BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MEETING
OCTOBER 18, 2011
I CALL MEETING TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.
II ROLL CALL
Members Present: Jim Squires, Lawrence Hawkins III, Robert Weidlich,
Robert Emerson, William Reichert, Jane Huber, Chairman Dave Okum
Others Present: Randy Campion
III PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Chairman Okum: There is no correspondence for this meeting.
V REPORT ON COUNCIL
Mr. Hawkins gave a review of the October 5th, 2011 Council meeting, summarizing several ordinances that came before them.
VI MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF SEPTEMBER 20, 2011
(Mrs. Huber made a motion to adopt the September 20, 2011 minutes as written; Mr. Hawkins seconded the motion and with a unanimous affirmative vote from the Board of Zoning Appeals Members the minutes were approved.)
VII REPORT ON PLANNING COMMISSION
Chairman Okum gave a summary report of the October 11th, 2011 Planning Commission Meeting.
VIII CHAIRMANS STATEMENT AND SWEARING IN OF APPLICANTS
IX OLD BUSINESS
A. Chairman Okum: The first item continued from the Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting September 20, 2011 is the owner of 538 Smiley Avenue is requesting a variance to allow him to park a recreational vehicle on his driveway. Said variance is requested from Section 53.480(D)(1)(b) When stored in the front yard it must leave two additional spaces not less than nine feet by 19 feet or maintain the entire original driveway space if there originally existed less than two such spaces.
Mr. and Mrs. Shroyer, the Building Official looked at this and he still feels that based upon the information, you are still, no matter which way you look at it, in need of a variance of one foot.
Mr. Campion: That is correct.
Chairman Okum: The reason is there are sections of the Code that we were not familiar with that state, if we would allow horizontal parking in the driveway or left to right parking in the driveway, every time you would move that around you would be out of conformance with the Code. I wanted you to understand that is the reason it was continued; Staff has indicated arranging is not going to eliminate the issue.
Mr. Ken Shroyer: I will request the variance, I suppose.
(At this time, Chairman Okum opened the floor for comments from the public.)
Mr. Brian Faught: I live at 534 Smiley and I live next door to Ken. They keep everything clean and neat and in my opinion I think it would be o.k. to approve it.
(No other individuals from the audience came forward to speak, and this portion of the public hearing was closed.)
Mr. Squires: I would like to make a motion to grant a 1 X 19 variance to the owner of the property at 538 Smiley Avenue to allow him to park a recreational vehicle in his driveway, as requested from Section 53.480(D)(1)(b).
Mr. Campion: The other point that I would like to make that wasnt in the original Staff report, it reads: one recreational vehicle, one boat on a trailer or one trailer used for recreational purposes may be stored in an unenclosed area on the property but no closer than five feet to the nearest property line or the right of way line. Such recreational vehicle, boat or trailer used for recreational purposes shall not exceed 30 in length and 11 in height. The reason that is important is because for him to meet the Code, he has to park his vehicle in that parking space on the left and he couldnt turn it sideways because then he would be closer than 5 to the property line. The vehicle has to be in the parking spot on the left and not on the right. If he would have turned it sideways, then part of the vehicle would be closer than 5 to the property line, which means you need a variance to allow that
1 X 19.
Mr. Hawkins: I will second the motion from Mr. Squires.
Mr. Campion: Really, the variance would be to allow one spot to be less than
9 X 19. The one on the right side is going to be 9 X 19.
Mrs. Carla Shroyer: The driveway is 31. With the tongue on the trailer it is
16 X 4.
Mr. Emerson: Are we giving him a variance to park the camper or are we giving him a variance to allow him to have a driveway that is one foot too short.
Mr. Campion: Our ordinance says that you have to have eighteen feet. You are allowed to have an existing non-conforming driveway, which is what you had. When you improve it you are supposed to meet the standard.
Mr. Hawkins: Along the lines of what Mr. Emerson said, is it possible to have a motion to grant a variance for the applicant to park a recreational vehicle on his driveway and to give the dimensions of the vehicle and trailer.
Chairman Okum: What is the size with the tongue?
Mrs. Shroyer: 16 4 is the length, by 7 width.
Mr. Campion: The only thing that they could do is expand their driveway to the left at least 5 and park that vehicle on the right and be in compliance.
Chairman Okum: Mr. Squires, I think that you want to withdraw your motion and we will get a new motion.
Mr. Squires: Mr. Chairman, I would like to withdraw my motion.
Mr. Hawkins: I withdraw my second to that motion.
Mr. Emerson: I would like to make a motion that we allow a variance for a 16-4 long by 8 wide recreational vehicle to be parked in Mr. Shroyers driveway.
Chairman Okum: We have a motion on the floor for a 16-4 X 8 recreational vehicle to be permitted to park on the existing driveway surface at 538 Smiley.
(Mr. Hawkins seconded the motion and with a unanimous affirmative vote from the Board of Zoning Appeals Members the variance request was approved.)
Chairman Okum: You have a variance for your recreational vehicle 16-4 by 8 to be permitted to be parked on your existing driveway surface of 18 X 31.
X. NEW BUSINESS
A. Chairman Okum: The owner of 534 Smiley Avenue has applied for a variance to allow her to construct an addition to the residence in the required front yard setback. Said variance is requested from Section 153.070(A) Single household dwellings shall have a minimum front yard setback of 35 feet.
Mr. Brian Faught: We are wanting to put on a two-bedroom addition to the east side of our house and we are wanting our addition to extend out seven feet from the front of the house toward the street.
(At this time Mr. Campion read the Staff comments.)
Mr. Brian Faught: I saw the drawing that shows the master bedroom in the back and there are several issues that we have with that; one is the master bedroom where the adults would be, we feel should be toward the front for security purposes and protection of our house. We intended on the master bedroom being to the south side of the house where it gets the natural sunlight and we also intended to use the bump out from the main part of the house to add a gable as well as a large window to balance out the new addition of the house to the existing part of the house because currently the existing part of the house from the far side has a gable and a large picture window in the front. We also move our trailer in and out of the backyard and with other obstructions that are in the backyard now; if we add an additional 7 to the backyard we wont be able to maneuver the trailer or other vehicles in the backyard.
Chairman Okum: Is there anyone in the audience that would like to address the Board concerning this request?
Mr. Ken Tillery: I would be the general contractor on this project and a couple things that we looked at in setting this part of the house closer to the street would be the fact that the curb appeal on the property would be even better than if it was set back even with the rest of the house. According to the drawing that was submitted back to us to have the setback in back of the house instead of in front of the house, the curb appeal would be a whole lot less appealing because the whole front of the house would just go completely straight across and there would be no offset or anything like that. On one of the pictures that was submitted, there was one that had two cones setting in front of the house that actually showed where the 7 would come to and you will see that the next-door neighbors house protrudes even closer.
Chairman Okum: Is there anyone else in the audience that would like to address this variance request?
Mr. Faught: If you look at the drawing that we submitted and the drawing that we received in return; if you look at the walk-in closet, part of the intent of that closet would be to have a changing table and a pocket door on one wall and then on the back larger wall would be storage space and on the design that we received back we wont be able to have that changing table on the one side, as well as that outer portion of that closet by the hallway; there will be a block of wasted space that we wont be able to use.
Mr. Ken Shroyer: I live at 538 Smiley; I live next door to the property and I have lived there for 35 years. The majority of that time it has been a rental property and since they have moved in they have done enormous things with the house to bring it back up to Code. They have done extensive landscaping work. I believe that the addition that they are requesting would do nothing but enhance their property and mine as well. I would like to see the variance permitted and construction to begin.
(No other audience members came forward to speak and this portion of the hearing was closed.)
Chairman Okum: It is physically possible for you to do this addition as Staff has indicated. The comment that was made, as far as street appeal, is certainly an important factor. Is there a compromise that you could come up with where you could have some bump out in the front and some bump out in the back?
Mr. Faught: I cant say that there would be a compromise where we can bump out in the back because it does change our usage of our backyard property. We use our backyard for recreation; we use firewood to do a lot of our heating so we often move a trailer into the backyard and that would limit our ability to get that trailer around with our fire wood. I cant say there is a compromise; it does not suit the outcome of what we need to have for our house. Right now, it is a two-bedroom house and there are five of us living there.
Mr. Tillery: In order for us to compromise and move part of that back it would add additional cost to the project because of an extra corner that would have to be put in place in the back of the house. That would also diminish the size of the master bedroom; it is only 12 X 15.
Mr. Reichert: I notice the pictures submitted, if you look across the front you have a porch there and at the bottom you have a sidewalk area coming up with landscaping. It is not going to protrude out with a big eyesore; it is almost an extension of the sidewalk. Seven feet, I think, is a reasonable request. I am going to speak in favor of that and I think it will look attractive.
Mr. Squires: If I understand correctly, you would lose that offset if you went straight across?
Mr. Faught: Yes.
Mr. Hawkins: With regard to that small evergreen tree that in shown in the middle of the two cones, would you end up taking that out?
Mr. Faught: That would still be there.
Chairman Okum: I feel in this particular situation that the 19.32 home next to this is still a lot closer to the street and if you were going for a visual effect, that obstructs whatever visual effect occurs. I will be supporting the setback of 25.
Mr. Reichert: I would like to make a motion to grant a variance of 25 setback on the residence at 534 Smiley Avenue, for the purpose of constructing a 12 X 32 addition.
(The motion was seconded by Mr. Weidlich and with a unanimous affirmative vote from all of the Board of Zoning Appeals Members, the variance was granted.)
B. Chairman Okum: The next item on the agenda is the owner of 260 Northland Boulevard has applied for a variance to allow them to install additional flag poles and international flags on the property. Said variance is from Section 153.523(I) flags other than those exempted by Section 153.520(C) are prohibited.
Mr. Bill Schrock: I am the manager for the property. This request is to make the front of the building a little bit more attractive and to add a little international flavor to the whole project. We have an international group of tenants at this point and we are trying to attract more tenants all the time. We have three flagpoles right now with the American flag, the state flag and the company flag; we think these additional flags would add a little bit more character to the property.
Chairman Okum: I dont believe that 153.520 is specific about international flags, so what would be an international flag in your determination?
Mr. Schrock: A flag from another country.
Chairman Okum: That would be a national flag from another country?
Mr. Schrock: Right.
Chairman Okum: And how many of these additional flags?
Mr. Schrock: Four.
(Mr. Campion read the Staff comments concerning this request.)
Mr. Reichert: You indicated four additional flags; you indicated four different countries, how do you go about choosing four?
Mr. Schrock: Probably some of them that are in our building currently. We would probably do something like a Mexican flag and maybe a European flag; maybe one from each continent would be a good thing to do.
Mr. Reichert: So, you really havent established which four at this point; you just want to have four more flag poles but you have stated that they are going to be for a country; and that is the only thing that is going to be up there is a country?
Mr. Schrock: Correct. We would take suggestions, of course.
Mr. Reichert: I like the Army, Navy, Marine Corp.
Chairman Okum: I believe they could put those up without a variance.
Mr. Emerson: If one of your tenants moves out, that you are representing on the flag, does the flag come down?
Mr. Schrock: I doubt it; not until the flag wears out.
Mr. Hawkins: How high would you fly these flags in comparison to the American flag?
Mr. Schrock: Probably just slightly below.
Mr. Weidlich: If you pick four country flags and you have seven countries listed on your application, are they your tenants?
Mr. Schrock: We may not even choose any of these flags, to be honest.
Mr. Weidlich: Oh, I thought you would be picking those to try to appease your current tenants.
Mr. Schrock: The idea is to give it a little international flair, because we do have an international mix of tenants.
Mrs. Huber: Sir, it is well and good that you want to represent the people in your building but I think the only flag in the United States should be the United States flag and not all of these other countries.
Mr. Hawkins: Have we had a similar variance granted before?
Mr. Campion: No, we havent; not to my knowledge.
Mr. Squires: I think that you stated earlier that if a tenant, say for instance from Mexico, would leave the building you have no intention of taking that flag down?
Mr. Schrock: We may not even put a Mexican flag up. The idea would not be to have it represent actual tenants that are in the building.
Mr. Squires: In your application you state that you currently have tenants with connections to Mexico, Puerto Rico; etc.
Mr. Schrock: Correct; these are legal citizens doing business in America; they are the new entrepreneurs of America.
Mr. Squires: Are you saying that you are going to honor other countries other than these listed?
Mr. Schrock: Yes.
Chairman Okum: The request is specifically for international flags. I think to be more specific if a motion is brought that it state for specific countries; because international could be international flavors, it could be international foods or any other kind of international designation. My concern is that it is more signage than it is representation of tenants or representation of countries and for that purpose it is basically a sign. I understand the necessity of keeping your buildings rented but the other thing is that if a building down the street wants to do the same thing to attract more business by flags to generate signage; then it is the same principle.
We ought to call it what it is; it is flags for signage for identifying your building as being a building that leases to international companies. We are speaking of a signage issue in my opinion.
Mr. Hawkins: I agree with what the Chairman has indicated. In Springdale we
are fortunate to have a great deal of diverse community and diverse folks doing business. One of our City grocery stores is your neighbor but if you go around the corner onto Route 4 there are some other different ethnic restaurants up there. As the Chairman has pointed out, it is signage and it does become an issue of, if this get a variance then a number of other folks could and would like to come in and ask for variances to do the same thing and so there is some concern as well, in terms of setting a precedent that is likely to create several other business owners to come in asking for a variance to do something similar. That is where my primary concern is.
Chairman Okum: We need to have a motion brought to the floor.
Mr. Hawkins: For the purpose of bringing the motion to the floor, not necessarily indicating that I am in support of it, but to bring it to the floor; I move to grant a variance to the owner of 260 Northland Boulevard to allow the owner to install four additional flag poles and international country flags on the property in variance of Section 153.523 of our Code.
(Mr. Reichert seconded the motion.)
Chairman Okum: The Chair has pretty much expressed himself and I will not be supporting this. I feel that it does set a precedent and would establish the opportunity for other international businesses to create other signage opportunities for their businesses throughout the community. I will not be supporting it.
(Mrs. Huber polled the Board of Zoning Appeals Members and with a unanimous negative vote the variance request was denied.)
(No items of discussion were presented at this meeting.)
Mr. Hawkins moved to adjourn, Mr. Weidlich seconded the motion and the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting adjourned at 8:06 p.m.
Chairman Dave Okum
Secretary Jane Huber