BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING
APRIL 20, 2010
I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.
II. ROLL CALL
Members Present: Dave Okum, William Reichert, Robert Emerson,
Lawrence Hawkins III, Jim Squires and Robert Weidlich
Members Absent: Jane Huber
Others Present: Randy Campion, Building Inspection Supervisor
III. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
IV. MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF 16 MARCH 2010
Mr. Squires moved for acceptance the March 16, 2010 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting minutes, Mr. Hawkins seconded the motion and with six aye votes (one member absent) the minutes were adopted.
Chairman Okum: You have Ordinance 7 - Amendment to Zoning Section 153.523 and 153.531 Springdale, regarding electronic signs. I believe it is now officially a law, as of this week the electronic signs are permitted in certain areas with many conditions.
VI. REPORT ON COUNCIL
Mr. Hawkins gave a report of the previous City Council Meeting. Council met
April 7th, 2010, there was a resolution commending BHE Environmental on its Renewable Energy Initiative, there was also an Ordinance passed with regards to amending the codified Section of the City of Springdale of 153.533 of the Zoning Code and there was also an Ordinance passed authorizing the Mayor and Clerk of Council, plans directed to executing professional services agreement with
Daniel L. Jones in the amount not to exceed $33,000 for professional engineering services related to the Northland Boulevard project and to declare an emergency in regard to that.
VII. REPORT ON PLANNING COMMISSION
Chairman Okum: Planning Commission met last Tuesday evening, the first item on the agenda was the Wireless Tower and they requested that we continue it until the July Planning Commission meeting. The other item we had was Princeton Plaza and the modification to the PUD that consisted of a paint job and the replacement of one sign; there was a requirement under the plan review that the parking spaces in front of the former TCBY and the side of Skeffington's be removed, the City Engineer suggested that they all be removed and there was an alternate suggestion brought up to go to parallel only. Signage for Pictoria Tower was brought to us with a change, they are going to change the building signs and add a ground monument sign. Hoxworth Blood Center at Wimbledon Plaza wished to change out their signage to a new box sign and it was turned down by Planning Commission, they will return. Outback wished to change the fašade paint, they were not present so that was tabled to the next Planning Commission meeting.
VIII. CHAIRMANS STATEMENT AND SWEARING IN OF APPLICANTS
IX. OLD BUSINESS
No items of old business were presented at this meeting.
X. NEW BUSINESS
A. Chairman Okum: The first item on the agenda, the owner at 1329 East Kemper Road requests a variance to allow a ground sign to be placed 10 from another business lot line. Said variance is from Section 153.531 (D)(5),A ground sign shall not be less than 25 from another business lot line
Clifford Rough: I work for Lackner Sign Company who is representing the Kemper Pond Development. The reason for the variance request is that the property that they have there is quite a large piece of property but it is landlocked and they really desperately need some type of sign out at the driveway. They own the driveway going out to Kemper Road and there is also another strip of property that they purchased, or some type of easement but it is not quite enough to allow the sign. The 25 setback that is in your zoning could not be met.
Chairman Okum: We have a packet from you and an authorization from the owner or owners representative for the property and your responses to the request for a variance; we have an aerial and a site plan with red printing indicating the location where you wish to place the sign.
(At this time, Mr. Campion read the Staff report.)
Chairman Okum: In preparation for this, did you have that reviewed by our City Engineer and City Planner?
Mr. Rough: No, I didnt.
Chairman Okum: So it is your decision where the sign should go?
Mr. Rough: We did have a meeting with the Building Official and we had also applied for different signage back on the property because Kemper Pond is trying to update that property and they are putting all new signs back where the property is at, we did get the permit for that and everything was approved; but the only thing that couldnt be approved was the ground sign because of that set back.
Chairman Okum: I can certainly see the need for identity of that location for purposes of information for your property.
(Chairman Okum opened the floor to the audience; no one came forward and this portion of the hearing was closed.)
Mr. Squires: I would like to make a motion to allow the owner at
1329 East Kemper Road to place a ground sign 10 from another business lot line as submitted with attachments.
Mr. Emerson seconded the motion.
Mr. Reichert: Is the sign that you are proposing replacing the sign that is there that says Kemper Pond?
Mr. Rough: Yes, that apparently was a non-conforming sign to start with; it is just like a post and panel type sign; that will be removed and the new one will go approximately in that same area.
Chairman Okum: A business like that I would expect, with the amount of offices, certainly needs identity on Kemper Road. It is quite a distance from the Sleep Center. I would like to have a condition placed on this that our City Engineer do evaluate the location and our City Planner evaluate the landscaping for the sign as a requirement under the motion.
Mr. Squires: I would like to amend my motion to include removing the existing sign at the location 1329 East Kemper and to replace that with a new sign; and that the City Planner and the City Engineer review that sign location for purposes of safety and landscaping.
Mr. Reichert seconded the motion.
Chairman Okum: Seeing there is no further discussion, Mr. Weidlich would you poll the Board?
(Mr. Weidlich polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members and with 6 aye votes, one member absent, the amendment to the motion was accepted.)
Chairman Okum: Seeing there is no other discussion, Mr. Weidlich would you poll the Board on the amended motion in entirety?
(Mr. Weidlich polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members and with 6 aye votes, one member absent, the request for a variance was granted with conditions.)
B. Chairman Okum: The owner of 1152 Terrytown Court requests a variance to allow the elimination of the garage. Said variance is from Section 153.105(B) A single two-car garage and related parking area is required
Mr. Ken Johnson: I live at 1152 Terrytown Court; I am co-owner and the house is in my wifes name; she did sign all the paperwork for me to come here. We have a one- car garage and I need to have a place for storage. I have been there 17 years and I have not used the garage; she has been there 25 years and has never parked the car in the garage. I used to work before I was disabled and I have a ton of tools and I have no place to store them. I am trying to clean my property up and put shelves and stuff in there to help me clean my place up. I have pictures to show you what I have done.
(Mr. Johnson submitted for record, photos of the garage to the Board of Zoning Appeals Members.)
(At this time, Mr. Campion read the Staff report.)
(Chairman Okum opened the floor to the audience; no one came forward and this portion of the hearing was closed.)
Mr. Emerson: I would like to make a motion to allow the elimination of a garage at 1152 Terrytown Court, to be converted over to storage space.
Mr. Squires seconded the motion.
Mr. Reichert: From the pictures I dont have a good feel of the erecting of shelving, on the sides of the garage or is it going down the middle or is it going up?
Mr. Johnson: Right now the garage door does open and close and there is a small wall.
Mr. Reichert: Across where the garage door is?
Mr. Johnson: The garage door, then a whole section of shelves and then there is a half wall that has shelves on it, and along the wall there is a section of shelves.
Mr. Reichert: Is there a doorway going into your residence?
Mr. Johnson: There is a door that comes into the kitchen.
Mr. Reichert: What is the back part of the area used for?
Mr. Johnson: Basically, storage.
Mr. Reichert: Not living area?
Mr. Johnson: No.
Mr. Squires: One of those pictures shows you pulling away some insulation, are you storing material behind that insulation.
Mr. Johnson: When Mr. King (Residential Building Inspector) had stopped by, he said that I had built a wall there. That is not really a wall but I have shelves on the front side and I am using insulation as a back to keep things from falling off to the other side. On the other side of that wall is another section of shelves attached to the studding there.
Mr. Squires: You reported that you have a lot of tools and in these pictures I am seeing cleaning agents, is that a fact?
Mr. Johnson: That is stuff that I put in there; motor oil, the weed-killer, fertilizer and lawn tools and all that stuff.
Mr. Squires: Is there anyway those liquids are flammable?
Mr. Johnson: I wont swear to that but I dont store gas and that stuff in there.
I have a window in the garage that does stay open to vent and the garage door does open and close; I have a fire extinguisher in the garage.
Mr. Squires: Have you thought about having anyone from the City come out and take a look at it for safety?
Mr. Johnson: I had Gordon King come down and look at it and he said he didnt think that was a problem as long as I wasnt storing gasoline.
Mr. Squires: One of the pictures show a lot of material outside of your home; I dont see how any of that is going into your garage. Do you plan on putting all of that in there?
Mr. Johnson: Yes, all except for the two red tool boxes. I will leave them out alongside the house or back along the fence so that when I work on a car my boxes are there, unless that is a big issue and I can put them in the garage.
Mr. Squires: And so eventually your driveway will completely clear?
Mr. Johnson: Hopefully; I am tired of getting letters from you guys.
Mr. Emerson: You are basically not eliminating your garage, are you?
Mr. Johnson: No.
Mr. Emerson: And the only thing keeping you from getting a car is there is the temporary wall?
Mr. Johnson: That, and the fact we have never put a car in there.
Mr. Emerson: So your garage door is remaining operable?
Mr. Johnson: Yes.
Mr. Emerson: The shelf that is built on the half-wall, can that be taken down easily?
Mr. Johnson: Yes, if I have to.
Mr. Emerson: I dont see any reason that you have to; I am just questioning whether it is a garage conversion or not, it is technically remaining a garage and he is putting up more shelves to store more stuff in it.
Mr. Okum: I think the Section of the Code that refers to the use of the garage is specific in our Code; it is for the purpose of being able to accommodate a vehicle; I believe that is correct.
Mr. Campion: A garage is a building used primarily for the parking, storage or repair of vehicles.
Mr. Hawkins: Mr. Johnson, with regard to the partial-wall that was constructed, does it go all the way to either side of the garage or is it just in the middle?
Mr. Johnson: Basically on the left-hand side of the garage I have partial shelving going up and under the track of the garage door, it is about 4 or 5 high and there is about a 3 opening at the top.
Mr. Hawkins: Is there a big impact on you if the partial-wall is not there but you have a shelf across there; is there a big impact on your use of it?
Mr. Johnson: Yes, there was somewhat of an impact if I didnt have that because I made it so that there is a small bi-folding door to go in, so that when you look in you see that half of wall about 3 back from the garage door and what was behind that wall you wouldnt see and no one walking down the street could look in and see what I have.
Mr. Hawkins: Did you hear Staff comments that they indicated that you could have a 120 s.f. area to build storage in the rear yard, do you dispute that?
Mr. Johnson: I have the space; I just dont have the money. Shelving is a little cheaper than three or four thousand dollars to get started on a shed.
Mr. Okum: Im sensitive to what your situation is and it would be wrong for me to say that there has never been a situation where one of my garages at my house is inadequate to handle a vehicle because of the things that I have. I think you have a lot of things as shown by the number of things you have outside of your home; I doubt if you could fit all those things that are outside into that garage. At a certain point and time we come to the realization that we have more stuff than we need and I ran into that problem a number of years ago and I ended up purging a bunch of my stuff. If I go over to Costco or Home Depot and purchase 24 deep shelving units that sit 6 off the ground and I sit it in the middle of my garage, would I be in violation of our Zoning Code? I dont know because it is not attached to my structure and it is sitting on my concrete slab, would I be in violation?
Mr. Campion: You wouldnt need a permit to do that.
Mr. Okum: The problem is that when you construct it in assembly, be that 2 X 4 versus a steel shelving unit that you buy and assemble, that is where the interpretation became an issue. If this was a free-standing element not attached to the walls then I believe that the issue wouldnt be here.
Mr. Johnson: If you look on the one photo you will see where I have on part of the wall the 2 X 4s and on the other half is a 12 end panel that is holding the wall up.
Mr. Okum: But you are attached to a wall or ceiling for purposes of supporting the unit?
Mr. Johnson: No. It touches the walls.
Mr. Okum: Is it anchored to the wall?
Mr. Johnson: I dont think so, I think when I did it I put it in between shelving.
Mr. Okum: It is hard for me to support elimination of a garage for purposes of what you have; I havent heard any testimony that would support that. If that shelf unit is just sitting there not attached to the building element to hold it up and it is self-supporting on its own, you would be permitted to do that because you wouldnt be building a structure inside of your garage. If this element is not attached and does not utilize the building element to support it, I dont think we would be here today.
I think some clarity would need to come from the Building Department in regards to the need for a variance. I think the issues on the stuff outside need to be resolved and you are aware of that.
At this point, based upon the evidence that you presented, I am not in a position to vote in favor of your request to eliminate a garage. In regards to what you can do with your property legally, I cant answer that because I am not the Building Official and I am not part of that Department; as far as an Appeal Board issue goes if you are indicating that this is not utilizing your building for supporting the wall and if it is self-supporting on its own, I find that hard to tell from the photos submitted.
Mr. Hawkins: I agree with Chairman Okum, you start to have what appears to be a fixture or a structure then you run into a situation where you have to come before the Board and get an Appeal opposed to having something that is free standing; you could probably get what you want and not have to come before us for a variance.
Chairman Okum: We are here to hear the case of why you need to eliminate a garage.
Mr. Johnson: The fact that we dont use the garage.
Chairman Okum: Once that is passed that is a permanent adjustment to that property and it stays with your property through perpetuity for whoever purchases your home 30, 40, 50 years from now; that same variance stays with that property.
Mr. Johnson: The wall is not permanent.
Mr. Emerson: We deal with elimination of garages all the time because people want to make a living room or bedroom, something that is living quarters versus storage or a car. If you took those shelves that are basically blocking the garage door and took
2 X 4 and made frame pedestals, framed it out and put plywood on the top, that would be acceptable. We are looking at eliminating your garage forever and it is really not eliminating your garage, all you want to do is put up some shelving and somewhere along the line the City has looked at that as a wall blocking your garage door.
Mr. Johnson: Mr. King drove by and said that was a wall, when my garage door was up; it is not a wall it is just for storage.
Chairman Okum: Building Code is Building Code, and Building Code sets up what designates as a wall. If you created a permanent element in your garage, and I think that Mr. King saw that it was attached to the wall and that is where the interpretation is. My feeling is if I were to buy a shelving unit, I dont know if the Building Department could say anything about that.
Mr. Campion: My feeling is if I drove by and saw that, I would think it is a wall and I would have told you that you needed a permit to build a wall. If you were to remove that wall you wouldnt need a permit and if you bought or built a shelving unit, I think it is just the description of what it looks like that is up for interpretation.
Chairman Okum: I am not telling you how to build it but at this point you have not given evidence for me to approve removal of your garage. I think this needs more discussion with the Building Department for the type of shelving unit that you built.
Mr. Campion: The purpose of a garage is a building that is primarily for parking, storing and repairing of vehicles, not for storage of stuff.
We dont encourage variances; we try to work through the process with residents so that they dont need variances on the property. You could build a shed on your property that could accommodate a lot of this stuff.
Mr. Reichert: I was disappointed when you said that the boxes of tools were going to stay outside; I would rather see them in the garage.
Mr. Johnson: They were originally in the garage but right now while I am playing with my boat and working on my truck they are outside.
Chairman Okum: I cannot support giving a variance for storage for the garage.
If what you constructed in your garage is not truly a wall, it is not attached to the walls as permanent but can be moved, then it is a shelving unit and if it is a shelving unit there is no reason in the world for me to be considering this for a variance. I will be voting against the elimination of your garage but at this point I would encourage you to come up with an explanation to the Building Department of why it is a free-standing shelving unit and show them by example that it can be moved and it is not a permanent fixture.
If I had a motorcycle and that was my only vehicle and I wanted to take it into his space, I could do that?
Mr. Campion: That would be your primary storage space for that vehicle.
He really did change the use of the garage and that is why the Staff report said what it did.
Mr. Emerson: Mr. Johnson, I bet if that wall was constructed or the shelves were constructed deeper into the garage there wouldnt be anything said, it is just because when you open your garage door, 3 back there is what looks to be a wall.
Chairman Okum: All the stuff outside in the yard is subject to question in regards to property maintenance and the other things that are associated with that.
I dont think you are going to get an affirmative vote for you to eliminate your garage from this Board. For purposes of bringing it to the floor I think we should vote. I dont think you will get a favorable vote but dont think that they are discouraging you, I think that there are other avenues for you to pursue.
Mr. Reichert: In my opinion, if I was in your situation; after we vote on this tonight then I would take my case back to Mr. McErlane, who is the head of that Department and explain the situation, if you are denied. Whatever they recommend, follow it to the letter of the Code.
Mr. Campion: I would be happy to sit down with you, and I am sure Mr. McErlane would, as well.
Chairman Okum: For purposes of bringing it to the floor we are going to vote.
(Mr. Weidlich polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members and with six no
Votes, with one member absent, the request for the elimination of the garage at
1152 Terrytown Court was denied.)
Chairman Okum: I will accept a motion for adjournment.
Mr. Hawkins moved to adjourn and Mr. Reichert seconded; all members of the Board of Zoning Appeals present signified by saying aye and the meeting adjourned at 8:29 p.m.
Chairman Dave Okum
Secretary Jane Huber