MINUTES OF THE CATAWBA ISLAND BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
May 13, 2015
Jack & Ginger Grummel
Edward & Petra Lynch
Mary Lue Carroll
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, Jack DeVore and Doug Blackburn along with alternate member, Tim McKenna. 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 #668148 Gem Beach Marina
Mrs. Erwin stated the request is for a use variance being requested by Gem Beach Marina for property at 5700 E. Twinbeach Road and also being a part of Section 3, Lot 13 of Catawba Island Township. The property is presently zoned “A”. The use variance request would allow the construction of a 70’ by 150’ heated boat storage building in the existing parking area on the parcel. All fees have been paid, the proper notification mades, and there is no correspondence.
Bryan Baugh asked if any Board member had a conflict of interest concerning this request. Jack DeVore stated that he did and left the room. Bryan Baugh asked Tim McKenna to assume Mr. DeVore seat on the Board for this case. Bryan Baugh reminded the Board members that this is a request for a use variance which is different from the usual area variance requests the Board usually reviews. The Finding of Fact is different and the Board needs to consider any conditions they may feel are appropriate as part of their action.
Mr. Baugh asked who was present to discuss this request. Lee Short, architect, introduced himself and was sworn in by Mr. Baugh. Mr. Short presented the Board members a revised set of drawings. The revision dealt with the proposed side setback of the building on the west side. It was reduced from 20 feet to 10 feet. All of the overhead doors would face to the east. With the 10 foot setback there would be less area to maintain and it would be less likely that this area would be used for outside storage of materials. The building height is proposed at 24 feet. Historically, this site has been used for boat storage for many years and this request would allow some of the outside storage to now be stored on the inside.
Mr. Short noted that several of the boats have sat there for years. The problem is the boat owners leave them there and the property owner needs to go through a lengthy process to get title to them before they can be disposed of in the proper manner. You just can’t throw someone else property into the dumpster.
Mr. Baugh noted the variance also requires a lot coverage issue. Mr. Short stated the lot coverage would be 36.8% with the new building while the allowed coverage is 30%. That includes all three of the buildings on the site: the roller rink, the steel building, and the proposed building. Doug Blackburn stated he viewed the site and wondered what the possibility would be to eliminate all outside storage. By using the 60 feet to the east for maneuvering the boats into the proposed building, there is still sufficient room on the north end of the property for outside storage. Mr. Short stated there is a 100 foot setback proposed and storage could likely occur in that area.
Jack Zeigler asked if the fence was assumed to be the lot lines. Mr. Short stated he did field measurements and the fence was within inches on the east and west sides. Mr. Zeigler asked about the front measurement. Mr. Short stated he was not sure, but believed it was close based upon the fence’s proximity to the utility poles. Mr. Zeigler stated the drawing shows a 120 foot area in front of the building. Mr. Short stated that is correct and that a heated building is desired and the building will clean up the area significantly by getting the boats inside.
Bryan Baugh asked if there were any additional questions from Board members. There were none. Mr. Baugh asked if others in attendance wanted to testify concerning the proposal. Mr. Ed Lynch introduced himself and was sworn in by Mr. Baugh. Mr. Lynch stated he resides at 5627 Twinbeach across the street from the site. He stated he had several concerns.
1. The area is zoned agriculture. Why is a commercial building being considered? Will
it have an electronic gate to allow access by customers at any time?
2. He is concerned over the rain water and where it will go. He does not wish to get
flooded out by the building.
3. Why can’t all of the boats be stored inside? Or could they at least be required to put
up a decorative fence to hide the outside storage?
4. Will the north end of the property be paved or dusty stone. He is concern about dust
caused by the present lot.
Renee DeVore was sworn in by Mr. Baugh. Mrs. DeVore stated they bought their house in 1978. The roller rink was used in the summer with boat storage in the winter. Since the roller rink has closed, junk from the marina has been placed on the property along with boats that have remained in the same spot for years. The tarps get torn and animals crawl in and out of the boats. She stated she is not opposed to the proposed building, but would like all of the boat storage to be inside.
Alice Root was sworn in by Chairman Baugh. Ms. Root stated “A” is for agriculture. She is concerned with this property being used for commercial purposes. Mr. Baugh stated the application is not to change the zoning to commercial, but to grant a use variance to allow a commercial building to be built on the agricultural property. There was no further testimony.
Lee Short offered to respond to the questions that had been raised. Mr. Baugh stated that would be helpful. Mr. Short identified that he would try to answer the questions in the same order that they were asked. Concerning the gate to get access to the property, the present situation will be retained. There will not be unlimited access to the site. Generally, there would be no access during the summer months. Concerning the drainage concerns, Mr. Short stated the drainage will not increase simply by building the structure. The compacted limestone parking lot will absorb water much as it does today. The lot is crowned to take the water to the edges. It then goes north to the south side of Twinbeach. Mr. Lynch stated he was concerned with water coming across the street. Mr. Short stated he did not believe that has ever happened, nor should it happen as a result of the construction of the proposed building.
The lot will not be paved, but will remain stone. It will not be dust free, but summer traffic on the site is limited, so dust is generally not an issue. There are some simple solutions available to control dust if it became an issue, but the use of the lot in the fall months when boats come out of the water usually results in very little dust.
Bryan Baugh asked if the floor of the building would be concrete. Mr. Short stated that it would be concrete. Mr. Baugh asked if the storage facility would be private. Mr. Short stated it was not a condominium. Only the applicant will have ownership and control over the building. Doug Blackburn asked if the units would be used for storage during the summer. Mr. Short stated the boat cradles are usually put inside. Mr. Blackburn asked if jet skis would be in and out all summer. Mr. Short stated no jet skis would be put into the building. The building is intended to store bigger boats. Jet skis are stored in the roller rink building. Tim McKenna asked if rack storage was being considered. Mr. Short stated no rack storage was planned.
Lee Short stated the Grummels have been trying to clean up the area by getting rid of some of the junk and abandoned boats. There is a lot of “A” zoning in the township. The applicant considered a change of zoning to the “C-4” District as one option, but opted to request a use variance instead. The use variance is a safer way to go for the neighbors and the township. The “C-4” District allows for the boat storage building, but it also allows a lot of uses that the neighbors might not like. With the use variance the building is restricted to boat storage.
Tim McKenna asked if any fence issues along the road were being considered. At this time, Mr. Short stated no consideration to the fence along the road has been discussed. Jack Zeigler stated the junk boats, dockage, and concrete all make the site unsightly and wondered if the Grummels were getting rid of it. Mr. Short stated the owners are trying to clean it up. There is vegetation growing through the fences. Doug Blackburn stated that ideally the eyesores on the property could be moved to the back of the property. Mr. Short indicated the back of the site is where topsoil and other materials are already being stored. Jack Zeigler stated if the building was moved towards the front and the fence was improved, many of the concerns would be addressed. Mr. Short stated the owners are open to a screen or planting along Twinbeach Road. Caution will be needed to ensure a visibility safety issue is not created for vehicle pulling out of the site.
With no further discussion, Chairman Baugh closed the hearing and requested comments from the Board members. He reminded the Board that they have the authority to put stipulations on use variances such as fencing, screening, regulating boat storage in the summer, etc. Doug Blackburn stated the owner does not appear to be “dead-set” on where the building must be located. Sandy Erwin added that if the building were moved up, the storage of the junk boats, etc. could be moved behind it. In addition, there would be less dust created. Tim McKenna stated it might be better for the neighbors, but they would still be looking at a boat storage building. Jack Zeigler agreed, but indicated it would get the abandoned boats out of the front of the lot.
Lee Short stated moving the gate location to the east and sliding the boat storage building forward would be an option that the owners would consider. He questioned what the Board would want for a distance from the road. Twenty feet off of the road would allow maximization of the area between the roller rink and the proposed building. Bryan Baugh stated moving the building to within twenty feet of the fence would indicate a willingness to work with the neighbors. Moving the building to the north would eliminate the present storage that is going on in the front of the lot. Sandra Erwin agreed stating the old boats could be moved to the rear. Doug Blackburn wondered about the runoff. Mrs. Erwin replied that the downspouts on the building would direct the water flow and help control drainage issues. Bryan Baugh stated he did not see drainage as an issue.
Bryan Baugh stated some type of screening, fence, or planting of arborvitae to buffer the site from the neighbors would be helpful. Doug Blackburn stated the site would certainly be enhanced with landscaping. Jack Zeigler questioned the setback in the front yard of an “A” District. Mr. Wehenkel stated the “A” District establishes a setback of fifty feet, but the use variance establishes setbacks based upon what the Board feels is appropriate. Lee Short then approached the Board and shared with them a sketch with the building moved forward as suggested. He then shared it with the audience. A general discussion followed between the Board, the audience, and Mr. Short concerning the revised sketch.
Doug Blackburn stated if the building is moved forward as shown on the revised sketch to a twenty foot setback, he wondered if the Board believed that setback was adequate. The Board members all felt that it was adequate, especially if some sort of planting was included.
Bryan Baugh asked Sandra Erwin to read the Finding of Fact. The Board all agreed with the responses to questions #1 and #3, but disagreed with the response to question #2.
Bryan Baugh stated the Board heard the neighbor’s concerns and the applicant has submitted a sketch reflecting the building relocated to the front of the lot. He asked if the Board felt the need for landscaping or if the Board wanted a new fence? Tim McKenna asked if the Board can stipulate painting the existing fence and/or landscaping, or both. Mr. Baugh stated he believed the Board had that ability.
Sandra Erwin moved to approve the proposed boat storage building relocated to the north and with a twenty foot setback off Twinbeach Road. The entry gate will be moved to the east with landscaping and beautification of the fence required. Bryan Baugh asked for a better definition of the landscaping required. Walter Wehenkel suggested the wording for boat storage on page 73, Section 15b of the zoning resolution be used. Sandra Erwin agreed with that wording and added it to her motion. Jack Zeigler seconded the revised motion.
Doug Blackburn emphasized the owner should do everything they can to keep the area free of outside storage of older boats, cradles, etc. Mr. Short stated the building will be used to store cradles. The older boats will be moved towards the rear behind the new building until the owner can properly dispose of them.
Bryan Baugh asked for a vote on the motion. All board members voted yes in favor of the use variance as stipulated in the motion. The motion passed.
Alice Root asked when the owners can start working on the site. Sandra Erwin responded a zoning permit cannot be issued until after June 10th. The owner could begin cleaning up the site, relocating the gate, etc. but no construction of the building can start until after that date.
Approval of Minutes
Tim McKenna moved to approve the minutes of the April 8, 2015 Board meeting as mailed. Sandra Erwin seconded the motion. The motion was passed.
Doug Blackburn moved to adjourn the meeting. Jack DeVore seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 p.m.
Bryan Baugh, Chairman Sandra Erwin, Secretary