Granville Board of Zoning & Building Appeals Minutes
December 18, 2008
Members Present: Amber Mitchell (Chair), Fred Ashbaugh, and
Member’s Absent: Jean Hoyt and Jeff Gill.
Also Present: Village Planner, Alison Terry.
Visitors: Gillian Jones, Dick and Barbara Lechner.
Description of Procedure:
Ms. Mitchell explained the proceedings of the board and that the meeting is not a public hearing, yet that the meeting is open to the public and it is a quasi judicial proceeding.
She stated that the BZBA has thirty days to make a decision and any appeals are heard by Village Council. Any witness offering testimony or presenting evidence at a hearing shall be placed under oath prior to offering testimony or evidence.
Gillian Jones, 128 Shepardson Court, Application #08-144
Suburban Residential District-B (SRD-B). The request is for approval of a variance to reduce the required southern side yard setback from twelve (12’) feet to one (1’) foot for placement of a storage shed.
Gillian Jones, 128 Shepardson Court, stated that her home is located on a wooded lot that is sloped. She indicated that she has a two car detached garage on the property and she needs additional storage space for bikes, outdoor gear, boxes, etc. Ms. Jones stated that the storage shed is currently in place on the property and requires a variance. She stated that the company brought the unit out on July 30th of this year and she is paying a month to month rental fee for it. Ms. Jones stated that the only good place on her property to place the storage shed is along the southern property line. Mr. Ashbaugh questioned if Ms. Jones believes that this is the only flat or level spot on her property. Ms. Jones stated yes and that this is the only place that she can reasonably place a building because her lot slopes down considerably. Ms. Jones guessed that there may be a twenty foot drop. She also stated that there are some ponds in the back yard area as well. Ms. Jones stated that her side yard has a large tree and the rental company said that there was no way to get the unit past the tree. She went on to say that if the unit were to be placed on the side of her driveway it would block access to the garage. Ms. Jones stated that on the north side of the property there is a turn around, but it is not wide enough to accommodate the building. She also indicated that the turn around is right on the border of her property. Ms. Terry stated that the structure is currently one foot from the property line versus the twelve foot Code requirement. Mr. Montgomery asked about the reference in the submitted paperwork to garage ruins. Ms. Jones stated that the garage was rebuilt perhaps twelve to fifteen years ago – before she purchased the property. Ms. Jones stated that her basement gets runoff water from Sugarloaf Hill and the shed is necessary to keep items that she used to store in her basement. Mr. Ashbaugh asked Ms. Terry about the Code versus the presented Covenants. Ms. Terry stated that the Village does not have the ability to enforce the recorded Covenants and this is considered a civil matter between property owners. She clarified that the restrictions in the Covenants are not a part of the Village’s regulations and the Board is to review the request for approval of a variance to reduce the required southern side yard setback for placement of a storage shed. Mr. Montgomery asked if Ms. Jones is saying the front yard is the only area on her property that is not steep and not wet. Ms. Jones stated yes and the placement of the shed is more of a topography issue rather than a wetness issue.
Barbara Lechner, 132 Shephardson Court, stated she bought her property from Jack Thornborough and the Covenants were a part of the lot contract. She stated that she intended to have her house set back further with a walk out basement and because she had to abide by the Covenants she had to move the location of her home. Ms. Lechner stated that this was a big disadvantage. She went on to say that some of the other neighbors have had to abide by the easements that the Village has set. Ms. Lechner stated that she was present when Ms. Jones was placing the shed on the property and she explained to Ms. Jones that the shed wouldn’t meet the setbacks for the Village and the placement definitely would not meet the Covenant requirements. Ms. Lechner stated that Ms. Jones chose to disregard these things. Ms. Lechner questioned if Ms. Jones does get the needed variance – does this allow her to put another shed up? Ms. Mitchell asked if Ms. Lechner’s concerns were with the building itself or is her concern that Ms. Jones is being granted undue privilege that she, Ms. Lechner, was denied. Ms. Lechner stated all of the above. Ms. Lechner stated that she has been trying to sell her house for a year and she doesn’t think the location of the shed adds to her property value. Ms. Lechner questioned why the shed can’t be located in the back yard. Ms. Terry clarified that the purpose of this Board is to review the variance according to the lot line and they cannot enforce the Covenants. Ms. Lechner questioned why if she has to abide by the Covenant and Code - why doesn’t Ms. Jones? Ms. Lechner stated that Ms. Jones could put the structure on the north or south side of her driveway. Mr. Montgomery asked Ms. Jones if she is aware of the neighbors she stated got variances granted. Ms. Jones stated she believed Fred on the corner received a variance for his shed. Ms. Lechner stated no – he did not receive a variance and they (Fred Porcheddu) are unable to split their property. Ms. Lechner stated that there may have been some variances granted for some sheds on Maple Street. Ms. Jones stated that she would like it clarified that she didn’t have “blatant disregard” regarding the structure being placed where it is. Ms. Lechner stated that Ms. Jones did know about the restrictions and still placed the structure where it currently is located. Mr. Montgomery asked the size of the shed. Ms. Terry stated 10ft. x 12ft. Mr. Montgomery questioned if a smaller shed would fit Ms. Jones needs. Ms. Jones stated that even if it were smaller there is still no place on the property to place the shed. Ms. Jones stated that the current placement doesn’t block the view of Sugarloaf Hill and she does not believe Ms. Lechner can view the shed from inside her home. Ms. Lechner stated that the shed encroaches on her house. Ms. Jones stated that there is a brush line between the two properties. Mr. Ashbaugh asked if there is any place between the house and the garage or behind the house that the shed could be placed. Ms. Jones stated no. She stated that there is a 10 foot cement block retaining wall to the right of the garage and there is a three foot walkway leading to a wooden deck which fills the rest of the area in the back yard. Ms. Jones stated that there is also a fence on one side of the deck. Mr. Ashbaugh questioned if the unit could be placed outside of the retaining wall. Ms. Jones stated no due to the topography. She went on to say that she hopes that what she is paying in rent is going towards the purchase price of the building. She stated that it is a nice, sturdy building. Mr. Ashbaugh asked if Ms. Jones has investigated if the company only does whole buildings – or can they build one to suit on site. Ms. Jones stated she did ask them this question and this is not something they do. She stated that she has known this company for five years or so and they do not build on site. Ms. Jones stated that the company has a fleet of buildings for rent or purchase. Ms. Mitchell questioned why this matter is just now before the BZBA if it has been up since July 30th of this year. Ms. Terry stated that the Village did send multiple notices, and the applicant responded at a later time. She stated that this matter was also tabled at the November BZBA meeting. Mr. Montgomery questioned if all temporary structures must meet setback requirements. Ms. Terry stated yes because it is a structure. Ms. Jones clarified that she is not interested in placing any additional buildings on the property. She stated that she understands that there are laws and some people are granted variances because there are special circumstances. Ms. Jones stated that she would encourage the BZBA Board to take a look at her property because they will see that there is no other place to put the storage unit. Mr. Montgomery asked Ms. Lechner if she objects to the shed because it obstructs the look of her property. Ms. Lechner stated that she knew when she built her house that she had to adhere to these rules. She stated that there are rules in place that need to be abided to. Ms. Lechner stated that she thinks the storage shed detracts from the look of her home and it’s just the principle of it. She went on to say that the truck that delivered the shed was enormous and requires a lot of room to move around. Ms. Jones asked that it be noted for the record that the property to the north was granted a variance for height. It was noted that this property is owned by James Housteau. Ms. Jones stated that it is not uncommon for variances to be granted in her neighborhood.
The BZBA reviewed and read aloud the following Findings of Fact during their discussion of Application #08-144:
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 he same zoning districts. Mr. Montgomery stated that this statement is true. Mr. Montgomery stated that the topography is peculiar to the land. Mr. Ashbaugh stated false because all of the properties in this area have sloped conditions or whatnot. Ms. Mitchell stated that she agrees with Mr. Ashbaugh.
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 the Ordinance. Mr. Ashbaugh and Mr. Montgomery agreed that this statement was false. Ms. Mitchell stated true because we know variances have been granted for other properties in the area.
c) That the special conditions and circumstances do not results from the actions of the applicant. Each member of the BZBA agreed that this statement was false.
d) That the granting of 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. Each member of the BZBA agreed that this statement was false. Mr. Montgomery stated that it would be an undue privilege to place the building in this location when there are other areas on the property that the building could be placed. Mr. Ashbaugh stated false. Ms. Mitchell stated false.
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. Mr. Montgomery stated that the granting of the variance affects Ms. Lechner’s view and therefore her general welfare. Mr. Ashbaugh stated false. Ms. Mitchell stated that she would answer true, because no one’s health, safety or welfare is affected. She stated that she realizes that the structure is not wanted by the neighbors, but their general welfare is not affected.
Ms. Jones stated that she can hear which way this is going. She reiterated that any other place where she would locate the shed will obscure the front of her house. Ms. Jones stated that topographically, she is more unique than her neighbors around her because she is set much further back. She stated that all of the other neighbors have commented that they have no problem with the proposed location. Ms. Jones stated that not granting the variance means that she is losing a privilege that other people in her neighborhood enjoy. She stated that she has a neighbor who was granted a variance so they can enjoy a house they want and she sees no difference in her request. Ms. Jones questioned criteria three (3) and why the Board answered ‘false.’ Ms. Terry stated that she believes the Board is saying that even though there are some topography issues - there are other areas where the shed can be located. Ms. Jones stated that the topography is due to Sugarloaf Hill and this is out of her control. She stated that she didn’t cause the circumstances or choose for her back yard to be hilly. Ms. Jones stated that not granting the variance means that she will lose the privilege of having a shed. Mr. Ashbaugh indicated that Ms. Jones could have the shed hand built in the back yard. Ms. Lechner stated it is possible to have the structure built in the rear of the property. Ms. Jones stated that she cannot afford to have that done.
Mr. Montgomery made a motion to approve Application #08-144 as submitted. Seconded by Mr. Ashbaugh. Roll Call Vote: Ashbaugh (no) Montgomery (no), Mitchell (no). Motion carried 3-0. Application #08-144 had NO ACTION TAKEN.
Mr. Montgomery made a motion to deny Application #08-144 as submitted. Seconded by Mr. Ashbaugh. Roll Call Vote: Ashbaugh (yes) Montgomery (yes), Mitchell (yes). Motion carried 3-0. Application #08-144 is DENIED.
Ms. Terry indicated that there is a ten-day appeal period and any interested parties can appeal. She stated that any appeal would go to Village Council for consideration. Ms. Terry indicated that if Council were to uphold the BZBA decision, and someone wanted to challenge that ruling, then it could be appealed to the Court of Common Pleas.
Finding of Fact
The Board of Zoning and Building Appeals found the request to be inconsistent with the Granville Codified Ordinances Chapter 1147, Variances and Chapter 1163, Suburban Residential District, and hereby give their disapproval of the application as submitted by the applicant.
Mr. Ashbaugh moved to approve the Findings of Fact for Application #08-144. Seconded by Mr. Montgomery. Roll Call Vote: Ashbaugh (yes), Montgomery (yes), Mitchell (yes). Motion carried 3-0. The Findings of Fact for Application #08-144 are Approved.
Approval of the Minutes
November 13, 2008
Mr. Montgomery made a motion to approve the minutes. Seconded by Mr. Ashbaugh.
Roll Call Vote: Ashbaugh (yes), Montgomery (yes), Mitchell (yes). Motion carried 3-0. The minutes are approved as presented.
Motion to Excuse Absent BZBA Board Member:
Mr. Ashbaugh made a motion to excuse Ms. Hoyt from the December 18, 2008 BZBA meeting. Seconded by Mr. Montgomery. Roll Call Vote: Montgomery (yes), Ashbaugh (yes), Mitchell (yes). Motion carried 3-0.
Mr. Ashbaugh made a motion to excuse Mr. Gill from the December 18, 2008 BZBA meeting. Seconded by Mr. Montgomery.
Roll Call Vote: Montgomery (yes), Ashbaugh (yes), Mitchell (yes). Motion carried 3-0.
Approval of 2009 Meeting Dates:
Mr. Ashbaugh made a motion to approve the 2009 BZBA meeting dates as presented. Seconded by Mr. Montgomery.
Roll Call Vote: Montgomery (yes), Ashbaugh (yes), Mitchell (yes). Motion carried 3-0.
Motion to Adjourn
Mr. Montgomery made a motion to adjourn. Seconded by Mr. Ashbaugh. Motion carried 5-0. The meeting adjourned at 7:55 PM.
January 8, 2009