the Board is only looking at the setback reduction. The pillars will be an association issue.

There being no other testimony, Mr. Baugh closed the hearing to the floor. He requested Sandra Erwin read the Finding of Fact which she did. The Board agreed unanimously with all of the responses except or # 6 where they unanimously disagreed.

Mr. Baugh asked for a motion on case # 544796. Tom Anslow moved to approve case # 544796 as presented with the stipulation added that the patio can never be enclosed or covered. Jack DeVore seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.

Approval of Minutes

Jack DeVore moved to approve the minutes of the January 8, 2014 minutes as mailed. Sandra Erwin seconded the motion. The motion passed and the minutes were approved.

Other Business

Mr. Wehenkel informed the Board that the Catawba Island Township Trustees initiated the proposed text amendments concerning the changes to the Finding of Fact form. The Zoning Commission will discuss the text amendment at its February 26th meeting and then it will go to the Trustees at their March 11, 2014 meeting.


Sandra Erwin moved to adjourn the meeting. Shelly Stively seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

__________________________________ ____________________________________
Bryan Baugh Sandra Erwin