Minutes: September 8th, 2010

Catawba Island Township Board of Zoning Appeals

September 8, 2010

The regular meeting of the Catawba Island Township Board of Zoning Appeals was called to order by Chairman Dale VanLerberghe at 7:30 in the conference room. Present were Bryan Baugh, Jack DeVore, Sandra Erwin, Jack Zeigler, Tom Anslow, Pat Cerny, Matt Montowski, Jeanette Colbert, Thomas Rex, and Tom Jagucki.

The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the introduction of Board members and a brief overview of the meeting proceedings.

Case # 543576 – Thomas W. Rex – 4371 Ledge, Catawba Cliffs – Zoning R-1
The request is for an area variance for a rear yard setback of 25 feet instead of the required 35 feet in the R-1 District to build a new home with the dining area and deck encroaching into the rear setback.

Tom Rex stated they are anxious to get started on the project and sincerely want to be a part of the community. Tom Rex said he believes the new home will have an overwhelmingly positive effect on the neighborhood. He said the area in question will be no more than 30 feet of a 65 feet width in the back of the house, 20 feet of that being just the deck area. Tom Rex stated the area that is encroached upon is less than two percent of the entire lot and only six percent of the entire setback. He said he believes this is not a large area that would cause any problem and stated it would be tastefully done by an excellent builder. Tom Rex then offered renderings of the proposed home.

Jeanette Colbert stated she was a property owner adjacent to the rear setback. Jeanette Colbert submitted a letter to the Board concerning the case. Pat Cerny read the following letter:
In reference to the letter I received from Pat Cerny, Zoning Inspector, on the request for an area variance from Thomas W. Rex. I oppose the said request for rear yard setback of 25 feet instead of the required 35 feet in the R-1 District at 4371 Ledge, Catawba Cliffs, to build a new home with the dining area and deck encroaching into the rear setback. I own
the land adjacent to the rear setback at 4382 E. Link Road, Catawba Cliffs, Port Clinton.

I have future plans for the vacant land that is adjacent to the rear setback. The vacant land is marketable as a buildable lot.

In conclusion, I am asking the Board to deny this request for the rear yard setback of 25 feet instead of the required 35 feet. Sincerely Jeanette Colbert

Dale VanLerberghe asked Jeanette Colbert what the Lot number was for her property at 4382 E. Link Road. She was not sure of the Lot number. Tom Rex presented a map outlining the Lot numbers and it was concluded Jeanette Colbert owned Lots 311, 312, 313, and 314. Jeanette Colbert said another one of her concerns was the deck of the proposed home was going to be only about 35 feet from her garage and if there were a fire on the deck her house might also catch fire.

Jack DeVore asked if there were any easements or right-of-ways back in that area for the power lines. Jeanette Colbert stated there was a utility easement because they come and cut the trees occasionally. She also said there is a power line right behind her house.

Bryan Baugh asked Tom Rex if the Catawba Cliffs Association approved his plans. Tom Rex replied yes his plans were approved by the association and stated he was told that the Catawba Cliffs Association has no rear yard setbacks, only front and side yard setbacks.

Jack DeVore asked Tom Rex if an architect designed the home for him. Tom Rex stated their builder designed the home for them. Jack DeVore asked Tom Rex if he gave the builder the zoning requirements. Tom Rex said he told the builder there was a potential problem with the rear yard setback.

Jack Zeigler asked Tom Rex if he had looked at any other options to the house. Jack Zeigler said there is plenty of side yard setback and potential to make architectural changes. Tom Rex stated that would require the builder to change what he usually does. Jack Zeigler asked Tom Rex if the home was a standard built house for the builder. Tom Rex stated his builder had about a half dozen homes and said the proposed design is the builder’s set up and you are allowed to make changes internally.

Tom Anslow asked Tom Rex what the elevation was for the proposed deck. Tom Rex replied ground level. Tom Anslow asked ground level or above ground. Tom Rex stated just above ground level. He said there would be a sliding door off the dining area opening to the deck and maybe a step down. Dale VanLerberghe asked if the deck would be resting on the ground or if there would be a foundation under the deck. Tom Rex replied no there would not be a foundation under the deck and he was not sure if there would be a step from the deck onto the ground. He said he thought there might be.

Dale VanLerberghe said a couple of concerns he always has when there is a request before the Board is that whenever the case is decided if one of the property owners adjacent or very close to the project is opposed that they are still good neighbors when the project is completed. He acknowledged that perhaps that should not be a concern as a Board member but it is to him as an individual.

Dale VanLerberghe said he also has very strong opinions about the adjacent property owners who may be affected because they purchased their home knowing what the structures were close to their property and what was permitted. He said in the event a Zoning Board grants a variance that encroaches upon what was known to be the rule, the adjacent property owners could become very upset. Dale VanLerberghe said that someone who is interested in a nearby property after a project is completed will see the new structure and decide accordingly whether or not they want to purchase the property.

Jack DeVore asked Jeanette Colbert if her home was one of the older homes in the neighborhood. Jeanette Colbert replied her house was built in 1950. Jack DeVore stated that was before Zoning went into affect and therefore why the garage is located so close to the Lot line.

Tom Anslow said he is not normally in favor of encroaching on the Lot line but when he reviewed the site he noticed the neighbor’s home to the left was right at the same depth, within one foot, that Mr. Rex is requesting.

Tom Jagucki, a neighboring property owner, asked if a new home currently being built in the Cliffs needed a variance. Pat Cerny, Zoning Inspector, said the people building the home considered applying for a variance and then they redesigned their home so they no longer needed a variance. Tom Jagucki stated when he stepped off the project it appeared to him the distance of that house off the property line is equal to what Tom Rex is asking for in this variance.

Tom Jagucki said in his opinion he thought the home would help the community, atmosphere, and the area. He said he did not see 10 feet as being a problem and there would still be 25 feet left. Tom Jagucki said if someone was to purchase the lot behind the property and they also got a variance, there would still be 50 feet between structures and it would be wide enough for fire trucks and tree trimming equipment.

Tom Jagucki also said an opportunity to have a new house in that location is much more appealing than the empty lot that is grown over and harbors rodents and other bothersome animals he has to listen to and smell throughout the evening.

Dale VanLerberghe closed the discussion to the public.

Tom Anslow asked Tom Rex who placed the flags. Tom Rex replied he tried despite the walking tool he had malfunctioned as he tried to use it. Tom Anslow also asked Tom Rex if the survey was completed recently. Tom Rex said the survey was completed when they purchased the lot this past winter. He said the pins and stakes on the corners were from the surveyor when they purchased the lot. Tom Rex said the more recent flags on the Lot were his attempts to try and show where the home would sit on the property.

Bryan Baugh reviewed the “Finding of Fact”. He said in his opinion there are other options for putting a house on the Lot. Bryan Baugh said he does not believe the variance is substantial. He said one neighbor has no objection and one that does which could lead to potential problems or hardship for the adjoining property owner. Bryan Baugh said he does not believe any governmental services would be adversely affected. He said the property owner admits he purchased the lot with the knowledge of zoning restrictions. Bryan Baugh said he does not know that substantial justice would be done by granting the request.

Jack Zeigler asked Tom Rex if he or his architect has looked at or given any thought to some other layout of that property. Tom Rex replied the current design is what he does and what he is good at building. Jack Zeigler said the reason he asks is because there is so much side yard capability. Jack Zeigler said looking at the garage as an example, it could be put to the side with a side entry if you desired doing that and you could take away the need for the setback.

Dale VanLerberghe asked Jeanette Colbert if the variance were granted, at 10 feet closer, if she believed it would hinder the potential sale of her Lot. Jeanette Colbert replied it could because there would not be much green space between the Lots.

Bryan Baugh made a motion to approve Case #543576 as presented. Jack DeVore seconded the motion. Bryan Baugh, no; Jack DeVore, no; Tom Anslow, no; and Jack Zeigler, no. Case #543576 was denied.

Bryan Baugh made a motion to approve the August 11, 2010 meeting minutes as presented. Jack Zeigler seconded the motion. Bryan Baugh, yes; Jack Zeigler, yes; Tom Anslow, abstain; Jack DeVore, yes; and Dale VanLerberghe, yes. Motion approved.

Jack DeVore made a motion to adjourn the meeting seconded by Jack Zeigler. The motion was carried unanimously. Meeting adjourned.

Dale VanLerberghe, Chairman