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Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes - May 27, 2009

THE CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF CHESTERFIELD

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

James Klonowski

Absent: Robert Kohler, Planning Commission liaison

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 Road.

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 and water.

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 the dogs.

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' garage door.

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 not practical?

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 garage.

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 # 2009-08.

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 with that?

Petitioner answered no.

Mr. DeMuynck agreed to add the Chairman Stepnak's and Ms. Orewyler's additions to the motion.

Mr. Leonard continued support.

Ayes: All

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 address.

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 snow blower.

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 there.

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 attached garage?

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 shed.

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 board.

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 the easement?

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 neighborhoods.

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' door.

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 back.

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 this evening?

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 ordinances.

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 been adjourned.

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 anyway.

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 homes.

Mr. Leonard asked what the side lot setbacks were for R1B.

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 the petitioner.

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 ordinance.

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 be?

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 June24th.

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 meeting.

Petitioner asked what the meeting would be after that?

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

Ayes: All

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

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted

 

9. COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR:

Chairman Stepnak thanked Mr. Shortt from the Building Department for attending the meeting.

 

10. ADJOURNMENT:

Motion by Chairman Stepnak to adjourn at 8:45 PM.

Supported by Ms. Orewyler

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted

Nancy Orewyler, Secretary

Grace Mastronardi, Recording Secretary

 

 

 

 

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