MINUTES OF THE CATAWBA ISLAND BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
April 8, 2015
Ed and Theresa Spitler
J. Earl Lay
Brendan & Erin Astley
Chairman Bryan Baugh called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited. Board members were introduced by Chairman Bryan Baugh and included: Sandy Erwin, Jack Zeigler, and alternate members Tim McKenna and Shelly Stively. Mr. Baugh then introduced Walter Wehenkel, Township Zoning Inspector. Mr. Baugh read through the procedure to be followed for the meeting. He asked if there were any questions regarding the procedure by those in attendance and there were no questions.
Mr. Baugh asked the secretary, Sandra Erwin, to read the information for the first case to be discussed.
Case #668133 – Tomi Johnson
Mrs. Erwin stated that a use variance is being requested by Tomi Johnson for property at 5131 E. Sloan Street and also being a part of Sublots 11 & 12 in Block 6 of Ottawa City Subdivision in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “C-3”. Mrs. Johnson is requesting a use variance to authorize an existing single family home to be rented for periods of less than thirty days. All fees have been paid and notifications delivered. There is no notarized correspondence.
Bryan Baugh asked if any Board member had a conflict of interest with the case. There were none. He stated the owner recently rezoned the property to the “C-3” District. Now they are requesting permission to rent out the single family home on a weekly basis. Mr. Baugh asked who was present to discuss the request. Mr. Wehenkel noted Mrs. Johnson was not present. His office called her on Tuesday and left a voice mail reminding her of the meeting.
Mr. Baugh asked if anyone was in attendance for the case. Brendan and Erin Astley introduced themselves and both were sworn in by Mr. Baugh. Brendan Astley stated their property adjoins the property owned by Mrs. Johnson. The existing structure is presently used for long term rentals. The Astley’s prefer it remain that way. If the request is approved, a fence should be required at a minimum. The Miller Ferry is putting up a fence and the Astley’s would like separation from the weekly rentals.
Brendan Astley stated he has been told that the Johnson’s are selling the houses. That is part of their concern and a question they can’t get answered by the Johnson’s. They would like to have contact information so that they can call the owner rather than having to call the police if there is a problem. Erin Astley stated they have experience in these matter as they formerly were apartment managers and handled rentals. Brendan Astley stated things may change with weekly rentals that do not exist with the present long term rental situation. Vacationers are here to have fun.
Walter Wehenkel clarified for the Board that only the single family structure is involved with the use variance request. The triplex can be rented weekly as it is a multi-family dwelling. Sandy Erwin stated she is concerned about the failure of the applicant to attend the hearing. She favored either tabling the case or turning it down. Bryan Baugh asked if the Board could establish conditions such as the fencing. Mr. Wehenkel stated conditions can be established with variance requests as long as they are considered “necessary and reasonable.”
Sandy Erwin asked the Astley’s if they are year round residents. The Astley’s responded that they were year round residents. Sandy Erwin asked Mr. Wehenkel if tabling the request was a problem. Mr. Wehenkel stated it was not a problem. He then stated that perhaps Mrs. Johnson thought the meeting was at 7:30 versus 7:00 p.m. Jack Zeigler moved to continue the case to the May 13th meeting. Tim McKenna seconded the motion. Mr. Wehenkel requested the motion be amended to simply table the request and not establish a date in case Mrs. Johnson showed up at 7:30 p.m. tonight. Mr. Zeigler and Mr. McKenna agreed to the amendment to the motion to simply table the case. The motion was passed.
Case #668139 – Katherine Shahinian
Bryan Baugh requested Sandy Erwin read the information concerning this case. The request is for an area variance being requested by Katherine Shahinian for property at 4336 E. Barnum Road in Section 3, Lot 4 of Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “A”. The request would allow an area variance from the required rear yard setback. The required rear yard setback is 40 feet and the requested setback is 15 feet. All fees have been paid and notifications properly made. There is no notarized correspondence.
Bryan Baugh asked if any Board member had a conflict with the case. There were none. Mr. Baugh asked who was present to address the request. Ken Spero introduced himself and was sworn in by Mr. Baugh.
Mr. Spero stated his client wants to add two additions onto her structure. Both would be enclosed additions. One of the two additions is too close to the adjoining common area owned by the Residences at LeMarin. There is a large fence close by and a section has been removed to allow golf cart to cross the applicant’s property so that LeMarin residents can get to the marina. The owner has no problem with this crossing.
The additions will extend 2 to 3 feet past the existing deck. The owner is an older woman who does not wish to set in the open air, but still want to enjoy the view she has. No one else views would be impacted by the additions. There is a sufficient setback for the northern addition. Only the southern addition requires a variance.
Bryan Baugh asked Mr. Spero if he had additional drawing. Mr. Spero stated he has a larger version of the drawing included with the application. Jack Zeigler stated he was a bit confused with the placement of the green flags. Mr. Spero stated those flags designated steps. If the steps in that location are not acceptable, Mr. Spero stated there could be an alternative placement. Tim McKenna asked Mr. Spero if he had any comments from LeMarin. Bryan Baugh stated they have a representative in attendance who may wish to speak. Mr. Spero stated he had nothing additional to share with the Board.
James Earl Lay was sworn in by Mr. Baugh. Mr. Lay represents the Residences at LeMarin. His only question was whether the enclosed area would be one or two stories. Ken Spero stated the addition would match the existing roof line. Mr. Lay clarified that basically the addition is only going to enclose the area that is presently deck. Mr. Spero stated that was correct. Mr. Baugh provided Mr. Lay a copy of the drawing submitted with the application.
Jack Zeigler asked if the common area is used at all. Mr. Spero stated there is an eight foot high fence on the line. Mr. Lay stated there is a line of arborvitae and the existing shed is probably on or over the property line.
Jack Madison was sworn in by Bryan Baugh. Mr. Madison was present representing Catawba Island Marina South. He stated there was on old house there previously with a dirt drive. The house was removed and the drive still exists. Mr. Lay explained the path of the drive. Mr. Madison stated there was a steel wall erected to protect the house. Mr. McKenna asked what its present use is. Mr. Lay stated it provides access to the Lake. The proposed addition should not create any problems.
Mr. Baugh closed the discussion to the floor. He requested Sandy Erwin read the Finding of Fact. The Board members all agreed to the responses for questions 1, 4, 5, and 7. They unanimously disagreed with the response to question #3. A majority of the Board members agreed with the responses to questions 2 and 6.
Mr. Baugh asked for a motion concerning case #668139. Jack Zeigler moved to approve the request as presented. Shelly Stively seconded the motion. The motion was passed.
Case # 668141 – Ed & Theresa Spitler
Mrs. Erwin presented the following information for this case. The request is for area variances being requested by Edward and Theresa Spitler for property at 3617 N.E. Catawba Road in Section 3, Lot 9 of Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “C-3”. The variances requested would allow modifications from the required size and height of an accessory building. The maximum square footage for accessory buildings allowed is 2,000 square feet and the applicant is requesting 2,700 square feet in total. The maximum height for accessory buildings is 20 feet and the applicant is requesting 28 feet. The applicant is proposing an addition to the existing accessory building. All notifications have been made and the fee has been paid. 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 discuss the request. Ed Spitler introduced himself and was sworn in by Mr. Baugh.
Mr. Spitler stated he would like to add a 30 foot by 50 foot addition onto his existing accessory building. A variance was previously granted to him for the height of the existing building and he would just like to have the option to continue at that height for the proposed addition. The property, previously owned by Bob Schroeder to the south, has a large barn on it. Mr. Spitler and his brother own the property to the north. Across the street is the parcel recently rezoned to a commercial district for Mr. Quintin Smith.
Bryan Baugh asked what the second story would be used for. Mr. Spitler stated there would not be a floor on the second story. Based upon the 50 foot dimension and the need to have a fourteen foot high door to get his recreational vehicle inside, the height is needed. Mr. Spitler stated the pitch may be different from the existing building depending upon the type of roof he uses. Mr. Baugh asked if it would be similar in appearance to the existing structure. Mr. Spitler stated it would be vinyl sided if it is a stick built addition, but it will have metal siding if it is a pole barn construction.
Mr. Baugh asked for any additional testimony. There was none. Mr. Baugh closed the hearing to the public and asked for Board member questions. There were none. Mr. Baugh asked Sandy Erwin to read the Finding of Fact. The Board members unanimously agreed with the responses to questions 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7. There was a majority agreement for questions 2 & 6.
Mr. Baugh asked for a motion on case #668141. Tim McKenna moved to approved case
#668141 as presented. His motion was seconded by Sandy Erwin. The motion was passed.
Case #668133 – Tomi Johnson (continued)
Tim McKenna moved to remove the Tomi Johnson use variance request from the table. Jack Zeigler seconded the motion. The motion passed.
Mike Johnson was sworn in by Bryan Baugh. Mr. Baugh summarized the previous testimony provided by the Astleys. Their three areas of concern were short term rentals, noise and who to contact about it, and fencing/privacy. Mr. Baugh asked Mr. Johnson if he would consider placing a fence along the north property line. Mr. Johnson stated that would not be a problem. Mr. Baugh asked Mr. Johnson if he could provide a phone number where complaints could be made. Mr. Johnson stated he could do that.
Mr. Baugh stated the type of fence was not discussed. Mr. Johnson stated the rental is located a significant distance from the home of the Astleys. He wondered what type of tenant the Astley’s believe he would be renting to that a fence would be necessary. Mr. Johnson stated he could complain about their barking dog and their outside burning, but he has not to date. Mr. Baugh suggested a privacy fence six feet in height made of wood or vinyl would likely suffice. The Astley’s stated it could match the Miller Boat line fence.
Shelly Stively stated she is concerned over the thirty day rental versus weekly rental. Her concern is whether the township is opening the door or setting a precedent for others to request similar use variances. Sandra Erwin stated there are others doing weekly rentals. Mr. Wehenkel noted that the precedent would be for property zoned “C-3”. Mr. Baugh added that each case is reviewed on its own merit.
Bryan Baugh requested Sandy Erwin read the Finding of Fact. The Board felt the conditions were met for the hardship to be granted. Sandy Erwin moved to approve the use variance with the condition that a 7 foot high wood or vinyl fence be erected on the north property line and that a contact number be provided in case of complaints for use by the neighbors. Jack Zeigler seconded the motion. The motion was passed.
Mr. Wehenkel advised Mr. Johnson that he needed a fence permit and that he could submit the contact information to the township at that time.
Approval of Minutes – March 11, 2015
Tim McKenna moved to approve the minutes of the March 11th meeting as mailed. Sandra Erwin seconded the motion. The motion was passed with Jack Zeigler and Shelly Stively abstaining.
Shelly Stively noted she would not be in attendance at the May meeting.
Walter Wehenkel asked for a clarification. He wondered if a motel/hotel can be used as employee housing. The township does not discuss employee housing in the zoning resolution. He does not believe it would be prohibited. An existing hotel is up for foreclosure. The question has been raised. The Board believed the use of the hotel for employee housing would be acceptable under the zoning code.
Tim McKenna moved to adjourn the meeting. Jack Zeigler seconded the motion. The motion was passed and the meeting was adjourned at 7:58 p.m.
Bryan Baugh, Chairman Sandra Erwin, Secretary