MINUTES OF THE CATAWBA ISLAND BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
October 8, 2014
Roger & Judy Fair
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. Shelly Stively, alternate member, was also in attendance. Walter Wehenkel, Township Zoning Inspector, and Matt Montowski, Township Trustee were introduced. 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, Sandra Erwin, to read the information for the first case.
Case # 668086 - Roger and Judy Fair
Sandra Erwin stated the first area variance request was submitted by Roger and Judy Fair for property at 5067 E. Cemetery Road and also being located in Section 3, Lot 12 of Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “R-4”. The request would allow an area variance permitting accessory buildings larger than the required square footage allowed. The proposed square footage of all accessory buildings would be 920 square feet instead of the permitted 500 square feet. All notifications have occurred, fees have been paid, and there is no notarized correspondence.
Bryan Baugh asked if any members had a conflict of interest with the case. There were none. He then asked who was present to discuss the variance request. Roger Fair introduced himself and was sworn in by Chairman Baugh.
Mr. Fair stated he would like to construct a 24 foot by 30 foot garage behind his house and property zoned “R-4”. He presently has one accessory building he would like to retain and with the proposed building, he would be over the maximum square footage of 500 square feet by 420 square feet. His only neighbors are Bolte Real Estate and Catawba Island Township.
Bryan Baugh asked if the older buildings in the rear were removed. Mr. Fair stated the barn was removed in 2009. Bryan Baugh asked about the proposed height of the building. Mr. Fair stated it would not exceed the fifteen feet allowed. Walter Wehenkel confirmed fifteen feet to the highest point of the roof was the maximum height. Mr. Fair stated he was not a contractor and he did not know how many blocks would make up the foundation. He was told it would be between 12 and 15 feet in height. Mr. Baugh asked if it would be just north of the home. Mr. Fair stated that was correct.
Mr. Baugh confirmed it would not be attached to the home. Mr. Fair stated that was correct. Mr. Blackburn asked if it would be feasible to attach it. Mr. Fair explained there is an old cistern in the way. He has tried to find a certified contractor to properly abandon it, but has been unsuccessful in doing that. It could be attached if he finds a contractor. Mr. Blackburn noted he would not need the variance if that occurred.
Mr. DeVore indicated he did not see anything that stood out to him. Mr. Zeigler asked if the building would be sided and stick built. Mr. Fair stated it would be regular construction on site and built by Weaver Barns from Amish Country.
Matt Montowski was sworn in by Chairman Baugh. Mr. Montowski introduced himself as a Township Trustee. He stated the Fairs have been good neighbors to the Township. The Trustees support the proposal of the Fairs. Chairman Baugh asked for additional testimony. There was none. Mr. Baugh closed the hearing to the public.
Sandra Erwin stated the proposed structure is behind the house and should not create problems for anyone. Doug Blackburn added the owner has removed the older buildings to beautify the area. Jack Zeigler agreed adding the new building would be an asset to the property.
Chairman Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the Finding of Fact. The Board members unanimously voted yes to the responses to questions #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7. Two members agreed to the responses to question #6 and three disagreed.
Chairman Baugh requested a motion concerning case #668086. Doug Blackburn moved to approve case # 668086 as submitted. Jack DeVore seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Case #668089 - Aaron & Julie Kunzen
Chairman Baugh requested Sandra Erwin read the information concerning this variance request.
Mrs. Erwin stated the request is for an area variance being requested by Aaron & Julie Kunzen for property at 1561 Compass Ave and also known as sub-lot 110 in Harbor Park Marina Subdivision, Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “R-4”. The request would allow an area variance permitting a lot coverage that exceeds the permitted 39%. The proposed lot coverage will be 43% after a deck/pergola is added to the home. All fees have been paid, notifications have been made, and there is notarized correspondence provided to the Board Members. Mr. Kunzen indicated he had one additional notarized statement and presented it to the secretary.
Chairman Baugh asked if there was a conflict of interest by any Board member. There was none. Mr. Baugh asked who was present to discuss the variance request. Aaron Kunzen introduced himself and was sworn in by Chairman Baugh.
Mr. Kunzen started by saying the present situation was caused by his actions. He was advised during the first variance hearing for his home by Mr. Wehenkel that a lot coverage variance would be needed if a deck was built in the future. At that time, Mr. Kunzen stated he was only concerned with the setbacks for the home. As the home was being built, the contractor told him he could pour the concrete for the deck and give him a good price. Mr. Kunzen authorized the additional concrete without thinking.
The deck will be two tiered with a pergola to provide some shade and a seating wall. He would be relieved if he can keep the concrete pad already poured. The deck will remain open. He has kept his neighbors in mind throughout the process and is further back than they are located. No views will be blocked and the channel views will be retained. The two tier deck allows easier access into the home and Mr. Kunzen preferred the look of a two tier deck/patio.
Jack DeVore asked Mr. Kunzen if what he saw in the field is what Mr. Kunzen wants. Mr. Kunzen stated it is almost complete except the posts will not be there just surrounds. There will be a stone veneer patio up to the seating wall. Jack Zeigler stated the plans are pretty clear. Sandra Erwin stated no views are being blocked by the work, even with the addition of the pergola. Mr. Baugh added that the pergola design does not lend itself to enclosure. Mr. Kunzen added that the pergola will have no pitch and that a second floor could not be supported. It is simply a free standing pergola.
James Vacha was sworn in by Bryan Baugh. Mr. Vacha stated he is representing the compliance committee of the subdivision. The compliance committee supports the lot coverage request of Mr. Kunzen. Mr. Kunzen added that the notarized correspondence is from the adjoining neighbors on both sides of the boat channel.
Sharon Tuttle was sworn in by Mr. Baugh. Mrs. Tuttle stated the purpose of the subdivision rules is to improve the areas within the subdivision. Mr. Kunzen’s improvement is on the water side of his lot. The approval, if granted, sets a precedence for other lots. Whether it be a street side or a water side request, the lot coverage is the same. The owners want to use their land to the best of their abilities. Ms. Tuttle stated her request was very similar to this request. Chairman Baugh noted he had no intentions of discussing Mrs. Tuttle’s case as it is not before the Board at this time. Mrs. Tuttle asked if the request was for a 43% lot coverage. Mr. Baugh stated that it was for 43%, but the Board considers each case on their own merits. He stated this is not a blanket precedence.
Chairman Baugh asked for any additional testimony. There was none. The hearing was closed to the public.
Mr. DeVore stated the proposed deck would be behind the other existing structures and he did not see anything outstanding concerning the request. Doug Blackburn stated the applicant has “the cart before the horse” and is now asking for forgiveness. Jack Zeigler countered that the proposal fits in well with the neighborhood look. Sandra Erwin added that she saw no problem with the proposed height because it was behind the required setback, and as designed, it should look good.
Chairman Baugh requested Mrs. Erwin read the Finding of Fact. The Board members unanimously voted yes to questions #1, 5, and 7. They unanimously voted no on questions # 3, and 4. There were four no responses and one yes response to question #2 and three yes responses and two no responses to question #6.
Chairman Baugh requested a motion on case # 668089. Sandra Erwin moved to approved case
#668089 as presented. Jack Zeigler seconded the motion. Doug Blackburn requested an amendment to the motion prohibiting future enclosure of the deck/pergola. Sandra Erwin and Jack Zeigler both agreed to amend their motion and second. A vote on the amended motion was taken and was passed unanimously.
Case #668095 – Douglas Newcomb
Chairman Baugh requested Sandra Erwin to present the facts surrounding the third variance request. Mrs. Erwin stated the request is for an area variance being requested by Douglas Newcomb for property at 2882 N. Perch Row and also known as sub-lot 33 of Harbor Island Subdivision in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “R-3”. The variance request would allow the lot coverage requirement of 36% to be exceeded. The requested lot coverage would be about 40.8% and permit the construction of a low level deck on the channel side of the home. All fees have been paid, notifications have been made, and there is a letter of support from the Harbor Island Homeowner’s Association.
Mr. Baugh asked if any member had a conflict of interest. There were none. Mr. Wehenkel noted he also submitted a letter to the Board challenging the lot coverage figure submitted by the applicant. Sandra Erwin stated she was unable to view the site as the gate was down and she could not gain entrance. She stated she was unsure what to do. Mr. Baugh suggested she hear the testimony. If she felt comfortable enough to cast a vote, she should. If not, she should abstain from voting. He would prefer not to table the case at this time but take the testimony.
Mr. Baugh asked who would present the case to the Board. Douglas Newcomb introduced himself and was sworn in by Chairman Baugh.
Mr. Newcomb stated he would like to have the same deck that he previously had on the property. His old house was torn down and he built a new one. The Homeowner’s Association has signed off on the proposed deck. It will be about 1¼ feet off the ground and will not block anyone’s view. Sandra Erwin asked if it was like that previously. Mr. Newcomb stated that was correct. Bryan Baugh re-questioned that the height of the lower deck was less than a foot and one-half above grade. Mr. Newcomb stated that was correct. The only difference is there is now one step instead of two steps. Jack Zeigler wanted to confirm that the location of the deck has not moved. Mr. Newcomb stated that was correct. The house was raised, but the deck will be the same as before.
Bryan Baugh stated he felt better about the request seeing the deck will not be elevated.
Bryan Baugh stated the request is for an increase in lot coverage. He noticed the doors on the south side of the garage and wondered what they would be used for in the future. Mr. Newcomb stated the ground elevation will be raised when the construction is finished and the doors will be used for golf cart access. There will be no steps, only a ramp.
Jack Zeigler asked about the steel pilings by the channel. He asked if they were a part of the former deck. Mr. Newcomb stated they were not. It was a mistake by Ken Gill Construction when the new house was being constructed. They are not part of the deck and will be cut down. Mr. Zeigler suggested they could be tied into the steel wall for support.
Mr. Newcomb noted he did not put the gate code on his application as the gate has not been working and has been up all summer. It was just recently repaired.
Bill Vondra was sworn in by Bryan Baugh. Mr. Vondra stated he is a resident of Harbor Island and used to serve on the Homeowner’s Association. He questioned the number of steps from the upper deck to the lower deck. Mr. Newcomb stated there would be four risers.
Jack DeVore wondered if it would be out of line to table the request until better information could be provided. He so moved. Doug Blackburn seconded the motion to table. Walter Wehenkel stated the issue at hand is whether the deck should be allowed or not. He indicated the actual lot coverage that is in question could be accurately determined. Suffice it to say, the lot coverage is between 41% and 45%. Mr. Blackburn noted that the drawings submitted were improper and did not reflect the true lot coverage.
Jack Zeigler asked if the steps from the upper deck going towards the road were included. Mr. Wehenkel noted they were included in his calculation, but were not included in Mr. Newcomb’s calculation. Mr. Wehenkel noted the approval by the Homeowner’s Association included the change in the steps. His calculation of 4,035.06 square feet is being calculated with all of the lot coverage included in the construction. Mr. Wehenkel noted that his figure was an estimate as nothing, as submitted, was drawn to scale or dimensioned. Mr. Newcomb stated the actual lot coverage proposed is 44.34% based upon his latest calculations. He noted Mr. Wehenkel’s calculation are off by about 100 square feet based upon the number of stairs which has changed with the Homeowner Association’s approval.
Chairman Baugh asked Mr. Newcomb if he was amending his application to 44.34% lot coverage. Mr. Newcomb stated that he was wanting to amend it. Jack DeVore withdrew his motion to table the request. Mr. Wehenkel requested Mr. Newcomb initial the change on his application, which he did. The public hearing was closed to further testimony.
Jack DeVore noted he had nothing further to say concerning the request. Mr. Zeigler was curious why the additional variance plans when the house was built did not include the rear deck. Mr. Newcomb stated he did not know. He did not remember seeing the plans when they were submitted. Sandra Erwin stated she had nothing to add. Doug Blackburn calculated the lot coverage based upon the information he received at the hearing and his lot coverage number was 44.02% so he was fine with the requested 44.34%.
Chairman Baugh requested the secretary read the Finding of Fact. The Board members all voted yes on questions 1, 5, and 7. The Board members all voted no on questions 3 and 4. A majority of the Board members voted yes on questions 2 and 6.
Chairman Baugh requested a motion on case #668095 as amended to a lot coverage of 44.34%. Sandra Erwin moved to approved case #668095 as amended. Doug Blackburn seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously with Jack DeVore abstaining.
Approval of Minutes
Jack DeVore moved to approve the minutes from the September 10, 2014 meeting as presented. Jack Zeigler seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously.
Quintin Smith was in attendance to address the Board concerning a proposal that he is considering. The property is in Section 3, Lot 9 and part of the former Paul Rofkar farm. Mr. Smith is looking at developing a microbrewery, agricultural products store, and meeting facility. He is presently proposing to rezone a portion of the property to the “C-1” Commercial District and will be coming to the Board in the future for a conditional use request. The rezoning request will be heard by the Zoning Commission in early November. Assuming all goes well, the conditional use request could be before the Board in December of this year. He proceeded to highlight his overall plans.
Doug Blackburn moved to adjourn the meeting. His motion was seconded by Jack DeVore. The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 p.m.
Bryan Baugh, Chairman Sandra Erwin, Secretary