Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes - May 27, 2009
THE CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
May 27, 2009
On May 27, 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 7:15 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
Gerald Blake, excused
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The recording secretary was not present and the
board attempted to contact Ms. Mastronardi. There
was a discussion among the board and it was decided
that they would not proceed with the meeting without
a recording secretary.
Meeting resumed at 7:40 PM upon the arrival of
the recording secretary.
Chairman Stepnak explained the procedures to the
audience. He stated that this was the fifth meeting
in a row that the board had no representation from
the Planning Commission.
4. ZBA PETITION # 2009-08: Paul and Kathy Cook,
47241 Sugarbush, Chesterfield, MI 48047. Requesting
a 13’ rear yard setback variance to be 257’ over on
square footage for accessory building for a proposed
addition to an existing attached garage. Located at
the address above.
Kathy Cook, 47241 Sugarbush, Chesterfield, MI
48047 addressed the board.
Petitioner stated that they were requesting to
expand their existing garage by 18" and building to
the back of the property in order to place a third
vehicle in the back. They would like to put their
vehicles in the garage, so their children can play
in the driveway because there are no sidewalks for
them to ride their bikes on Sugarbush. The proposed
addition would be 18' x 24' in size and would bring
the back of the garage 22' away from the property
line. Currently the garage is 35' from the property
line; therefore, they would need a 13' variance for
the rear yard set back. The size of the proposed
garage would then be 470 square feet over the
allowable square footage. She added that there was a
question on how they would enter the garage. She
explained that the addition would be built on the
back of the existing garage, so the front of the
home would not look any different. She stated that
they did have a two-car garage at the present time
with two doors. They have contacted both of their
next door neighbors and both stated the change would
be fine with them. She had an architect draw up
preliminary plans; however, they do not show any
details because the architect did not want them to
pay for the actual plans, in case the variance was
not approved by the board. The plan was to enter the
garage from one single door on the side and not have
a three-car garage facing the street on Sugarbush
Chairman Stepnak asked if the petitioner had any
documentation from the neighbors with whom she
discussed the addition to the garage?
Petitioner answered yes that she had submitted a
signed letter from both neighbors in the paperwork.
Ms. Orewyler asked the petitioner if she would
like to access the garage addition from a single
door on the side?
Petitioner answered yes or they could have no
door and pull all the way thru the garage.
Ms. Orewyler asked if it would be open area or be
blocked off from the entire garage?
Petitioner answered ideally she would like to
have it blocked off.
Ms. Orewyler commented that the petitioners do
own an acre of land and it is a beautiful piece of
property. She asked if the petitioners currently
have heat in the garage?
Petitioner stated yes.
Ms. Orewyler asked if there was water?
Petitioner answered yes. She added that the
previous owners had dog kennels back there with heat
Ms. Orewyler asked if the previous owner ran a
business out of the garage?
Petitioner answered no, the previous owner was
her mother and she just liked dogs. She explained
that her mother was a nurse and she showed her dogs.
The dogs were not bred and sold on the property. She
used that portion of the garage to bath and groom
Mr. DeMuynck asked what size garage door the
petitioner planned to put there?
Paul Cook, 47241 Sugarbush, Chesterfield, MI
48047 addressed the board.
Mr. Cook stated that he planned to put a 10'
Mr. Leonard asked if the existing building was
all garage at the present time?
Mr. Cook answered that there was a 12' room in
the back where the dogs were kept.
Mr. Leonard asked so there is a partition wall
between the garage and kennel area?
Mr. Cook replied yes.
Petitioner remarked that there is also a six inch
step that goes into that back area.
Mr. Leonard asked so driving through the area is
Petitioner answered no.
Mr. Leonard asked if the addition would match the
rest of the garage?
Mr. Cook answered that they would try to match
the same brick and roof as the home. They just want
to extend it out a little bit.
Mr. Leonard stated that he did not have any
problems with it.
Ms. Orewyler read the letter from the
petitioner's neighbors, Mark and Doris Babich and
Hank and Nancy Horodyskyj. The letter was in favor
of the board granting the variance and was retained
for the Zoning Board's records.
Mr. Shortt stated that the Building Department
did not have any problems with the addition to the
There were no public comments.
Chairman Stepnak stated that the petitioner's
have a large parcel of land and the addition would
not affect the character of the area.
Mr. Leonard stated that he agreed with the
Chairman. He explained that no one would even know
anything was changed back there. It would all be
hidden from the front of the house and the
petitioners have a very large lot with many trees.
There aren't any neighbors in back.
Ms. Orewyler asked if the petitioner's planned to
leave the shed up?
Mr. Cook stated that if the garage addition is
approved, he planned to remove the shed.
Motion by Mr. DeMuynck to approve Petition #
Supported by Mr. Leonard
Chairman Stepnak stated that the reason for
granting the petition would be that the petitioner
has a large parcel of property, the addition on the
garage would fit in that area of the community. The
practical difficulty in this case would be with the
large lot, the petitioners need more space for
equipment to maintain the property.
Ms. Orewyler added that no water would be allowed
in the addition. Furthermore, she stated that no
business would be run out of the structure and the
petitioners must sign an affidavit to that effect.
Chairman Stepnak stated that the petitioners
would have to sign a recordable affidavit stating
that they would not run a business out of the
garage. He asked if the petitioners had a problem
Petitioner answered no.
Mr. DeMuynck agreed to add the Chairman Stepnak's
and Ms. Orewyler's additions to the motion.
Mr. Leonard continued support.
Nay: None Motion Granted
5. ZBA PETITION # 2009-09: Thomas L. Terzo, 51921
N. Adele Circle, Chesterfield, MI 48047. Requesting
a variance for a second garage and to be 122’ over
the allowed square footage on accessory buildings
for 24’ x 26’ detached garage. Located at the above
Thomas L. Terzo, 51921 N. Adele Circle,
Chesterfield, MI 48047 addressed the board.
Petitioner stated that he was requesting a
variance to build a second garage and to be 122'
over the allowed square footage with an accessory
building and garage attached to the home. He has
presented a detail drawing of the proposed building
and the driveway going along side the house. The
reason for requesting the structure would be that
they do not have enough room in the current garage.
It was the minimum size allowed when the house was
built in 1988. He stated that they purchased the
home in 1998. At that time, he would have been able
to complete the project without the variance, but
the ordinance was changed. He does not have enough
room in the garage for his vehicles and proper
storage of his yard equipment, tools, lawnmower and
He explained that currently they have a small
plastic shed which stored some of the equipment.
However, it is too small and the roof was blown off
about a month ago from a storm. He owns an older
Jeep that is in showroom condition that he would
like to keep in that garage and he would like to
park another of his vehicles in that garage to get
it off the street. He has had vehicles damaged while
parked in the roadway. Whether, it was intentional
or not, someone had keyed the paint on his vehicles.
He would like to get his vehicles off the street and
in a garage. Along side the house there is 17' which
would be enough to put a 14' driveway and still have
enough room to be off the neighbor's property.
Others in the subdivision have put in the same
driveway along side of their homes; however, they
have not put in the additional garage. The garage
would be off the property lines and easements. There
would be 25' between the house and the structure.
The driveway would be properly pitched to make sure
run-off is proper; so there would not be any
drainage issues. He reiterated that he would have
been able to complete the project without the
variance, but the ordinance was changed. Instead, he
put in a large pool and attached it to the deck
behind the home when he purchased it. At that time,
the kids were small and they used the pool. Now the
kids are big and one is going to college, so they do
not use the pool that much. Therefore, they are
currently removing the pool and tearing out the
attached deck to make room to put the garage in the
back. The garage would have the same appearance as
the home. It would have a brick front and vinyl
sides to match the wood of the house. The proposed
structure would be esthetically pleasing to the eye
and he would guarantee there would be no commercial
use of the building. It would just be for their
personal use. Last year they looked at different
properties and different homes and they decided that
instead of moving out of town and into a bigger lot
somewhere; they would like to stay here. They are
happy with the services in Chesterfield and they
like where they are at. He stated that his family
has supported the Police and Fire Departments here
and have supported the millages. He reiterated that
they would like to stay in the Township. He
commented that they discussed the plans with both of
their neighbors: Mr. Joseph Cada to the south at
51903 N. Adele Circle and Mr. Neal Hochstein to the
north at 51939 N. Adele Circle. These neighbors have
both stated to him that they do not have any
objection to the proposed building. Unfortunately,
he stated that he neglected to get something in
writing from either of his neighbors. He stated that
the neighbor to the rear of him is on an 8 acre
parcel with a huge field in back of them with the
home on Foster. He has not spoken with that
gentleman, however, he assumes that he got a letter
just like the other neighbors in the area and no one
has shown up to state that they had a problem.
Chairman Stepnak stated that the mailing did go
out to persons living at homes on N. Adele, Foster,
Lion's Pointe Drive, and Deborah Circle. There was
also notification to the public that was published
in the local newspaper.
Mr. Klonowski asked what was the triangular area
on the back of the house?
Petitioner stated that was his proposed drawing
for a patio. He stated that they have not decided if
it was going to be made of stamped concrete or black
concrete; but that is just going to be a patio area.
Mr. Klonowski asked if the new proposed structure
in back would be a two-car garage?
Petitioner answered yes.
Mr. Klonowski asked if there was already a
two-car garage on the house?
Petitioner answered yes, but the attached garage
is very small. They can barely get two vehicles in
Mr. Klonowski stated that in the Township in that
zoning area with that lot size, a homeowner is only
allowed up to a 3-car garage.
Petitioner stated that was why he came to the
board to request the variance. He reiterated that he
would have been able to complete the project without
the variance a few years ago when he purchased the
home, but the ordinance was changed. The proposed
structure would look good and would only add value
to the home and the property.
Mr. Leonard asked which vehicles would be used
for storage and which ones would be parked in the
Petitioner stated that the attached garage would
be used for his everyday vehicle and his wife’s
everyday vehicle. The garage in the back would be
for another vehicle and for storage of his
lawnmower, snow blower, garden tools, and all the
other items he has been trying to squeeze in his
Mr. Leonard stated that looking at the size of it
in proportion to the lot size; he is questioning the
double doors. The good part is that there is nobody
behind the petitioner's home. However, he has a
concern about the size of the structure in
proportion to the lot.
Petitioner suggested that he would be willing to
work with the size of the structure. He stated that
he could go smaller. He just wanted to shoot big.
Mr. DeMuynck stated that he is acquainted with
Mr. Terzo and his wife; they have all been in the
same field for about 20 years. He wanted that fact
to be known before the proceedings went any further.
He does not have a problem with the garage in back
of the home. He is not that far over the total
square footage allowed and the door situation he
would leave up to the remaining members of the
Ms. Orewyler asked if the utility boxes were on
the petitioner's property or the neighbor' property?
Petitioner stated that the utility boxes were on
the northwest corner of his property.
Ms. Orewyler asked it the utility boxes were in
Petitioner stated that the boxes were in the 12'
easement at the back of his property. The property
line is six feet away from those boxes. He stated
that the back of the garage would be a foot away
from the easement. .
Ms. Orewyler asked who the pine trees belongs to?
Petitioner explained that the pine trees did not
belong to him; they were his neighbors Neal
Hochstein to the north of his property. He stated
that Mr. Hochstein commented that he would not even
see the garage because his pine trees would block
the view. The previous owners planted them without
realizing how big they would get.
Ms. Orewyler stated that the petitioner is going
to know the pine trees are there because they are
going to be rubbing all over his siding.
Petitioner stated that the neighbor planned to
trim the pine trees.
Ms. Orewyler stated that the neighbor did not
write a letter and did not come to the meeting, but
the garage will impact those pine trees greatly. She
commented that she had a problem with the size of
the garage. She would like to see it a little bit
smaller and she definitely would not okay the 16'
door. That would give the petitioner room to store
four cars and historically, the ordinances have said
no to that. If the board lets the petitioner do it,
sooner or later, the board would have to let
everybody do it. Sometimes people rent the garages
out to other people and it is bad for the
Petitioner asked if she would be opposed to
down-sizing the structure?
Ms. Orewyler stated that she would not be opposed
if the petitioner down-sized the structure and put
in a smaller door?
Petitioner asked if he could possibly put a 14'
Mr. Leonard commented that he did not even think
they made 14' garage doors.
Petitioner stated that he even tossed around the
idea of putting two smaller doors, but that would
still give us a 4-car garage. He added that if he
cannot get a 16' door then he was sure someone made
a 14' door and he would go with that size.
Ms. Orewyler stated that if she made the motion
it would be for a 12' door.
Petitioner stated that if he had to go along with
a 12' door, he would go with the 12'.
Ms. Orewyler commented that a 12' door is
actually a decent sized garage door.
Petitioner commented that what he wants and what
he can get are probably two different things.
Ms. Orewyler asked what utilities the petitioner
wanted to put in this garage?
Petitioner stated that he would like to put
electric and heat in the structure.
Ms. Orewyler asked what kind of heat?
Petitioner answered gas radiant heat. There is
already power and gas run out to the back yard from
the box where the pool used to be. The lines are
still there. He explained that he would not be
installing the power and gas; he would have
professionals do it.
Mr. Shortt stated that the Building Department
does not have a problem with it.
Chairman Stepnak stated that he was not in favor
of the petition. It deviates from the original plans
of the subdivision, where the garages are attached
to the houses. Individuals may want to put a shed or
storage facility out back. He explained that by
putting the garage there, the board is looking at
additional concrete and additional structure. At
times, the board allows larger structures on a site
for lawn equipment on larger lots. The board is
adamant about not necessarily allowing additional
structures to store additional cars or toys. The
petitioner has an attached garage and he has a
problem with allowing an additional structure in the
back. However, he is looking at the ordinance, the
petitioner would be allowed to put a 20' x 20'
structure with a 12' door and he would not even need
to get a variance. He asked Mr. Shortt if his
interpretation of the ordinance was correct.
Mr. Shortt answered no. The petitioner would only
be allowed a 10' x 12' shed.
Petitioner stated that according to the ordinance
the second garage would not be allowed. He stated
that the garage would have been allowed if he built
it 10 years ago, but the ordinance was change about
5 or 6 years ago.
Mr. Leonard asked if the 920 square feet does not
allow the petitioner to have an accessory structure?
Mr. Shortt stated that if the petitioner could
add the additional structure to the existing garage.
Whether attached or detached, the petitioner would
be allowed one structure of up to 920 square feet.
He commented that if the petitioner converted the
present garage into a family room, he could build a
920 square foot accessory structure without a
variance and still have a 10' x 12' shed.
Ms. Orewyler stated that she drove up and down
the neighborhood, but she did not see anything like
this. She did see some oversized sheds, one which
looked at least 14' tall.
Petitioner commented that he drove around also
and saw some sheds and a lot of the driveways to the
Mr. Leonard commented that he thought most of
those driveways were used for storage of a trailer,
boat or an RV.
Chairman Stepnak stated that the basically the
board is looking at both the second structure and
being over the allowable square footage.
Ms. Orewyler stated that she had a problem with
the size of the garage. She explained that if it
could be made to look like a large shed, she could
see her way to allowing that. She asked how low the
petitioner was ready to go?
Petitioner stated that he needed the room to
properly store his other vehicle and equipment. If
he has to downsize, he would like to keep the depth
and make it narrower.
Ms. Orewyler stated that she is not allowed to
design this thing for the petitioner. He would have
to come up with the size structure and then it would
be up to the board to say yes or no.
Petitioner asked what about 22' x 26' or 20' x
26'? He commented then he would be able to keep the
depth of the structure and still have room.
Chairman Stepnak stated that the question would
be has the petitioner proven a practical difficulty
Mr. DeMuynck stated that the ongoing thing in
this Township with the outside storage, he
personally, would rather see things stored inside
than outside. He commented that many times he has
driven by homes that had jet skis, and trailers and
boats outside. He stated that if people want to
store these items in a garage and they are willing
to spend the money to build a decent garage let them
do it. He reiterated that he would rather see things
stored inside a garage, than outside or make someone
pay to put things away in a mini-storage.
Chairman Stepnak stated that the board will not
approve anything just for additional toys, there has
to be a practical difficulty. He commented that he
understood Mr. DeMuynck's point that putting things
inside a garage would look better and provide more
security. However, the board has taken the stand
that the petitioner must prove a practical
difficulty. The petitioner could add on to the
square footage of the garage. He asked the
petitioner the size of his current garage?
Petitioner answered 19' x 22'.
Mr. Shortt stated that it was 418 square feet. He
stated that if the petitioner made the attached
garage into a family room, he could build a 920’
accessory structure with a 10' x 12' shed and he
would not even need to be in front of the board.
Mr. Leonard stated that the existing is a small
two-car garage. However, if this would be approved,
then the whole subdivision may start requesting
accessory garages and it may get out of control. At
that point, it would seem why even have the
Petitioner stated that was one way to look at it.
He and his wife would like to stay in the Township
and they are willing to spend the money to put up a
nice looking building.
Mr. Leonard stated that the petitioner would be
allowed to put up a shed and the board has
entertained considerably larger sheds; but not to
the proportion that it's 26' x 20'. He added that
possibly the petitioner would consider something
about 14' x 20'.
Chairman Stepnak asked the petitioner what size
garage and door would he be comfortable with?
Petitioner answered what about a 12" door with a
garage 20' x 26'. He stated that would not be what
he wants, but he could work with it.
Chairman Stepnak asked if the material of the
proposed would match the petitioner's home?
Petitioner stated that it would match the color
scheme of the home with vinyl siding and a brick
front as it is in the front of the garage with coach
lights on it.
Mr. Leonard commented that he has a decent size
garage and he could not get a variance to make it a
three-car garage. He had to shrink it down and
eliminate the single door. So he has two vehicles in
the garage with some additional storage for items
and his daughter has to park her car outside. He
commented that he would like to keep everything
stored in his garage and hidden, but there is some
conformity that must be dealt with.
Petitioner asked if this variance is not approved
and he decided to go ahead with an oversized shed,
would he have to pay another $250 fee?
Mr. Leonard stated that if the petitioner decided
to down size the structure now, that would still be
under this petition.
Petitioner asked if he decided to stay with the
petition as it stands and it is turned down, he
would have to start the process all over again?
Chairman Stepnak answered yes.
Petitioner stated so the question would be was he
willing to gamble?
Chairman Stepnak stated that the petitioner is
requesting a second garage 20' x 26' with a 12' door
and the structure would match the same color scheme
as the home.
Motion by Mr. DeMuynck to approve Petition #
2009-09 with the following corrections: the size
would be 20' wide by 26' deep with a 12' door.
Supported by Chairman Stepnak
Ayes: DeMuynck, Stepnak and Leonard
Nays: Orewyler and Klonowski Motion Denied
Chairman Stepnak that there were three positive
votes and the motion was denied.
Mr. Leonard commented that two members of the
board were absent. He stated that if the board were
to table the petition to the next meeting...
Mr. DeMuynck commented that the next meeting has
Mr. Leonard asked if the petitioner would
possibly consider down-sizing the structure? He
explained that right now the vote was 3/2 and two
more members might not give the petitioner the votes
Chairman Stepnak stated that he went along with
the variance, but the structure really deviated the
way the subdivision was set up. Other people in the
subdivision do have driveways and pads to store RV's
and such, however, going with a garage behind the
house; he is not sure how the two absent members
would go with it. The board tried to in good faith,
bring the size of the structure down. The problem in
this case, would be the size of the lot.
Furthermore, the side of the house was not to put a
driveway in; it is to keep a buffer between the two
Mr. Leonard asked what the side lot setbacks were
Mr. Shortt answered 5' & 10' or 7' & 8'.
Chairman Stepnak commented some kind of
combination of 15'. He explained that the problem
was the petitioner needed four positive votes to
pass. He stated that he was sure Mr. Shortt from the
Building Department would be willing to work with
Mr. DeMuynck stated that by going down to 20' x
26', which would make it 520 square feet with the
current 418'; the total square feet would only be
938 total, which would only be 18 feet over the
Mr. Klonowski stated that getting back to what
Mr. Shortt stated, the petitioner cannot have two
garages in that zone.
Petitioner asked how big an oversized shed could
Ms. Orewyler answered 14' x 16' would be
oversized when a normal shed would be 10' x 12'.
Maybe 14' x 18'.
Mr. Leonard stated that because no one is behind
the petitioner's home, he would not be opposed to
allow a small garage so that the petitioner could
fit that other vehicle in there. He suggested
tabling the petition to give the petitioner time to
measure things out, calculate and bring down the
size as much as possible.
Petitioner asked if Mr. Leonard meant he would
have to bring down the square footage?
Mr. Leonard explained that the petitioner should
look at bringing down the width and depth of the
structure and if the petition is tabled; that may
help his case.
Petitioner asked when the next regular scheduled
meeting would be?
Chairman Stepnak stated that it would be
Petitioner stated that he works the afternoon
shift and he would have to ask for time off six
weeks in advance. He took tonight off back in April.
Chairman Stepnak stated that the petitioner would
not have to be there. His wife could attend the
Petitioner asked what the meeting would be after
Chairman Stepnak answered July 8th.
There was a discussion among the board and the
petitioner about when to reschedule the petition.
Petitioner asked if the petition could be
scheduled for July 22nd meeting.
Motion by Chairman Stepnak to Table Petition
#2009-09 to the July 22, 2009 meeting due to the
fact that there was no majority of votes to approve
or deny the petition. The board has instructed the
petitioner to meet with Mr. Shortt to see if
anything may be worked out. The petitioner may also
want to get some input from his neighbors.
Supported by Mr. Klonowski
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 May 13, 2009 meeting
Supported by Mr. Klonowski
Nays: None Motion Granted
9. COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR:
Chairman Stepnak thanked Mr. Shortt from the
Building Department for attending the meeting.
Motion by Chairman Stepnak to adjourn at 8:45 PM.
Supported by Ms. Orewyler
Nays: None Motion Granted
Nancy Orewyler, Secretary
Grace Mastronardi, Recording Secretary