Granville Community Calendar

BZBA 7/31/02

BOARD OF ZONING AND BUILDING APPEALS July 31, 2002 Amended Minutes

Members Present: Trudy Knox, Lon Herman (Vice Chair), Greg Sharkey, Eric Stewart (Chair) Members Absent: Ashlin Caravana Also Present: Seth Dorman, Village Planner Visitors Present: Tim Riffle, Dan Rogers, Ned Roberts, Shirley Maxwell, Sarah & Larry Scheiderer, Jim R. Cooper, Amy Brunn, Marge Hendy, Jodi Schmidt, Wendy & Roger Flowers, Troy and Carla Reed Citizens’ Comments: None Swearing In: The Chair swore in all those who wished to speak during the evening.

Old Business:

Dan Rogers, 210 East Maple Street – Side and Rear Yard Setback Variances

 The application was tabled pending reports of an agreement with the Schmidts on landscaping plans. At the last meeting of the BZBA, Bernadita Llanos agreed with landscape plans on her side. Attorney Jim Cooper reported that there is an agreement with the Schmidts, neighbors on the east side (former home of Mr. and Mrs. Coombs). Ms. Schmidt said the original landscape plan went from the corner of their house to the end of the Rogers’ garage, and they figured enough trees and shrubs to fill that space. Dan has paid the Schmidts the money to complete the landscaping. Six-foot arborvitae will be used for the hedge, and 6-8’ pine trees will be added. They are not going to do anything right away but will wait until spring and until the garage is finished.

MR. HERMAN MOVED TO REMOVE THE APPLICATION FROM THE TABLE. MS. KNOX SECONDED, AND THE MOTION WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.

MR. SHARKEY MOVED THAT THE APPLICATION FOR VARIANCES BE APPROVED. MR. HERMAN SECONDED, AND THE MOTION WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.

 Minor changes to the existing Finding of Fact drafted after the May 9th meeting were agreed upon for use as the Finding of Fact for this decision, and Mr. Dorman will make those revisions.

Troy & Carla Reed, 123 Wildwood Drive - Side and Rear Yard Setback Variances

 {Ms. Knox recused herself from this hearing.}

 At the last meeting, since Mr. Reed was not present, the BZBA tabled the application, but allowed the neighbors to comment on the application. The proposal is for a shed building with portico that would be used at first as a playhouse for the applicants’ children. A 10’ variance on south side and 6.5’ variance in the rear would be required. Troy Reed said something should be said about the last meeting. He did not think it was right for the BZBA to take testimony when they were not present. Mr. Reed suggested that assumptions were made about the project. They feel that the BZBA heard all of these negative comments and have already formed opinions on the proposal based on that. They listened to the tape of the meeting, and it seemed people were making up their minds prematurely. A lot of the comments had nothing to do with this plan. They put the drain in three years ago to stop water from going onto the neighbor’s property. They did not do anything improperly. The Hendys complain that this plan will make the long-term erosion worse. The Sauers brought up an expired covenant and suggested I might use the playhouse as an office. Mr. Reed said a shed is a permitted use, but in this case variances are needed. In the proposed location they would not have to cut down the buckeye tree or Rose of Sharon. The shed will be open underneath so water will roll down the hill and have no effect on erosion. The drain tile along the fence is left over from his project three years ago because he did not know what to do with it. Nothing is planned with tile at this time. He could have put the shed in without permission. If he did not need a variance, he could have put it in without consulting them. They tried to be considerate about where to put it so it would be concealed. He said Diane Trucker complained, but she has a shed on her property. The Reeds heard negative comments on the tape from people who don’t even know them. They considered putting up a privacy fence, but didn’t really want to do that. They planed to screen it from the street with plantings. He spoke with Rick Watts and Troy Brunn and they didn’t seem opposed to the plan. At the meeting Ms. Watts complained about losing her view, but her view is close everywhere, and in about two years, the hemlock tree will shield it anyway. He concluded by saying this is a nice neighborhood and this project will be nice too. Mr. Sharkey asked whether he has spoken with the neighbors, specifically about the view before or after you went away. Mr. Reed told him he spoke to Troy Brunn and Rick Watts after he returned. Mr. Stewart asked whether Mr. Reed anticipated negative comments, and Mr. Reed said the neighbors don’t like him. He did not think it would be worth it to talk to them. Ms. Reed noted that they want their privacy and to be able to sit outdoors. So they put up screening and the neighbors were offended by that. Mr. Stewart said, speaking about the view, some of the neighbors thought that while this location is good for the Reeds, it is not great for those neighbors. Mr. Reed noted that the person who made that comment has never been in his house and looked out toward the yard. Mrs. Reed noted that they will indeed be able to see the shed. Screening from the neighbor’s property will be done. It is not sitting out in the open. On the Brunn side, they have big trees behind there, and the Scheiderers have shrubbery too. They did not put in the proposal that they are going to put in bushes, but they are planning to do so. If they cut down the trees and locate it in a location that meets the code, everyone will see the shed. They did not want to disrupt everything in the yard. The best location is where they decided to put it. It balanced the lot on the slope. It’s a nice building. They will stain it the same color as the house trim. Sally Scheiderer said she came to the last meeting because they were notified and they made comments. Nobody told them landscaping would be done. Comments were not made negatively; they were just voicing their opinions. She does not think the neighborhood can accommodate a building of that size and fears it would set a precedent. Although they do have the right to put it in there, she would not like to see it where it is drawn on the plan. Mr. Reed said they were on vacation and there was a miscommunication between him and Mr. Dorman as to whether he needed to be there. Amy Brunn thought the previous meeting was not negative, but things said tonight were negative. The shed would be on a slope, with the front 9 ½’ high and the back 3’ or so higher. Mrs. Reed said there are huge pine trees there to screen it. Mrs. Brunn said Mr. Brunn went to talk to Mr. Reed, who said if the fire department has a problem, we need to deal with it, but this is about the shed. The neighbors want to keep the area nice looking. Sally Scheiderer said the drain was brought up because the pipe has lain there 2-3 years but she has a problem with their yard eroding away and it would be worse with a drain. There was nothing in the site plan about a drainpipe. But that is not a concern for this meeting. Mr. Stewart is hearing that the objections are that it is either too large or too high a structure to put within the setback and that even if the Reeds screen it to the hilt as they are suggesting tonight, it is still a problem, we need to be clear about the objections. Sally Scheiderer added the concern about setting a precedent and about location. Mr. Stewart asked about other sheds in the area, and Amy Brunn said the outside homes of Wildwood loop have woods behind them and a shed would be less visible, but those on the inside butt up against each other and a shed is much more visible. Mr. Dorman said the Reeds are requesting a 10’ variance on the south versus the minimum of 14’ and a 6.5’ variance on the rear versus the 50’ minimum. Mr. Stewart said it’s a tough decision for the BZBA when the neighbors are opposed because that is one of the conditions we look at when considering variances. The applicant prefers to have it in that spot, with good reasons, but the standard for variance is tough and if the Reeds could move it so it would not need a variance that would be simpler. If there were something about the lot precluding a different location, that would be different, but we see no hardship. Mr. Reed thought that sometimes folks get what they ask for, and nothing we can say can satisfy these neighbors. This was the most concealed place to put it. If we put it in an approved place, people would complain even more. Amy Brunn thought a more discreet spot could be found so when people drive up Wildwood, they won’t see it. Mr. Reed said if they put it where it would be approved, they would not have to plant shrubbery and you could not do anything about it. Mr. Stewart said we are not putting blame on the neighbors. That is just one criterion we look at. “I hope you would not do that to the neighbors, but that is your prerogative. We weigh all comments.” Mr. Herman said one of the criteria is whether or not the applicant has created the need for the variances. In this case, there are other alternatives. The issue relative to other options makes it tough for us. Mr. Stewart asked if the size is fixed, and Mr. Reed said not really, but he would like to have the front porch. Given our discussion this evening:

MR. SHARKEY MOVED TO APPROVE THE REED’S APPLICATION FOR VARIANCES. MR. HERMAN SECONDED, AND THE MOTION WAS UNANIMOUSLY DENIED.

Mr. Sharkey applied the criteria for variance to the application for side and rear yard setbacks:

This is the Reed application for variance to place a shed/ clubhouse structure in their side and rear yards. 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. The Board finds that special conditions or circumstances do not exist, which are peculiar to the land or structure involved, in fact the Board finds and the applicants acknowledge that they have many different options as to where to place the structure. None of the other options even require a variance. 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. We heard no testimony that the denial of these variances would deprive the applicants of rights commonly enjoyed by their neighbors. C. That the special conditions and circumstances do not result from the actions of the applicant. Not applicable, we find there are no special conditions or circumstances. 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. Not applicable, we have denied the variance. 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 vicinity of the proposed variance. On balance, the great weight of testimony from neighbors was that placing this structure where the Reeds intended to put it was problematic, primarily for two (2) reasons: 1) The size and height of the structure, and 2) its visibility from surrounding properties. 

Tim Riffle, 135 Thresher Street – Side Yard Setback Variance MR. HERMAN MOVED TO TAKE THE APPLICATION OFF THE TABLE. MS. KNOX SECONDED, AND THE MOTION WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.

At the last meeting Mr. Riffle was asked to scale down the massing. Tonight Mr. Riffle presented new drawings and photographs with a lower roofline, and he is putting in shed dormers. Roger Flower, from next door, said he has been aware of Mr. Riffle’s plans to do this for awhile and is in support of both the old and new plans. Neither the old nor the new plans would impact the use of his property in any way. He is at the bottom of the hill and they sit on their back screen porch looking toward the garden, rather than to the north. The two neighbors have worked together on issues of their adjacent lots. Mr. Stewart thinks the new plans make a big difference. Mr. Riffle said he would lose space he needs but is willing to make the changes. 

MS KNOX MOVED TO APPROVE THE APPLICATION AS AMENDED. MR. HERMAN SECONDED, AND THE MOTION WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.

Mr. Stewart applied the criteria to the application for the side yard setback variance:

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. Given the topography, the steep pitch of his entire property, yes these circumstances and conditions do exist which left him really only one flat place to build. 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. Not applicable. C. That the special conditions and circumstances do not result from the actions of the applicant. No, probably more from the actions of a glacier. 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. That is the case; it would not confer undue privilege. 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 vicinity of the proposed variance. The applicant has addressed the proposal with neighbors and we have heard testimony and have no sense that there will be any problem in this area. Minutes of May 23, June 13, and July 11, 2002: On the July 11 minutes, Visitors Present, change Judi Walter to Judi Watts. On page 2, start third paragraph with Mr. Sharkey. Page 2, last paragraph, delete second sentence and continue “He encourages Dan to do everything possible to make an agreement satisfactory to his neighbors.”

MR. SHARKEY MOVED TO APPROVE THE MAY 23RD, JUNE 13TH, AND AMENDED VERSION OF JULY 11TH MINUTES. MS. KNOX SECONDED, AND THE MOTION WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.

Finding of Fact: MR. HERMAN MOVED TO ADOPT THE FINDING OF FACTS FOR THE REED, RIFFLE, AND ROGERS APPLICATIONS AS THE OFFICIAL DECISION OF THE BZBA, AND WE FIND THEM CONSISTENT WITH RELEVANT SECTIONS OF THE GRANVILLE CODIFIED ORDINANCES AS OUTLINED IN THE VILLAGE PLANNER’S MEMO OF JULY 26, 2002. MS. KNOX SECONDED, AND THE MOTION WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED. Next Meeting: August 27, 2002. Adjournment: 8:45 p.m. Respectfully submitted, Betty Allen 

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