MINUTES OF THE CATAWBA ISLAND BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
July 9, 2014
Kelly & Mike Gardner
Tom & Elizabeth Burke
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited. Chairman Bryan Baugh called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Board members in attendance were Doug Blackburn, Jack DeVore, and Sandra Erwin. In the absence of Tom Anslow, Chairman Baugh requested alternate Jack Zeigler participate as a voting Board member for the meeting. The zoning inspector, Walter Wehenkel, and Township Trustee Matt Montowski were also in attendance. Mr. Baugh read the meeting procedure. There were no questions on the procedure. Mr. Baugh then asked Sandra Erwin to read the information summary for the first case.
Case # 668036 – Michelle Mastantuono
Sandra Erwin stated the applicant for the first case is Michelle Mastantuono and the property is located at 1388 Little Avenue and also known as sub lot 32 of Harbor Park Marina, Plat 2 in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “R-4”. The request would allow area variances permitting the placement of a garage onto an existing cottage that is seven and one-quarter feet from the rear lot line instead of the required twenty five feet and a lot coverage variance from 39% to 44%. All publications and notifications have been made and there is no additional notarized correspondence beyond that which was mailed to the Board members.
Chairman Baugh asked if any Board member had a conflict of interest. There were none. Mr. Baugh asked who was present to represent this request. Matt Zlocki introduced himself and was sworn in by Mr. Baugh.
Mr. Zlocki stated the variance is for a nineteen foot by twenty-five foot garage that will be attached to the structure. There is no garage today. There is a shed that will be removed. He understands the application exceeds the green space rule. Michelle has owned the structure since 1988. An attempt for a green space variance was attempted in the 1990’s but denied. They are requesting it again. There are two other homes that exceed the green space rule. This request would not be unique and there is no one to the rear.
Mr. Baugh stated there was a compliance submittal to the Harbor Park Association and the Association apparently denied the request. Mr. Zlocki stated that was his understanding. Sandra Erwin asked if the surface water would be directed to the channel. Mr. Zlocki stated that is the plan. It is about 90 feet to the channel. There is a corrugated 4 inch pipe on one side and a second one will be placed on the other side. Mr. Baugh stated it appears a survey was done in 1993. Mr. Zlocki stated that was correct and he found the pins and he believes the flags on the lot are pretty accurate.
Jack Devore stated the lot coverage percentage is a concern. He understands the predicament the owner has and acknowledged the garage would be an asset. Walter Wehenkel stated the lot coverage is actually 53.38% and not the 44% that was originally read by the Secretary. The application was submitted without the deck being included in the lot coverage calculation. By looking at the sketch, Mr. Wehenkel stated you would notice the deck is not shown. Mr. Zlocki stated he was told bad information. Mr. Wehenkel asked by whom. Mr. Zlocki stated he preferred not to name names, but it was from the Homeowner’s Association. Mr. Wehenkel stated the regulations of the Association could be different from the zoning requirements and that both pieces of information could actually be correct. This Board is only concerned with the zoning regulations.
Doug Blackburn asked about the two notarized statements that were submitted. Mr. Zlocki stated they are from his immediate neighbors. Mr. Baugh asked if anyone in attendance had any comments or questions concerning this request. There was none. Mr. Baugh closed the public hearing to the floor.
Mr. Blackburn stated the Board should keep in mind that the request for lot coverage is substantial. He questioned the impact if the deck was ever enclosed. He stated he knew this option could be restricted through the motion. Mr. DeVore stated preventing the deck enclosure would make his vote different. The requested lot coverage needs to be considered. He understands the predicament of the owner. Mr. Blackburn stated that if they could lower the deck to a height of less than six inches above grade, it could be excluded from the lot coverage calculation.
Mr. Zeigler stated the proposed garage does not hamper the neighborhood. Sandra Erwin agreed stating it is already concrete. No green space will be there anyway. If the water is diverted to the channel, she does not see any problems.
Chairman Baugh stated the Board needs to be mindful of the lot coverage request. The Homeowner’s Association has denied this request. Doug Blackburn asked if Mr. Zlocki would consider lowering the height of the deck. Mr. Zlocki stated in the late 1990’s the area flooded and the deck was usable. If it is lowered and the property floods, the deck will not be usable.
Chairman Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the Finding of Fact. There was agreement with questions 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7. There was total disagreement with #3 and some disagreement with #5.
Chairman Baugh asked for a motion on case #668036. Sandra Erwin moved to approve case
#668036 with the corrected lot coverage and a stipulation that the deck never be covered or enclosed. Jack Zeigler seconded the motion. Upon roll call vote Mrs. Erwin and Mr. Zeigler voted yes, Mr. Blackburn voted no, and Mr. DeVore abstained. The variance request was approved.
Case # 668042 – Mike Owens
Chairman Baugh asked the secretary to read the case information. The applicant is Mike Owens and the property is at 5518 Center Lane and also known as sub lot 6 of Harborside Subdivision A in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “R-3”. The request would allow an area variance permitting the placement of a new structure with a lot coverage from the required 36% to 43.9%. All publications and notifications have been made and there is no notarized correspondence.
Chairman Baugh asked if any Board member had a conflict of interest. There were none. Mr. Baugh asked who was present to discuss this application. Mike Owens introduced himself and was sworn in by Chairman Baugh.
Mr. Owens stated he has been in the area for a while and owns a home on the adjoining street. He has enhanced that home over the years. He plans to retire within two years from now. The present home does not fit his needs at retirement. He would like to build a new home with a garage for his boat. The old home on the site was built in the 1940’s from four different structures. It was recently taken down. The lot coverage variance is needed to build what he would like to build. The lots are small and there is a lot of precedent for the lot coverage request. It is a fair request and the new structure will enhance the neighborhood.
Jack Zeigler asked if the ground floor would be all garage. Mr. Owens stated there are two different elevations. One half is a one story garage with the living area over it and the other half is a two story garage. He will not be raising the land or creating any flooding issues. He is working with his neighbors concerning his plans.
Doug Blackburn stated there is encroachment in the rear as you look east and west. His proposal is a bit deeper than most. Mr. Owens stated he combined the rear twenty feet of his lot with the main or front lot. Many of his neighbors have not done that yet. Mr. Wehenkel stated Mr. Owens did sign and get the affidavit combining his lots recorded.
Mr. DeVore stated he sees nothing outstanding concerning the request. Bryan Baugh concurred saying there are similar situations on the street. Mr. Blackburn stated the additional twenty feet does make his lot longer and the lot coverage less objectionable. Mr. Owens stated he has talked to his neighbors to the west to make sure his plans will not obstruct any views that they might presently have on their lots. There are two other people that are looking at building a two-story home on the Lake, and if that occurs, every ones views will be impacted. Chairman Baugh closed the discussion to the floor and asked Sandra Erwin to read the Finding of Fact.
The Board unanimously agreed to questions 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7 and unanimously disagreed with questions # 2 & 3. Bryan Baugh asked if the lot was recently surveyed. Mike Owens stated it was surveyed in May of 2014.
Mr. Baugh requested a motion concerning case # 668042. Jack DeVore moved to approve the variance as presented. Sandra Erwin seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Case # 668051 - Thomas & Elizabeth Burke
Chairman Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the facts concerning the third case. Mrs. Erwin stated the applicants are Thomas and Elizabeth Burke for property at 5878 Plum Drive and also known as sub lot 72 and 74, Gem Beach Subdivision, Plat 2 in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “C-4”. The request would allow area variances permitting the placement of an attached garage to an existing cottage that is twenty-five feet from the rear lot line instead of the required thirty-five feet and a lot coverage variance from 39% to 47.5%. All publications have occurred and the adjoining property owners have been notified. There is no notarized correspondence. Chairman Baugh asked if any Board member had a conflict of interest concerning this request. No one did.
Chairman Baugh asked who was in attendance to discuss this request. Elizabeth Burke introduced herself and was sworn in by Chairman Baugh.
Mrs. Burke stated they have lived here on a part-time basis for twenty-two years. They will now be moving here permanently though she will still commute to work for a few more years. They need the garage for storage space. The upstairs of the garage will be her office as she is a teacher and needs an area to prepare her lesson plans. Doug Blackburn asked why the deck needs to be so big. The stairs and the existing door require it to be that size. They would like some space between the deck and the garage. Mr. Blackburn clarified that the garage will be attached with the deck. Mrs. Burke stated that was correct. Mr. Baugh asked if the deck was elevated or ground level. Mrs. Burke stated it was elevated.
Bryan Baugh swore in the contractor for the Burke’s, John Pekar. Mr. Pekar stated the steps to the deck are parallel to the building. They were moved away from the fence to make additional open space.
Bryan Baugh asked if the two lots are combined. Mrs. Burke stated that they were combined. Mr. Baugh stated when he looked from Plum Street, it was a bit confusing. Mrs. Burke clarified the fact that the garage will be inside the fenced in area. Jack DeVore questioned the location of the existing telephone pole in relationship to the proposed construction. Mrs. Burke stated the new plan actually moves the deck further away from the existing pole. John Pekar noted that the utility companies have portable machines that they use to access tight spaces. They just did a pole relocation on A Street similar to this location. Jack Zeigler asked if the storage shed would be removed. Mrs. Burke stated that it would be removed.
There being no further comments or testimony, Chairman Baugh closed the public hearing. Mr. DeVore noted that the area inside the fence is pretty much covered today. Mr. Baugh agreed noting the only difference is that the new structures are going up higher. Doug Blackburn stated the lot coverage is still an issue and questioned if the deck could be smaller. Mrs. Burke stated they would like some space between the back door and the garage. The proposed deck size gives that space to them. Sandra Erwin asked if the garage is attached to the house via that deck. Mrs. Burke stated that was correct.
Doug Blackburn asked if the lot has two front yards. Mr. Wehenkel stated that it is a double frontage or through lot. That is why the variance from thirty-five feet to twenty-five feet is being requested. However, with the construction as proposed, no views would be blocked.
Bryan Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the Finding of Fact. The Board agreed with the responses to questions 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7. They unanimously disagreed with question 2 with some Board members disagreeing with the response to question 3.
Chairman Baugh requested a motion on case #668051. Jack Zeigler moved that the variances be approved as presented. Jack DeVore seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Case # 668052 – Mike and Kelly Gardner
Chairman Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the information for the fourth variance request. Sandra Erwin stated the area variances are being requested by Mike and Kelly Gardner for property at 5831 Poplar Avenue and also known as sub lot 22 of Gem Beach Subdivision #4 in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “A”. The request is to allow area variances permitting the placement of an accessory building that is three feet from the side lot line instead of the required five feet, two and one-half feet from the rear lot line instead of the required five feet, and one and one-half feet from the main building instead of the required five feet. The case has been publicized and the adjoining property owners have been notified. There is no notarized correspondence. Chairman Baugh asked if anyone had a conflict of interest with this case. No one did.
Chairman Baugh asked who was in attendance representing this variance request. John Pekar introduced himself and was sworn in by Mr. Baugh.
Mr. Pekar stated that the Gardner’s wanted a bigger shed. Their cottage is only 600 to 700 square feet in size. They wanted a shed that was ten feet by twelve feet to store material in such as their kayaks. They prefer to store them inside rather than outside. The old shed was eight feet by twelve feet and it was removed. There are many sheds in Gem Beach that were placed there without zoning permits or variances.
Doug Blackburn stated that the shed would be too close to the house from a fire standpoint. Mr. Pekar stated other in the neighborhood are even closer. He could move it further from the house, but it would get closer to the property lines. Mr. Baugh asked if it could be attached to the house. Mr. Wehenkel stated if it was attached to the house, the setbacks are significantly greater for a principal building than an accessory building. A firewall is usually required by the County Building Inspection office. But due to the small size of this accessory building, a building permit is not required. Mr. Baugh asked if flammable materials might be stored inside the building. Mr. Wehenkel cautioned the Board concerning what the response to that question is today may significantly differ from what could be stored in it in the future by another owner.
Sandra Erwin asked what the outside of the shed would look like. Mr. Pekar stated the outside would have siding similar to the siding on the principal structure. Doug Blackburn stated a 5/8 inch drywall on the inside of the shed wall would address the firewall issue. Mr. DeVore stated the request is not unusual for the Gem Beach area, but he would like to see the firewall included. Mr. Pekar stated he will just install it for the Board. Jack Zeigler asked about the roof. Mr. Pekar stated it would be a gable roof and have a 3:12 pitch and be shingled. Mr. Baugh closed the hearing to the floor and asked Sandra Erwin to read the Finding of Fact questions.
The Board unanimously agreed on questions 1, 4, 5, and 7. They unanimously disagreed with question #3 and 6. There was some disagreement with question 2.
Chairman Baugh requested a motion on case # 668052. Doug Blackburn moved to approve case #668052 as presented with the stipulation that a two hour firewall be installed inside the shed. Sandra Erwin seconded the motion which was passed unanimously.
Approval of the June 11, 2014 Meeting Minutes
Chairman Baugh asked for a motion concerning the minutes of the June 11, 2014 meeting. Jack DeVore moved for their approval as presented. Jack Zeigler seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Mr. Wehenkel requested input from the Board members on a recent inquiry he received. The owner is Roy DeVore who is in attendance. Mr. DeVore owns two lots on Channel Drive in Johnsons Landing Subdivision. The lots are directly across the street from one another. A house exists on one lot and an accessory building/garage exists on the lot across the street. A zoning permit was issued for the accessory building/garage in 1977.
Mr. DeVore would like to expand the accessory building. Mr. Wehenkel does not know if he should consider it a non-conforming building, an accessory building, or a principal building in establishing the zoning permit requirements. Mr. Wehenkel asked Mr. DeVore if he had accurately summarized his plans. Mr. DeVore stated the presentation was correct.
The Board members discussed the various options available for this building and compared the zoning requirements for each option. The consensus was that the building should not be considered as a principal building or an accessory building but rather as a non-conforming building. Mr. DeVore would need to seek a variance for an expansion greater than the 20% permitted for a non-conforming building and maintain the setback requirements for a principal building or seek variances from those setbacks.
Mr. DeVore was in agreement with that discussion and will meet with Mr. Wehenkel to prepare his request.
Sandra Erwin moved to adjourn the meeting. Her motion was seconded by Doug Blackburn. The meeting was adjourned at 8:20 p.m.
Bryan Baugh, Chairman Sandra Erwin, Secretary