BOARD OF ZONING AND BUILDING APPEALS
August 12, 2004
Members Present: Don Dean, Bill Heim (Chair), Trudy Knox
Members Absent: Amber Mitchell, Tym Tyler (Vice Chair)
Also Present: Chris Strayer, Village Planner
Visitors Present: Mark Clapsaddle, Clarke and SaraJean Wilhelm, Edith Schories, Linda Banid, Lillian Merick, Marion Hollingsworth, Jack McClain, Tim Riffle, Joseph Disterle, Nick and Ruth Fletcher, Pat Davis, Marilyn Jung, John Thornborough, Doug Plunkett, Jan Derr, Barb Lucier
Citizens' Comments: None
Swearing in: The Chair explained the process for the upcoming hearing and swore in all those who wished to speak during the evening.
Mark Clapsadle (Deiterle), 447 West College St. - Rear Yard Setback
The applicant wishes to build a 900 sq.ft. addition on the east. The rear property line angles across the lot, and the addition will cut into the setback by 15', whereas the minimum is 40'.
Mr. Clapsadle, architect, said the goals are (1) to meet the needs of the client and (2) enhance the architecture of the home. Lot coverage is within restrictions; however, we do encroach 13.5' into the one corner of the yard. The nature of the lot, being a square and on the corner, preclude the applicant from staying within code because the buildable area is eaten up by these requirements. The proposed area is heavily wooded and much is hidden behind trees. To build with code would require removal of several trees, magnolia, tall pines. The house to the east sits close to its property line. He is asking for a two-car garage with one 12' door. Mr. Clapsadle said there are ways to address the addition within the code, but that would be less architecturally pleasing. If we need to stay within the setback, it might need to be a three-story structure.
The group talked about lot coverage, and Mr. Strayer said the deck does not need to be included as coverage. Lots do not count for lot coverage but do count for setbacks in this zoning area. The existing driveway will remain.
In answer to a question by Mr. Dean, Mr. Strayer said most of the houses on College Street were built well before the zoning code was made so a lot are in the setback.
SaraJean Wilhelm said this project will double the covered area, and even if this were within parameters, this is a massive structure. We live on a very narrow street, and there is always the problem of parking and traffic. She does not know where construction trucks would park, The project will affect the general welfare of the neighborhood.
Marion Hollingsworth said this is a well-established neighborhood, and it seems to him this is completely out of character with the area and he feels sympathetic for the people on College Street and the owner of the lot to the back, which would have the deck looming. He is opposed to the application.
Pat Davis lives across the street and four years ago they wanted to build a new garage and came to BZBA and were not allowed to vary 1' from footprint. Now the applicant wants to put a huge addition right across the street. Parking is a problem. The Dieterles are wonderfut people, but plans should be modified to be more in keeping with the neighborhood.
Marilyn Jung is astounded to hear the architect say it's only a garage and not livable space. We lived in that house comfortably and even added a rental room upstairs. She does not understand why he must build such a massive structure for a two-car garage and passageway. The house is charming the size it is.
Doug Plunkett, four houses east, has no objection.
Mr. Dieterle said there will be a family room, and the garage is parallel to the basement. He does not want to disrupt the magnolia tree. Regarding the parking issue, it's a big driveway. Construction vehicles can park there; there will be construction vehicles no matter how big the addition is. Construction should last 4-6 months. He does not want to damage the neighborhood, and the complaints seem to center around the massiveness. The variance he is asking for is 'unvisible' from the street. To accomplish this without a variance, it would have to go up another story. He loves the house and paid a lot of money for an architect and now that he is ready, people say he does not need more space, but it's his house and he should be able to improve it.
MS. KNOX MOVED TO DENY THE APPLICATION; MR. HEIM SECONDED, AND MOTION WAS CALLED BY ROLL CALL: Ms. Knox, Yes; Mr. Dean, No; Mr. Heim, Yes.
Since a motion to deny does not pass with 2 Yeses, the application is continued.
MS. KNOX MOVED TO CONTINUE; MR. DEAN SECONDED, AND MOTION WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
Mark Clalpsadle (Fletcher), 86 Fairview Avenue - Height Variance
The applicant wishes a variance from the maximum height of 30' in keeping with a lot of the better homes in the neighborhood. The ground plan is lower than other homes, so it will be compatible.
Mr. Heim asked whether the building will be raised and Mr. Clapsadle said they want it to look good and will raise it as little as they can. They will be less than 2' above ground and 1' to floor joists to make the height 36'.
MR. DEAN MOVED TO APPROVE APPLICATION AS SUBMITTED. MS. KNOX SECONDED, AND MOTION WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
MR. DEAN APPLIED THE CRITERIA TO THE APPLICATION:
A. That special circumstances or conditions exist which are peculiar to the land or structure(s) involved and which are not applicable to other lands or structures in the same zoning district. There are no special circumstances that would create a special situation.
B. That a literal interpretation of the provisions of this Zoning Ordinance would deprive the applicants of rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same zoning district under the provisions of this Ordinance. It would deprive because others on the street exceed 30' high. The one with the fence appears to be about 35' and the yellow house. Based on those houses, the criteria would meet the neighbors' homes and the neighborhood.
C. That the special conditions and circumstances do not result from the actions of the applicant. N/A
D. That the granting the variance will not confer on the applicant any undue privilege that is denied by this Ordinance to other lands or structures in the same zoning district. There are other homes violating the code.
E. That the granting of the variance will in no other manner adversely affect the health, safety, and general welfare of the persons residing or working within the posed variance. There are no health or safety concerns involved. This is a very large lot and the house in the middle would not look too large.
MS. KNOX MOVED TO ACCEPT THE FINDING OF FACT FOR THE FLETCHER APPLUICATION. MR. SEAN SECONDED, AND IT WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
Jack Thornborough, 233 S. Mulberry Street - Side and Rear Setbacks
Mr. Strayer said that because of a reexamination of the survey, the applicant has changed plans to have the driveway exit onto Mulberry Street instead of Maple. Other houses in the neighborhood violate the maximum setbacks. The applicant provided a history of the house and described his plans for a massive renovation. He wants to keep the garage as far north as he can so as not to cover up the bay window and improve the view from the window, from the apartments to his new garage. :Putting the garage in the northwest corner would require a 3' side setback.
Mr. Heim asked the purpose of a breezeway and was told that the code requires connection of buildings when they are that close.
Lillian Merrick is pleased that the ugly home next door is to be remodeled, but she distributed a letter saying 3' setback would not leave her enough room for maintenance or comfortable landscape procedures and wishes the BZBA to uphold the ordinance.
In support of Ms. Merrick, Edith Schories echoed Ms. Merrick's comments and said a variance would expose the neighbor to fumes, dust and noise. Ms. Merrick's bay window will not give her much of a view with a new garage so close by.
Jean Mason from across the street said she is thrilled the property will be fixed up, but they are concerned about the amount of space between Ms. Merrick's house and the new structure. Has consideration been given to a single-car garage? She had to do that in order not to encroach.
Mr. Dean asked if the applicant had to choose between the rear setback and side setback which one would he choose, and Mr. Thornborough said rear and side are important for him to protect the bay window. He said Ms. Merrick is already encroaching by being 5' from the lot line.
Ms. Knox replied that there's a difference between what is grandfathered in and what's new. Mr. Thornborough said he cannot put up a $200,000 house without a two-car garage. It would then go back to being a two-house rental. Also, all the neighbors are close together. Mr. Heim reminded him that we have to address the code.
MS. KNOX MOVED TO DISALLOW THE APPLICATION. MR. DEAN SECONDED. AND A ROLL CALL VOTE RESPONDED: MS. KNOX, YES; MR. DEAN, NO; MR. HEIM, YES.
Again, the application must be carried over until the next meeting when more members are present:
MR. DEAN MOVED TO CARRY OVER UNTIL NEXT MEETING. MS. KNOX SECONDED, AND MOTION WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
The Law Director provided helpful advice to the members regarding the necessity to be consistent and realize there is no right answer to this application. You need to search for alternatives if you can and look for practical difficulties. In this case the applicant could probably move the garage over a couple of feet. There is no practical difficulty to justify that 6' encroachment. Mr. Heim noted that we should not continue mistakes of the past.
MS. KNOX MOVED TO APPROVE APPLICATION 04-048 AND FINDING OF FACT FOR SIDE AND REAR SETBACK VARIANCES AS PRESENTED AS RELEVANT TO Nos. B,D, AND E ABOVE. MR. DEAN SECONDED, AND IT WAS UANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
Minutes of May 13, 2004: MR. DEAN MOVED TO APPROVE MINUTES AS PRESENTED; MS. KNOX SECONDED, AND MOTION WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
Next Meetings: September 9 and October 14
Adjournment: 8:45 p.m.