MINUTES OF THE CATAWBA ISLAND BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
November 11, 2015
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, Doug Blackburn and Tim McKenna, Alternate. Mr. Baugh then introduced Walter Wehenkel, Township Zoning Inspector, and Matt Montowski, Township Trustee. 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. There were none.
Case # 008622 – Phyllis Sours
Chairman Baugh requested Sandra Erwin present the information concerning the first variance request. Mrs. Erwin stated the request is for area variances being requested by Phyllis Sours for property at 3081 N. C Street and also being sub lot 36 of Gem Beach Subdivision #2 in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “A”. The request is to allow area variances from the required setbacks in the front yard (14’ instead of 50’), rear yard (14’ instead of 40’), and allowable lot coverage of 31% instead of 30%. If the variances are approved, an addition will be added onto the existing cottage. All fees have been paid and notifications made. There was no notarized correspondence.
Chairman Baugh asked if any member of the Board had a conflict of interest. No one did. Mr. Baugh asked who was present to address the variance request. No one responded. Mr. Wehenkel noted that Ms. Sours stated in a letter that Michael Prosser would be representing her at the hearing. He suggested Mr. Prosser might be under the impression that the meeting started at 7:30 p.m. He suggested the Board tabled this request for the time being and proceed with the next case. Jack Zeigler moved to table the discussion on case #008622. Jack DeVore seconded the motion. The motion passed.
Case #008624 – Robert Exner
Chairman Baugh requested Sandra Erwin present the information on this request. Mrs. Erwin stated the request is for an area variance being requested by Robert Exner for property at 1310 N. West Catawba Road and also being part of sub lot 19 and sub lots 20 & 21 of Orchard Beach Subdivision in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “R-3”. The request would allow an area variance from the required setback in the front yard (21’ instead of the required 25’) for a corner lot. A bedroom addition will be added onto the existing home if the variance is granted. All fees have been paid, proper notifications made and there is no notarized correspondence.
Chairman Baugh asked if any Board member had a conflict of interest with the case. There were none. Chairman Baugh asked who was present to address the request. Robert Exner introduced himself and was sworn in by Chairman Baugh.
Mr. Exner stated he would like to add a 24’ by 24’ bedroom, bath, and small porch on the south side of his existing home. The lot fronts on Orchard Beach Drive and West Catawba Road. He hired Craig Trick to draw up building plans for the addition. He solicited bids from several contractors and accept the best bid. When he went to get the building permit, he realized he needed a zoning permit and that is when he found out about the variance being required.
As a corner lot, he needs to meet a front setback on both streets. One is the required setback on West Catawba Road and the other one is twenty-five feet on Orchard Beach Drive. To comply with the setback on Orchard Beach would mean reducing the bedroom by four feet. That would not provide the desired space.
Bryan Baugh asked if Craig Trick was Mr. Exner’s neighbor. Mr. Exner stated he lives across the street from him. He is not opposed to the addition and the Orchard Beach Association has approved his plans. Mr. Blackburn asked if Mr. Wehenkel had any documentation concerning that approval. Mr. Wehenkel stated there is an email from Jim Gideon, President of the Association, in the case file.
Mr. Baugh asked about a variance for a patio that was discussed in the past. Mr. Exner stated the patio request was rejected by the Board. He constructed a stoop instead to get down to a concrete pad. Mr. Exner stated he did not want to encroach upon his other lot. Sandra Erwin asked if that was sub lot 21. Mr. Exner stated that was correct. He wanted to keep that available just in case he ever needed to sell it.
Bryan Baugh stated he did not believe the request was substantial. The proposal would not interfere with other structures as it is far enough away. Mrs. Erwin agreed stating the addition is far enough away from the street to create any sight line problems.
Mr. Exner stated when he purchased the lots in 1994, the building lines were different than they are today. He displayed a sketch showing a 20 foot setback line along Orchard Beach Drive. Mr. Wehenkel stated the subdivision plat did indeed show a twenty foot setback as Mr. Exner’s map depicts. However, the corner lot setback requirement of twenty-five feet has been in effect for many years in the Township’s zoning resolution, probably before 1994. The most restrictive requirement must be met.
Jack Zeigler stated the house on the other side of the street has a very similar setback to this proposal and he did not see any issues with the request. Doug Blackburn stated he did not see anything critical, but wondered if a deck was proposed on the back of the addition. Mr. Exner stated the deck is included as part of the 24’ by 24’ addition plans.
Mr. Baugh asked for any additional testimony. There was none. Mr. Baugh closed the hearing to the public. There was no further discussion by Board members. Chairman Baugh requested Sandra Erwin read the Finding of Fact. The Board unanimously voted yes to questions #1, 5, 6, and 7. The Board unanimously voted no to questions #2, 3, and 4.
Mr. Baugh requested a motion on case #008624. Jack Zeigler moved to approve case #008624 as presented. Doug Blackburn seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Case #008622 Continued
Chairman Baugh noted that Michael Prosser was in attendance and requested a motion to remove case #008622 from the table. Jack DeVore so moved. Doug Blackburn seconded the motion. The motion passed.
Chairman Baugh swore in Michael Prosser. Mr. Prosser apologized to the Board for being late. He thought the meeting was next week. Fortunately, he received a text message and was able to get to the meeting.
Mr. Prosser stated Mrs. Sours wants to add onto her cottage that sits on a 60’ by 60’ lot. She has lots of grandkids. She and her husband bought the cottage in 1954. Her husband recently passed away and she is looking at expanding the home so her family can come and visit and enjoy the area. The proposed addition is not substantial as it relates to lot coverage. It is basically going up with a small addition toward the north. The submitted plans will try to utilize the existing concrete block. In some cases, additions have been able to do that, but in others, the block is inadequate to support the weight of a second floor. The construction will mirror the existing footprint except in the area of the addition.
Jack DeVore stated nothing stood out when he viewed the site. Doug Blackburn agreed stating there are similar situations on other lots in the Gem Beach area. Michael Prosser said there are many structures of similar style and construction in the area. Bryan Baugh asked if the property had been surveyed. Mr. Prosser stated it had been. Only one pin was located and the flags are within inches of the lot corners.
Scott Piter was recognized and sworn in by Chairman Baugh. Mr. Piter stated he received a notice in the mail and was curious as to what exactly was being planned. He presently resides on B Street. Chairman Baugh asked Mr. Piter to approach the table and review the site drawings being reviewed by the Board. There was general discussion between Mr. Piter, Mr. Prosser, and the Board members concerning the plans. Mr. Piter asked if any windows were planned in the rear. Mr. Prosser stated there are no windows on the second floor in the rear of the building planned at this time. Mr. Piter stated he had his answers and thanked the Board for the opportunity. Mr. Piter left the meeting.
There being no other comments or testimony, Mr. Baugh closed the hearing to the public. Mr. Blackburn stated he sees no issues with the request as presented. Bryan Baugh agreed stating he felt it would be an improvement to the neighborhood. Going upward makes sense on small lots in Gem Beach.
Chairman Baugh requested Sandra Erwin read the Finding of Fact. The Board unanimously voted yes on questions #1 and 5. They unanimously voted no to questions #2, 3, and 4. The majority voted no on question #6 (1 yes, 4 no) and the majority voted yes on question #7 (1 no and 4 yes).
Chairman Baugh requested a motion on case #008622. Doug Blackburn moved to approve case #008622 as presented. Jack DeVore seconded the motion. The motion passed.
Approval of Minutes of the October 14, 2015 Meeting
Sandra Erwin moved to approve the minutes of the October 14, 2015 meeting as mailed. Jack Zeigler seconded the motion. The motion passed.
Mr. Wehenkel presented a scenario to the Board and requested their interpretation. A property owner has an interior lot that fronts on two streets. One street is in the front of the house and one street is in the rear of the house. The owner would like to erect a fence along the side and back of her house. Mr. Wehenkel’s question is what the height of the fence permitted in the rear of the house would be. Is it 4 feet as if it were located in a front yard or 7 feet as if it was located in a rear yard? There was a general discussion. The Board’s opinion was that it would be four feet along both streets and the owner could request a variance if they wished to go higher.
Matt Montowski stated that Mark Mulligan’s office offered to provide training to the zoning boards. Mr. Montowski asked about the Board’s interest in having training. The Board members were interested and suggested after the holidays in early 2016. Mr. Montowski suggested perhaps prior to a regular meeting. He will check further into the training.
Jack DeVore moved to adjourn the meeting. Sandra Erwin seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at 7:45 p.m.
Bryan Baugh, Chairman Sandra Erwin, Secretary