MINUTES: May 11, 2016
Minutes of the Catawba Island Board of Zoning Appeals
May 11, 2016
William L Bishop
Geena N. Bishop
Chairman Bryan Baugh called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited. Chairman Baugh welcomed everyone and introduced him-self and the Board members. To his left was Sandy Erwin, Secretary, and to his immediate left was Jack Zeigler. Doug Blackburn was to his right along with Tim McKenna, Alternate, who was sitting in for Jack DeVore, the Vice-Chair, who was having some hearing issues tonight. Mr. Baugh stated that Walter Wehenkel, Catawba Island Zoning Inspector was absent, so Patty Cable was taking minutes for us. 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 #008654 – Daniel & Genna Blakley
Chairman Baugh requested Sandra Erwin present the information concerning the first variance case #008654. Mrs. Erwin stated the request is for an area variance being requested by Dan and Geena Blakley for property at 5483 E. Center Lane and also known as lot 15 of Harborside subdivision “A” in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “R-3”. The request is to allow area variances from the required front yard setbacks for a new home on a corner lot with frontage on three streets, as well as an increase in lot coverage above the allowed amount. The required front yard setback of 27 feet average is being reduced to 12 feet, the required second front yard setback of 25 feet is being reduced to 6 feet, the required third front yard setback of 25 feet is being reduced to 13 feet, and the lot coverage is being increased from the allowed amount of 36% to 52%. A new home is being planned to replace an old home located on the house lot. Owners of record are Daniel and Geena Blakley. 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. Mrs. Geena Blakley introduced herself and was sworn in by Chairman Baugh.
Mrs. Blakley began by stating that she and her husband were moving here and about to retire from South Carolina, but need more space. Chairman Baugh asked if she had a drawing for the Board. Mrs. Blakley presented a large preliminary drawing for the Board to see. Board members had drawings, but commented that there was no orientation of how the home would sit on the lot. Tim McKenna determined that the darkened line on the drawing was for the proposed home. Doug Blackburn stated the lot is 45 feet by 95 feet. Tim McKenna asked if any of the neighbors had questioned the addition. Mrs. Blakley stated that all the neighbors had given their blessing. Jack Zeigler asked if there was anything in writing. Sandy Erwin stated there was no correspondence.
Sandy Erwin described the new part and how the house was located, the front, the harbor side drive, where the road was, and questioned if it was one (1) floor. Mrs. Blakley confirmed that it was. Bryan Baugh stated that it was currently 1 level. Sandy asked if the shed in the back would be gone. Mrs. Blakley said the shed would be gone. Jack Zeigler said the garage is on the road side.
Bryan Baugh asked how long the Blakely’s had owned the current home. Mrs. Blakley stated two (2) years. Chairman Baugh asked if they purchased the home with the intention of rebuilding or if this is an afterthought. Mrs. Blakley responded that they had not planned to retire here, but then both wanted to come back here to retire. This is home.
Bryan Baugh asked about the square footage of the home. Doug Blackburn stated it is 2240 square feet including the deck. Jack Zeigler added that is including the garage, too.
Bryan asked about the parking, other than the garage, stating that where the buildings are create a tight spot. Mrs. Blakley said where her car was parked today was one spot, along with the garage, and maybe some space in the back. She stated that they don’t have a bucket full of parking space. Bryan Baugh stated it’s pretty tight for parking. Sandy asked about a notation on the drawing. Jack Zeigler said that was for the crawl space access. Sandy asked if it counted as an easement. She only has 5 feet in between. Jack asked if the crawl space door was above ground. Mrs. Blakley said it just marked where you entered under the house for the crawl space; it doesn’t come out or anything. It’s just a door where you can access the crawl space, but not the house. Jack Zeigler asked if there were steps coming down for the crawl space. Mrs. Blakley stated the only steps are in the garage coming down from the house. This notation was just marking where the crawl space access is.
Chairman Baugh asked about any other entrances to the home and Mrs. Blakley stated there would be a man-door in the garage. Chairman Baugh asked if that was ground level and Mrs. Blakley confirmed. She stated there would also be the doors off the front.
Chairman Baugh asked if the deck is going to be elevated or ground level. Mrs. Blakley stated either/or, it depends. Chairman Baugh asked if it (the deck) was included in the lot coverage. Jack Zeigler stated it was, 200 square feet, 10 x 20, they assumed it was a raised deck, because they have the pilings there for the front wall. Chairman Baugh stated that anything over 6” is counted as coverage. Jack Zeigler stated the deck is not enclosed. Doug Blackburn said he wasn’t sure what height it is now, but if the deck is 6” or less the lot coverage would be 47.7%. Sandy Erwin asked if he meant at this height. Doug said if it stays at ground level it would get the coverage out of the 50’s, and that would reduce the amount requested for lot coverage. Jack Zeigler said it appears to have a step up. Sandy Erwin said it appears there are two steps. Jack Zeigler asked if the steps were included on the front of the deck in the coverage. Mrs. Blakley stated there was only one (1) step. Jack Zeigler said the drawing is showing two steps on the front elevation, but doesn’t show the steps on the side view. Mrs. Blakley said there is only one (1) step. Sandy Erwin stated that if they lowered it to ground level it would be even better. She asked Mrs. Blakley if it mattered if the deck is lowered to ground level. Mrs. Blakley stated that is certainly a possibility. Jack Zeigler stated the steps would add another 8 inches, 8- 10 inches of step in the coverage.
Chairman Baugh asked Mrs. Blakley if she understood what the board’s concern is. The concern is the amount of coverage you are asking for. The allowable is 36%, we understand you have a substandard lot, however you are asking for quite a bit more coverage than is allowed, almost over half of the lot. Mrs. Blakley stated again, these are preliminary drawings.
Chairman Baugh explained that it is not the board’s function to negotiate with an applicant, but we are allowed to offer suggestions to help the applicant and the board in making a decision.
Doug Blackburn reminded them, that if the drawing is only preliminary and the variance is granted, they must stay within those footprints. Mrs. Blakley said she understood that. Doug Blackburn stated you can be smaller, or whatever, but not bigger. Tim McKenna asked if the patio is covered.
Chairman Baugh reiterated what Tim McKenna asked about the patio being covered, whether raised or not, if it is covered, you increase the amount of lot coverage. Mrs. Blakley stated, “No, it will look like what we have there now, it’s just somewhere to put a chair.”
Bryan Baugh asked about taking off the 200 square feet of deck, to what would that reduce the lot coverage. Doug responded 47.7%
He asked if there were any other questions.
Mike Owens introduced himself, and was sworn in. In answer to Jack Zeigler’s question about the neighbors, Mr. Owens stated they were neighbors and that the Blakley’s had been very kind and shared the plans to the neighbors’ way in advance. Mr. Owens said that the proposed house is in harmony with the neighborhood, square footage, overage, etc., and they advocate for this approval. We welcome the fact that they want to do it. I’m speaking for five or six neighbors that sent me here to say that. Chairman Baugh asked where he lived in respect to the Blakleys. Mr. Owens stated that he is adjacent lot to the east, or southeast, and across the street. Most houses that were enhanced down here have exceeded the 36%; it is very hard to build a house here without exceeding that. I think what they are asking is very reasonable.
Dave Bishop, who owns the property to the south, introduced himself and was sworn in. He stated that he owns the property to the south, directly across the street. He stated that he saw no problem, or issues. He did get a letter.
Chairman Baugh thanked everyone and then closed the floor to testimony.
Doug Blackburn stated that was a lot of coverage, but it if it’s not going to be enclosed then its fine. Tim McKenna stated that it fit in with the neighborhood, and he felt that this was an improvement. Chairman Baugh agreed that 47% is far better than the 52%. 52% is substantial. Jack Zeigler agreed. Sandy Erwin stated that it’s the deck that raises it from 47% to the 52%. If we stipulate that it can never be enclosed we have solved the problem, technically. If they put a roof over it then it is a true 52%. Bryan agreed, but said the coverage is still a concern and would have to be included if over 6 inches. Sandy stated that if it is open all the time she feels better about that. Chairman Baugh stated that his concern is for governmental services, especially fire vehicles; it’s pretty tight in there. That concern is about maneuvering a fire truck. Sandy stated the homes are pretty close. Jack Zeigler agreed that the coverage was his major concern. It certainly is a nice addition to the neighborhood, but a lot of coverage. He stated that he is in favor of asking that the deck be at ground level and that would cut it back on the percentage, reducing it from 52%. Also, that it never be covered, the way it is going in now with the pilings it could carry some weight and someone could put a roof there at a later date. Jack stated that other than that he was fine with it, he had no problem with the set-backs.
Sandy read the finding of fact. There was agreement with the exception of item four (4) services; where Chairman Baugh again expressed concern for the fire department emergency vehicles, and item six (6) other methods, where Doug Blackburn stated they could have built up, Jack Zeigler agreed as well.
Chairman Baugh asked for a motion to approve or deny the request for application for case #008654. Jack Zeigler made a motion to approve the variance at 47.7% with the stipulation that the deck is to be ground level and no coverage allowed. Sandy Erwin seconded, all voted in agreement. Variance #008654 was approved.
Case #008661 – John Reardon
Chairman Baugh asked that Sandra Erwin present the information for the next case, #008661. Mrs. Erwin stated the request is for an area variance being requested by John Reardon and Mary Dutton for property at 5325 E. Port Drive and also known as Lot 140 of Johnson’s Landing, subdivision “B” in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “R-3”. Said request is to allow an area variance from the front yard setback on the channel to permit an addition (8x20 feet) to the home on the channel side. The required front yard setback of 29.5 feet (average) is being reduced to 25 feet. An additional area will be added to the existing sunroom. 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. John Reardon introduced himself and was sworn in.
John stated that their cottage is small, only 600 square feet, they love the area. The porch we have now, a sort of semi 3-season room is only 8 feet deep. It’s fine for the two of them, but when company is there it is too small. They would like to move the front wall out 8 feet, and make it a little more live-able for people. John Reardon stated that he did have a drawing; he used the form that was given them. The contractor is someone who has done a lot of work in the area. In fact he got the contractors name from the neighbor who lives 4 doors down from them. He’s very reputable.
Chairman Baugh asked if they are just going to take what they have now and move it out 8 feet, it will be the same level, and same roof. John Reardon said it is one level and would extend out. They plan to use the same roof, it’s a metal roof and they will just extend it out. They think it will add a lot of value. Chairman Baugh reiterated that it was one level with the same roof line. John Reardon stated it was the metal roof, it would be contiguous. He said that he had the blessing of the neighbors to each side. The one neighbor was going to be here, but is having a pacemaker implanted.
Chairman Baugh asked again which neighbor was that, and Mr. Reardon stated it was Dave, the neighbor to the west. Mr. Reardon stated the neighbors to the east are Ray and Jean Hall. To the west is Dave Arron.
Chairman Baugh stated that was one thing that stuck out to him was that it was going to stick out quite a bit further than their line of sight. From their back patio it would reduce their line of site for the one neighbor and Bryan asked if that neighbor was ok with that. John Reardon said that he knows it stick out, four (4) feet, but the neighbor is ok with that. Right now their patio sticks out four (4) feet out past the Reardon’s, and with the addition the Reardon patio would stick out the four (4) feet. They were over and walked around both properties just to see how much he is going to lose, what all would be affected.
Jack Zeigler stated that the view for 5317 would be blocked.
Tim McKenna stated other homes have extended out closer to the channel too.
Chairman Baugh stated that in looking at the drawing and described how the one sticks out 4 feet more now, but the change to the Reardon property will now be four (4) feet in front of the neighbor to the west.
One neighbor is now twelve (12) feet from the channel.
Jack asked if he was extending his deck out as well. Not the 3-season room, but the deck itself. Mr. Reardon said not at this moment. Jack stated that the drawing shows it coming all the way to the end of the property line? It’s not an issue or coverage issue, he was just asking. John Reardon said they were considering that, but not at this time.
Mr. Reardon stated they were well below the 36%, too.
Finding of Fact
Sandy read the finding of fact. There was agreement with all except item six (6), where Doug Blackburn felt there were other alternatives, as did Jack Zeigler.
Chairman Baugh asked for a motion to approve or deny application #008661. Doug Blackburn moved to approve application #008661 as written. Tim M Kenna seconded the motion. All voted in favor of Case #00861. Variance granted.
Case #008663 – Tina Sopar Smee
Chairman Baugh asked Sandra Erwin read the next case. Mrs. Erwin stated the request is for an area variance #008663, being requested by Tina Sopar Smee for property at 2811 Coho Drive, and also known as Lot 51 of Harbor Island Subdivision, Plat Three, and also being known as Unit 2813 Harbor Island Condominium No.(3) Three in Catawba Island Township. The property is zoned “R-3”. Said request is to allow an area variance from the required second front yard setback on a corner lot with frontage on two streets. The required second front yard setback of 25 feet is being reduced to 9 feet 3 inches. A screened porch and a patio with pergola are proposed. All fees have been paid and there is no written correspondence.
Chairman Baugh asked if there was any conflict of interest. There was none. He asked who was here to represent this case.
David Sabol introduced himself and was sworn in. The owners are sisters, Kim Stopar Warton and Tina Stopar Smee, and their father built the original residence. They are looking at adding a screened in porch where the existing concrete pad sits at the present time. They had a survey done to determine what needed to be done with regard to the various setbacks. This drawing reflects the requested variance to have a screened porch that is 12 feet 8 inches by 22 feet with an adjourning stamped concrete pad with a pergola on it. He presented a larger scaled drawing. David Sabol stated the existing house sits here, and further reflected that portions of the existing house do not comply with the 25 foot setback. Chairman Baugh confirmed the pergola location.
David Sabol highlighted the site elevation and the conforming of the new design to the original home and the existing stone and roof pitch.
Chairman Baugh asked if anyone had any questions concerning the drawings. He then stated that he had difficulty finding the house, other board members agreed that it was difficult to find. Yes, the flags were there was no address posted, but the owner needs to put a house number on the house.
Sandy Erwin asked if there was a variance to the original house. David Sabol stated that he was not aware of any prior variance. He didn’t think the owners were aware of any variance, as they didn’t have any survey information until last year. They had been considering this addition for some times now. Sandy Erwin stated that the file did not reflect any variance for setbacks. Members felt the encroachment was irrelevant at this time. Chairman Baugh asked if setback from the channel side was the one that was over. David Sabol said it was on the harbor side and he pointed to where it encroached a little on the corner on the harbor or causeway side. It is an irregular shaped lot. Bryan added that it was good that they went ahead and had a survey done, a lot of applicants come in without one, and this removes doubt for the zoning board.
With no further questions Chairman Baugh closed discussion from the floor and the board deliberated amongst themselves. The HOA has approved this. Jack Zeigler and Doug Brown felt it was too close to the causeway. It could be a problem. Chairman Baugh stated that he thought it was far enough off the road that it wouldn’t bother anything, but did mention the irrigation valve box that was there.
Finding of Fact
Sandy read the finding of fact and all were in agreement with the exception of item six (6), where Tim McKenna indicated that other options might work.
Chairman Baugh asked for a motion to approve or deny Case #008663. Tim McKenna moved to approve Case# 008663 as presented. Doug Blackburn seconded the motion. All voted in favor of the motion and approved the variance request #008663.
Approval of the January 13, 2016 Minutes
Tim McKenna moved to approve the January 13, 2016, Board of Zoning Appeal Meeting Minutes as mailed. Jack Zeigler seconded the motion. Chairman Baugh asked for a Roll call vote. Doug Blackburn abstained. All other member voted in favor. The January 13, 2016 minutes were approved.
Matt passed out some information to the board members. He addressed the meeting coming up on Monday, May 16, and asked that the BZA read over the information on the C-2 zoning district, as well as any supplemental information that applies. John Coppeler will be representing Walter. Matt stated that the Trustees will not be in attendance at the meeting on Monday.
There was a question from the audience regarding the attendance of Trustee Montowski at the BZA meeting, scheduled Monday, May 16, 2016 on the Appeal of the Zoning Inspector’s decision. Bryan Baugh stated that Trustee Montowski oversees the Zoning, but is not required at any meeting, and his attendance could be construed as a conflict of interest. Doug Blackburn stated that the Board makes their decision based on the facts, regardless of who is present.
Jack Zeigler made a motion to adjourn, Tim McKenna seconded. Meeting adjourned at 8:34 p.m.
Bryan Baugh, Chairman Sandra Erwin, Secretary