Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes - April 22, 2009
THE CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
April 22, 2009
On April 22, 2009, a regular meeting of the
Chesterfield Township Zoning Board of Appeals was
held at the Township Hall located at 47275 Sugarbush,
Chesterfield Twp., MI 48047.
1. CALL TO ORDER: Chairman Stepnak called the
meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
2. ROLL CALL: Present: Marvin Stepnak, Chairman
Carl Leonard, Vice-Chairman,
Nancy Orewyler, Secretary Brian Scott DeMuynck,
Township board liaison
Absent: Robert Kohler, Planning Commission
Chairman Stepnak commented that this was the
second ZBA meeting in a row that the board had no
representation from the Planning Commission.
3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:
Chairman Stepnak explained the procedures to the
4. ZBA PETITION # 2009-03: Raymond Jernukian,
28339 Lange, Chesterfield, MI 48047. Requesting a
variance to allow a 10’ x 6" x 7’ to be located in
the front yard due to corner lot location. Request
is for address stated above.
Raymond Jernukian, 28339 Lange, Chesterfield, MI
addressed the board.
Petitioner stated that he was requesting that his
yard be rezoned. He would like to move his shed
about two feet south and remove it from the
easement. He stated that he made a mistake. He
purchased a shed at Home Depot and was told because
the shed had a fixed floor, he did not need to put a
ratwall or pull a permit. He made a mistake and went
ahead without checking with the Township first. He
stated that the shed has been in place. He has since
had the utility companies and someone from the
Township's Water Department come out to measure the
depth of the sump pump line. The gentleman from the
Water Department stated that he should go in front
of the ZBA instead of placing the shed in the back
because if anything ruptures, the shed with the
footing would cause a nightmare for them to repair
the lines. Petitioner added that to move the shed in
the middle of the yard, he would have to move the
kid's playscape. He did find a spot on the opposite
side of the yard, however, he would have to remove a
large cherry tree. He does understand that the shed
would be put in what is considered a front lot,
because the house in on the corner. However, the
area is completely barricaded and there is no visual
of it from the street. He has sheltered the area so
that it would not be considered an eyesore by his
neighbors. He commented that his neighbors, Richard
and Kelly Kobylski sent a letter recommending that
the shed be put in that area and that they would
have no problem with it. He stated at this point he
would like to state that the shed in that area would
not reduce the value or the esthetics of the
neighborhood. The shed would be completely sheltered
by the arborvitaes. He commented that he had
discussed the matter with Mr. Shortt from the
Building Department and was told that they really
did not have an issue with where the shed was
Mr. Leonard asked how long the petitioner lived
Petitioner stated that he built the home and
lived there 11 years.
Mr. Leonard verified then that the petitioner was
the person who erected the fence?
Petitioner answered yes, he came in front of the
Board and got permission to put up the fence.
Mr. Leonard agreed that the area was well
screened. He had to get out of his car and walk
around the side to take a look at it. He asked the
size of the shed?
Petitioner answered that the shed was 10' 6" x
Mr. Leonard verified that the reason the
petitioner could not put the shed on the other side
of the lot was the tree?
Petitioner stated that he would have to remove
the tree and he would also be on top of the line for
the sump pump.
Mr. Leonard stated that, at that point, he really
did not have any issues with the variance.
Ms. Orewyler commented that she appreciated that
the petitioner kept up his yard and that the yard is
well shielded with the arborvitaes. She also agreed
that the petitioner had a practical difficulty
because of the location of the utilities. She stated
that she could see the shed from the street.
However, she stated that the petitioner could put
a little bush at the area by the gate to completely
screen the shed.
Petitioner asked if Ms. Orewyler was referring to
the Lange Road view from the road?
Ms. Orewyler answered yes.
Petitioner stated that he had no problem with
planting another arborvitae there in order to block
the view of the shed.
Mr. Blake stated that the shed would be
practically next door to the neighbor's shed if it
was moved to the other side.
Petitioner agreed. He commented that the
neighbor's shed is under the size requirement for a
ratwall. The neighbor's shed is just sitting loose
on the property. He commented that he could not put
his shed in that area because it would be directly
on top of the easement which is 18' off that fence.
Therefore, he cannot put his shed next to the
Mr. Klonowski had no comments.
Mr. DeMuynck stated that his questions had
already been answered.
Mr. Shortt stated that the Building Department
had no problems with the shed as long as it would be
kept off the easement would be kept 6' from the
Chairman Stepnak stated that he would probably be
the only who has a problem with it. He stated that
when he was on the Planning Commission and when the
subdivisions were laid out, it was felt that the
corner lots would actually have two front yards and
there should not be a tunnel effect down the
roadway. At that time, they wanted to keep the
fences out and now he does not like the idea of
putting a structure in the second front yard. He
feels the shed should be tucked behind the house.
He asked if the shed was metal?
Petitioner answered no it was a rubber shed.
Chairman Stepnak asked if the petitioner still
needed a ratwall?
Petitioner answered according to the Building
Department he needed a ratwall because the size of
the shed was bigger than 4' x 6'.
Chairman Stepnak stated that he knew the shed was
in the wrong place right now and he does not see why
the shed could not be move in another place in the
yard. He feels this would deviate from how the
subdivisions were laid out.
There were no public comments.
Ms. Orewyler read a positive letter from Kelly
Kobylski which was retained for the ZBA records.
Mr. Leonard stated that because the area is
screened and pushed back, he did not really have a
problem with it.
Mr. Klonowski stated that if you move the shed
closer, it would still be on the front yard Chairman
Stepnak stated that he thought that shed should
still be tucked behind the house and should be
shielded from the road.
Petitioner stated as lady suggested, placing
another bush in front of the shed would be something
he would be willing to do if it would help in the
Motion by Mr. DeMuynck to approve petition
#2009-03 to allow a 10’ x 6" x 7’ to be located in
the front yard due to corner lot location.
Supported by Mr. Blake
Ms. Orewyler stated she would like to add that
the petitioner put a bush in the corner of the fence
by the gate. So that the shed would not be visible
from the road. She believed that the petitioner does
have a practical difficulty looking at his easements
in the back and the location of the utility boxes.
Petitioner would also have to abide by all the
requirements of the Building Department.
Mr. Shortt asked where Ms. Orewyler wanted the
petitioner to put the bush?
Ms. Orewyler stated that it should be put by the
gate where it would shield the shed from the road.
Petitioner said that when he came in front of the
board for the fence eight years ago he already had
the arborvitaes planted and the berm. The reason he
put the arborvitaes in was because the developer of
the subdivision told him he would disallow the fence
if the petitioner did not plant the arborvitaes.
When the property was rezoned for the fence, someone
on the committee had a problem with the petitioner
blocking the view for the traffic and told him the
variance would be granted as long as the petitioner
did not plant any more shrubs and further block the
view for cars coming around the corner. The
petitioner reiterated that he had no problem with
planting another bush by the gate.
Chairman Stepnak asked the petitioner if he
understood where he would be required to plant the
Petitioner answered yes, he would put a bush in
just the east of where the fence ends by the gate on
the interior of the fence to help block the view of
Ayes: DeMuynck, Leonard, Orewyler and Blake
Nays: Stepnak and Klonowski Motion Granted
5. ZBA PETITION # 2009-04: Sandra Kinsella, 32925
Sutton Road, Chesterfield, MI 48047. Requesting a
variance to be 232’ over allowable square footage
for an accessory structure, 920’ allowed, 1152" is
proposed. Also to allow the existing garage to
remain until the new garage is erected. Request is
for the address stated above.
Sandra Kinsella, 32925 Sutton Road, Chesterfield,
MI addressed the board.
Petitioner stated that she purchased her home on
Sutton in August. She has been working very hard in
the yard to try to improve the property. She would
like a new garage because the old garage stands
right in front of the house. She would like to
improve the looks of the home and the property.
Mr. DeMuynck asked if the petitioner owned two
separate lots or was the property all one lot?
Petitioner answered that as far as she knew there
were two lots.
Mr. DeMuynck asked if the house was on one lot
and the petitioner wanted to put the garage on the
Petitioner answered yes. She stated that she did
not know if they would have to combine the lots.
Mr. DeMuynck commented that was what they were
discussing prior, He does not have a problem with
the structure because there are a lot of large
garages on Sutton with the size of the lots. The
only problem would be that the petitioner cannot
just build a garage on a lot in this Township. He
asked Chairman Stepnak whether that was correct?
Chairman Stepnak agreed with Mr. DeMuynck
Mr. DeMuynck stated that his condition on the
approval of the variance would be that both pieces
of property would have to be combined into one
Chairman Stepnak stated that the property would
have to be combined otherwise the garage would be
placed on a totally different parcel from the home.
The petitioner could be approved subject to the lots
being combined into one parcel. He stated that the
reason would be that the petitioner would then be
able to sell the property with just a garage on it.
He added that if the board would approve the
variance, the petitioner has six months to apply for
permits. Therefore, the petitioner would have to
move quickly to get things down in that time period.
Mr. DeMuynck stated that he has lived in that
area for 30 years and what that place was and what
it looks like today it totally different. The
petitioners have done a lot of work on the property
and a lot of dumpsters have gone out of there.
A gentleman with the petitioner addressed the
board. (He did not sign in at the podium)
Gentleman stated that there are no blueprints at
this time, however, he can get those in three or
Mr. DeMuynck stated that his only concern would
be to combine the two lots into one parcel and then
he would not have any problem with approving the
Mr. Blake had no questions at that time.
Mr. Klonowski commented that there were a lot of
large garages in that area. He asked if they were
all granted variances.
Chairman Stepnak stated that everything is
granted on its own merit. Sutton basically was a
cottage community at one time and then it was
developed into a place with year round homes. It
depends how prevalent the Building Department was at
the different periods of time. Some people came in
and were granted variances. The board has always
looked at Sutton and the waterfront area as being
unique and different. Most of the homes in that area
do not have basements and are built on crawl spaces,
therefore, those properties do need the additional
storage space. So there may be larger garages due to
the nature of the property in that area.
There was a discussion among the board on how
granting certain variances could in some way change
Ms. Orewyler had no comments.
Mr. Blake asked if the electrical pole would be
in the way?
Gentleman stated that it was about 15' away from
Mr. Blake asked if the petitioner was planning to
tear down the lean-to?
Petitioner answered yes, the lean-to was coming
Mr. Leonard explained that the reason he did not
have an issue with the variance was because the
petitioner does not have a basement and the size of
the lot. There are circumstances that are unique to
this property that do not always apply to other
variances. Looking at this petition on its own merit
there are a couple of things that just jump out. He
asked as far as the separate parcels, if the
petitioner got one tax bill or two?
Petitioner answered that she received two tax
Mr. Leonard commented that his property has
multiple parcel numbers, but the lots were combined.
He does not have a problem with approving the
variance as long as the two lots are combined. The
second lot is not a buildable lot however, if it was
separate; it could be sold off.
Petitioner stated that she figured she would have
to combine the lots.
There was a letter in favor of the petitioner
building the garage that was signed by the following
neighbors on Sutton: Max and Kathleen Stoll, Russ
Pachon, Randall Bundak, Joseph DeLisi, Gary Sirouet,
and Cindy Martin. The document was retained for the
Mr. Shortt stated that the garage would have to
have a 12" x 42" footing, the roofs edge of the
garage has to be three feet from that utility line
and the structure must be as least 10' from the
home. The Building Department does not really have a
problem with the it.
Mr. Tom Sellnack, 32945 Sutton, Chesterfield, MI
addressed the board.
Mr. Sellnack stated that he lived in the
neighborhood for 48 years and he just wanted someone
to explain what the petitioner planned to do.
Mr. Shortt explained the variance to the
petitioner to his satisfaction.
Chairman Stepnak stated that the two lots would
have to be combined and it would keep the integrity
of the community. They have cleaned the property and
he does not have a problem with the larger garage
because it would not impede the neighbors view.
Mr. Leonard asked if roof and the siding of the
structure would match the existing home?
Petitioner answered yes the roof the siding of
the garage would match the home.
Mr. Leonard asked if the petitioner would be
Gentleman stated not at this time.
Mr. Leonard explained that the only utility that
would be allowed in the garage would be electricity.
The petitioner could not put gas or water in the
Chairman Stepnak asked if the petitioner planned
to run a business out of the structure?
Petitioner answered no, she just needs the garage
Chairman Stepnak asked if the petitioner would
sign an affidavit stating that no one would run a
business out of the structure?
Petitioner stated that she would sign it.
Motion by Ms. Orewyler to approve Petition #
2009-04 at 32925 Sutton Road for a variance to be
232’ over allowable square footage for an accessory
structure with the stipulation that the two lots are
combined into one. The petitioner would have to
abide by all the rules of the Building Department.
The only utility allowed in the structure would be
electricity and the petitioner would not be allowed
to run a business out of the structure and must sign
an affidavit to that effect. The siding and the roof
of the garage must match that of the home. Also, the
petitioner must also tear down the old garage.
Supported by Mr. DeMuynck
Mr. Leonard stated they should address the time
frame for the removal of the existing garage. Maybe
the petitioner should have to tear down the old
garage before getting the approval on the new one.
He stated that once the petitioner gets the approval
on the new garage, before the approval is actually
signed and given to the petitioner; the existing
garage must be demolished.
Chairman Stepnak stated that way the petitioner
would not be able to use the new garage, while the
old one is still standing.
Mr. DeMuynck stated that the new garage would be
built and before the petitioner got the C of O, the
old garage would have to be demolished before the
petitioner got the paperwork
Petitioner stated that would be fine, she wants
the property to look nice.
Mr. Leonard asked if that could be included in
Ms. Orewyler agreed
Mr. DeMuynck continued support.
Nay: None Motion Granted
6. ZBA PETITION # 2009-05: Erik Heiderer, for the
residence located at 28925 Field, Chesterfield, MI
48047. Variance request is to add in bulk & area to
an existing nonconforming structure by adding a 2nd
story. No Change in footprint. Request is for the
address stated above.
Erik Heiderer, 44045 Gratiot, Clinton Township,
MI addressed the board.
Petitioner stated that he was asking for a
variance to add bulk to an existing house. There are
a couple of practical difficulties on the existing
site. The house is already on the rear yard setback.
It is a very small narrow home on a small,
triangle-shaped lot. The house is currently
one-bedroom and they would like to add a second
story onto the house. The owner is married with a
child and they need to renovate the home and bring
it up to today's standards. They are dealing with
already being on the rear yard setback and also have
to deal with front yard setbacks that would hinder
the expansion of the home. The renovation of the
house would meet all the height restrictions and
would be in compliance with all the other building
codes. Petitioner stated that he had a letter from
the neighbors on the west who are in favor of the
Mr. Klonowski stated that the real issue would be
that the new home would increase the non-conformity
of the property.
Petitioner stated that they would not be changing
the footprint of the home. They would only be going
Mr. Klonowski stated that his understanding of
non-conforming is that there is really nothing that
can be done with it.
Chairman Stepnak explained that when there is a
non-conforming use the board kind of looks at the
area. In the days of old, that area was pretty much
a cottage community and the board should take that
into consideration. As a rule, the Township does not
want a continuing use of non-conforming; they would
like to do away with it. However, the ZBA should
consider if the change would be better than the home
staying as it is now.
Mr. Klonowski stated that he was looking at
Section 76-612 and the circled part was b.: in his
mind, that did not apply. However, part d. of the
ordinance which deals with modifications would seem
more appropriate. He read part d. "Permit such
modification of the height and area regulations as
may be necessary to secure and appropriate
improvement of a lot which is of such shape, or so
located with relation to surrounding development or
physical characteristics, that is cannot otherwise
be appropriately, improved without such
modification". He stated that part d. sounded like
the petitioner would be able to make the
improvements. He asked Chairman Stepnak if that was
Chairman Stepnak stated that the board could go
ahead and approve the petition and okay the
improvements. He explained that Chesterfield is
unique because of the waterfront and the changes
that have taken place from when it was just a
cottage community. The board should take that into
consideration instead of being concerned about how
the ordinance reads word for word. Chesterfield has
a lot of unique areas that the board must take into
Mr. Blake asked what the petitioner was proposing
to put upstairs?
Petitioner replied that they would be putting
three bedrooms upstairs, one master bedroom and two
smaller bedrooms, and two bathrooms.
Mr. Blake asked what the outside of the home
would look like? What kind of materials would be
used in the construction?
Petitioner answered that he house at the present
time was brick. They were planning to repaint the
brick and use a decorative fiber cement siding.
Mr. Blake asked what they would be doing on the
Petitioner explained they would be using a gable
with a hip roof with fiber cement siding and windows
that would match what is already there. The house is
on a slab and there is no storage and no garage. The
homeowners just want to be in line with everything
else in the neighborhood. He added that it is a
unique triangle shaped lot.
Mr. DeMuyck asked Mr. Shortt if the petitioner
would be able to add the second story on to the home
which is on a slab? Would there have to be some kind
Mr. Shortt asked first of all if the petitioner
was in a flood zone? He asked if the petitioner had
to pay flood insurance over there?
Petitioner answered yes. He explained that part
of the interior is a block/brick and they would have
to dig up the footing and put a 12" x 42" in there.
Mr. Shortt asked who the petitioner was?
He stated that he is the architect on the
Mr. Shortt stated that the petitioner would be
providing the Building Department drawings. He added
that the the first thing the petitioner had to do
would be to raise the home out of the flood zone.
Petitioner agreed with him.
Mr. Shortt stated that they would need to raise
the first floor up to 581’.
Petitioner stated that they were not planning on
Mr. Shortt asked how much the homeowner thought
the renovation would cost?
Homeowner addressed the board. (He did not sign
in at the podium)
The homeowner stated he guessed that it would
cost between $100,000 to $150,000. He planned to
keep the kitchen area and bathroom the same and then
raising it from there out on to a crawl space.
Mr. Shortt stated that everything needed to come
up to 581’; that would include all the mechanical,
everything. The whole house has to be raised up to
581’ and the footings have to be certified that it
will support the second story.
Mr. DeMuynck asked how long the homeowner lived
on the property?
Homeowner stated that he has lived there since
Mr. DeMuynck stated that the petitioner has not
seen high water. He explained that he has lived here
all his life and he remembers seeing sandbagging in
that area. The water has been low, but it is coming
Mr. Shortt stated that he did not want to
discourage the homeowner, but there are state laws
that have to be followed. The good thing is after
the home is removed from the flood zone the
homeowner would save about $1,000 on flood
Mr. Blake asked how much higher the home would
have to be raised?
Mr. Shortt stated that the first floor had to be
Ms. Orewyler asked how they would raise up the
Mr. Shortt stated that they would raise up the
house and put some blocks underneath it.
Mr. DeMuynck asked if they would have to remove
Mr. Shortt stated possibly, however, he has seen
brick homes moved with angle iron that were jacked
up. He explained that the home would have to be
reasonably safe from flooding, and must be able to
resist flotation. The petitioner would also have to
put flood vents in there. The whole thing would have
to be designed by the architect or engineer.
Chairman Stepnak stated that the board could move
with what was in front of them and the homeowner
just needs to understand that he must abide by rules
and regulations of the Building Department.
Mr. Leonard stated that it looks as thought the
house sits lower than 581’, but they would have to
have a survey. Chances are it is not at 581’, but
who knows where it is at.
Mr. Shortt stated that the first thing the
petitioner needed to do was to get a surveyor and
elevation certificate to determine where the slab is
at. If the home is at 581’ they would need to
certify that it would support the second story.
Mr. Leonard commented that Monday the wind was
blowing so hard that water was going over the
seawalls. He stated that when this original
structure was built there possibly were no
ordinances. This is probably the only lot in
Chesterfield that is this shape and it is one of a
kind. He would not have a problem with the variance
because the petitioner is not changing the footprint
of the home. He also noticed a small structure that
looked like a garage and he assumed it was on the
property at one time and was removed.
Petitioner verified that the garage had been
Mr. Leonard asked if they were talking about the
Petitioner replied that they were only
petitioning for the house itself.
Mr. Leonard stated that he did not have a problem
with the variance.
Ms. Orewyler commented that the property was very
uniquely shaped at the extreme southeastern corner
of the Township. She stated that if the petitioner
can abide by everything Mr. Shortt has laid out she
does not have a problem with granting the variance.
Something needs to be done on the lot and she would
assume that lot will be cleaned up because it is a
Petitioner stated that was one of the reasons
they were doing this.
Ms. Orewyler read a letter in favor of granting
the variance from Mr. and Mrs. James Shields and Mr.
and Mrs. Charles Storck. The letter was retained for
the ZBA's records.
There were no public comments.
Chairman Stepnak reminded the petitioner that if
the petition is approved the clock starts ticking
and there is a time frame of six months to get
permits. He wanted to make the petitioner aware that
the ZBA has granted extensions in the past, because
he feels the petitioner has a lot a work in front of
Motion by Mr. DeMuynck to approve Petition #
2009-05 for the variance request to add bulk and
area to an existing nonconforming structure by
adding a 2nd story. The only conditions would be
that the petitioner meet all the building
requirements that were stated previously by Mr.
Supported by Mr. Blake
Mr. Klonowski asked if it could be added to the
motion that consideration for approval was granted
because there was no change in the footprint of the
home and approval would help match this home to the
Mr. DeMuynck agreed to amend the motion
Mr. Blake continued support.
7. NEW BUSINESS:
There was no new business.
8. OLD BUSINESS:
Chairman Stepnak stated that he was concerned
about the signage in the Township. At one time the
Township really beat up places like the gas station
on 23 and Donner and Tom's Mini Mart because of
their signs. Now however, he has to wonder if a lot
of the signs in that area have been approved. He
just wondered if anyone was out their policing the
area at this time.
Mr. Shortt stated that Nancy has been off on a
workers compensation claim and Mr. St. Germaine has
been chasings down businesses for their
registrations so that they pay the Township for
their licenses. He will have someone look into the
9. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PRIOR MEETING.
Motion by Ms. Orewyler to approve the minutes of
the meeting on 2-11-09
Supported by Mr. Blake
Nays: None Motion Granted
10. COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR:
Chairman Stepnak asked if the board members were
aware that Norm Davis passed away. He was the prior
Chairman of the ZBA. He stated that Mr. Davis was a
real asset to the community. He thanked Mr. Shortt
for attending the meeting.
Motion by Mr. DeMuynck to adjourn at 8:11 PM
Supported by Chairman Stepnak
Nays: None Motion Granted
Nancy Orewyler, Secretary
Grace Mastronardi, Recording Secretary