Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes - May 13, 2009
THE CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
May 13, 2009
On May 13, 2009, a regular meeting of the
Chesterfield Township Zoning Board of Appeals was
held at the Township Hall located at 47275 Sugarbush,
Chesterfield Twp., Michigan 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 it was the third
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 # 2009-06: Gail L. Madden 46788
Jefferson, Chesterfield, MI 48047. Requesting a
variance for a 3rd story addition and an 8’ height
variance for a proposed master suite with a window’s
peak to an existing residence. Located is the
address stated above.
Leonard Stopczynski, 46788 Jefferson,
Chesterfield, MI 48047 addressed the board.
Petitioner stated that he was requesting put a
two story addition on to their house with a loft
which would be like a third story or 2 ½ story
Mr. Blake stated that he had no questions at that
Ms. Orewyler commented that the plans appeared to
be for a four story home. She stated that the
measurements were taken from the top story not from
the ground level.
Petitioner answered that was what the Township
required, from the first soffit.
Ms. Orewyler disagreed and stated that it would
have to be 28' from the ground, not from the
Petitioner stated in that case, he was
misinformed because he thought measurements would be
taken from the first soffit.
Chairman Stepnak asked Mr. Shortt to elaborate on
Mr. Shortt explained that the 28' was half the
distance from one point to another point on the
plans. He continued to discuss the matter with the
petitioner which was off the microphone and
Chairman Stepnak verified with the petitioner
that the board was still looking on an additional
story to be added on to the home. He asked if that
Petitioner answered yes. Essentially the home
would be a two-story with a loft. He equated it to
be like good use of attic space. It would not be a
full fourth story, excuse me, a third story; it
would just be a loft to look down into the second
Mr. Klonowski stated that he did not see the
practical difficulty to grant a variance and the
proposed home would not match the existing homes in
the area. The houses in the area are all single and
two-story homes and this would be out of character.
Chairman Stepnak explained that the Township does
give people the option to come before the board to
plead their case to break the rules. However, the
petitioner must prove a practical difficulty to
justify the need for the additional story to be
built onto the home.
Petitioner stated that the reason he started this
was because the house is on a small lot and there is
no room for expansion any where else but up. He
explained that they have no storage space and they
do not even have room for a shed on the lot.
Therefore, they decided to go up and possibly get
some room to move around their home and have a place
for storage. He has no basement for storage and the
garage is so small, he cannot even fit a full size
vehicle in there.
Mr. DeMuynck asked if the petitioner's were the
original owners of the home?
Petitioner answered that they did not have the
house built, but they are the original owners.
Mr. DeMuynck commented that he knew the home
already had one variance approved for a side-yard
Petitioner stated that he did not get the
variance on the property.
Mr. DeMuynck stated that he remembered the matter
came in front of the Township Board. He explained
that has a problem with the petitioner's building a
third story. It would not fit in with other
properties in the area or on Jefferson. He
understands that the petitioner's want a view to see
the lake but looking at the back yard there is a
large telephone pole with wires and there is also a
huge tree to the east. Therefore, to would still be
rather difficult to see the lake.
Petitioner commented that they stood on it and
they would be able to see the lake. He brought up
the fact that he had pictures of different homes in
the area. He stated that no two homes in that area
of Jefferson are alike. He claimed that all the
homes vary in size, shape and style. He added that
as far as staying in the flavor of what is there
already; there is no flavor. He reiterated that all
the homes vary and there are no two houses on
Jefferson that are exactly alike.
Mr. Leonard asked who obtained the first variance
that was granted for the home?
Petitioner answered the variance was granted to
the builders of the home. The home was changed from
the original plans several times before it was
Mr. Leonard stated that without the original
variance the house would have even been smaller.
Petitioner reiterated that was the reason he
decided to go up because there was no room on the
lot for an expansion of the home.
Mr. Leonard stated that building up is allowed as
long as the petitioner's keep the height within the
ordinance. He stated that he agrees with his
colleague that he was looking for a hardship or
practical difficulty. He stated that the petitioner
could add on more space to the home without going as
tall as the petitioner's intend to go.
Petitioner explained that in order to do that, he
would have to add on to both sides of the house and
that would be quite extensive. He would just like to
build on one side of the home.
Mr. Leonard commented that he had a tough time
accepting this major height variance.
Petitioner stated that it would be within the
Mr. Leonard stated that it would not be within
the ordinance, because if that was the case, the
petitioner did not need to be there.
Petitioner claimed the only thing higher would be
the widow's peak and the third story loft.
Mr. Leonard explained that both those items are
part of the height. He commented that he built a
home in that area in 2001, and it was on a big lot
;he had to stay within the height and his neighbors
all had to stay within the height restrictions.
Chairman Stepnak verified with the petitioner if
the drawing he had in his hand was the most accurate
drawing of the plans. He just wanted to make sure
the board was aware of what they were moving on that
Jerry Seepas, 46606 Summertime, Chesterfield, MI
48047 addressed the board.
Mr. Seepas made positive comments in favor of the
board granting the variance.
Chairman Stepnak stated that the normal mailing
did go out to residents in the vicinity and was
published in the community paper.
Mr. Shortt commented that structurally the
petitioner could make the addition work. The
Building Department would not have a problem with
Mr. Leonard asked if the petitioner made any
attempt to have an architect draw up some plans that
would fit in the ordinance as far as the height?
Petitioner stated that before building anything
they would have an architect draw up some plans and
make sure everything is ok.
Mr. Leonard asked if the petitioner had a
professional look at the plans to try to make it fit
within the ordinance?
Petitioner stated that he consulted an architect,
but they are very expensive and he did not want to
pay someone before he knew how far he could go with
Chairman Stepnak explained that there are very
few homes in the community with a third story. He
added that the petitioner would need to prove a
practical difficulty for adding a third story to a
home. Many times the board looks at various
different things that people want to do along the
water. However, in this case the board is dealing
with an additional height and the board also must
look at how this would affect the neighborhood and
the way the area has been developed.
Motion by Ms. Orewyler to deny petition # 2009-06
at 46788 Jefferson, Chesterfield, MI for lack of a
Supported by Mr. Blake
Nay: None Motion Granted
Chairman Stepnak polled the board for additional
Ms. Orewyler stated that the variance would be
out of character for the neighborhood.
Mr. Blake commented that it would not fit in with
Mr. Leonard explained that an addition could be
built without infringing on the height. He added
that he recognized how nice the modifications that
the petitioner has made have been. The petitioners
have done a lot of work on the property and
everything looks very good. However, the practical
difficulty to approve the variance was not there.
Mr. Klonowski stated that it was contrary to the
spirit and intent of the ordinance.
Mr. DeMuynck stated that he concurred with Mr.
Leonard. He had no problem with the petitioner
putting an addition on to his home as long as it
would be within the height restrictions.
Chairman Stepnak explained that he did not
believe the petitioner proved a practical difficulty
and it would deviate from the intended spirit of the
5. ZBA PETITION # 2009-07: Curtis Williams, 50353
Foxcrest, Chesterfield, MI 48047. Variance request
for a 12’ x 16 shed in lieu of the 10’ x 12’
ordinance allows. Location is the address stated
Curtis Williams, 50353 Foxcrest, Chesterfield, MI
48047 addressed the board. Petitioner stated
that he was requesting a variance for a 12’ x 16’
shed in lieu of the 10’ x 12’ ordinance allows. He
explained that he lives on a corner lot and he needs
more storage room for all his lawn and snow removal
equipment. He has a garage that is really packed. He
stated that he also has a shed on the property at
this time that is falling down and he would like to
tear that shed down and replace it with a new one at
he back corner of his lot. He explained that
basically he does not have enough room to store
items such as: yard tools, lawn equipment and snow
removal equipment. He would like to get a bigger
lawnmower because of the size of his corner lot.
Mr. Blake asked so basically you practical
difficulty would be a lack of space?
Petitioner answered yes.
Mr. Blake asked if the petitioner would be able
to cut the size of the shed down by a couple of
Petitioner answered that it would be possible,
but he does have quite a few things and the would
not gain any space because he would just be emptying
out his old shed and putting his things in the new
Mr. Blake asked if the petitioner put in the
concrete driveway currently on the property?
Petitioner answered no, it was already there when
he purchased the property.
Mr. Blake asked if the original shed was already
on the property?
Petitioner answered yes. He explained that the
original shed was built on the property easement and
the new shed would be moved over and away from that
Mr. Blake commented that he was aware that the
petitioner has a very small garage.
Mr. Klonowski commented that he did not see any
other sheds that large in the neighborhood. So, to
him, this large shed would be a little out of
character for the area.
Ms. Orewyler stated that she did know the
petitioners and she wanted to bring that up and make
the other board members aware of that fact. She
explained that the petitioners always keep their
property up beautifully and it always looks great.
They are on a corner lot. The garage is small. The
petitioner does have a lot of work tools and the
shed would not just be for toys. She does appreciate
the fact that the petitioner would like to put the
shed at the back corner of his lot.
Mr. DeMuynck commented that the petitioner's
garage is only 520 square feet and adding the 192'
would only put him at 712'. Therefore, he does not
have a problem with it. The petitioner is willing to
put the shed in the back yard and is willing to take
down the old metal shed.
Mr. Leonard stated that he drove around the
petitioner’s neighborhood and he did notice a couple
of sheds. They were not on corner lots. Those sheds
were on middle lots, which are smaller. A few of the
sheds looked bigger that 10' x 12'. He stated
that a lot of the homes in that area have small lots
and the garages are in the back yards and then there
is not a lot of room to throw up another shed.
The petitioner has a large 90' lot and there is
no other way to add on to the size of the existing
garage. So, even though the shed would be a little
bit bigger, as Mr. DeMuynck mentioned it would still
be under the allowable space. He asked the
petitioner if he knew the height of the shed?
Petitioner answered that the shed would be under
the 16' height requirement. He added that if would
be 8' walls and a 6/12 pitch, therefore, the shed
would probably be 14' high.
Mr. Leonard reiterated that because of lack of
space and the large size of the lot, he does not
have a problem it.
Chairman Stepnak stated that the shed would be
tucked behind the petitioner's home and would not be
seen. The shed would be a little bit over on space.
He commends the petitioner for getting rid of the
old metal shed right there on the roadway. The
petitioner would really be improving his property.
He added that the petitioner because of the large
lot does have a need for additional storage and he
does like the placement of the new shed.
Ms. Orewyler read a letter that was in favor of
the variance being granted that was signed by the
following neighbors: Brian Hubbert, Ken Loppak,
Kevin Rosin, Chris Trinity, Rosalind Alongi, Diana
Ciaravina, Sezda Kalata, Gary Typinski, and Dennis
Hartman. The letter was retained for the ZBA's
Mr. Shortt stated that the Building Department
did not have a problem with the shed. He explained
that if the variance does get approved the Building
Department would not final out the shed until the
old metal one is removed. He asked if the board
would allow the petitioner to keep the concrete
The board agreed that they did not have a problem
with the petitioner keeping the concrete drive.
Mr. Shortt asked if the old shed had a ratwall?
Petitioner answered no. He stated that he planned
to remove the old shed.
Mr. Shortt reiterated that the Building
Department did not have a problem with the shed.
Ms. Orewyler asked what kind of material the
petitioner planned to use for the siding of the
Petitioner answered that he got pricing for T1
-11, but he thought he would go with vinyl siding
for the structure.
Motion by Mr. Leonard to approve Petition #
2009-07 to allow a 12’ x 16 shed in lieu of the 10’
x 12’ ordinance allows.
Supported by Mr. DeMuynck
Mr. Leonard added that the metal shed must be
removed before the approval of the new shed. The
concrete drive would remain on the property. The
petitioner would be allowed to install electricity
in the shed. The reason for approval of the variance
would be a practical difficulty that exists because
the petitioner would not be able to expand his
garage and the petitioner’s need for storage space.
Mr. DeMuynck continued support.
Nay: None Motion Granted
6. OLD BUSINESS:
There was no old business.
7. NEW BUSINESS:
There was no new business
8. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PRIOR MEETING.
Motion by Ms. Orewyler to approve the minutes of
the April 22, 2009 meeting
Supported by Mr. Leonard
Nays: None Motion Granted
9. COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR:
Chairman Stepnak thanked Mr. Shortt from the
Building Department for attending the meeting.
Motion by Mr. DeMuynck to adjourn at 7:39 PM.
Supported by Mr. Klonowski
Nays: None Motion Granted
Nancy Orewyler, Secretary
Grace Mastronardi, Recording Secretary