Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes - August 12,
THE CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
August 12, 2009
On August 12, 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,
Frame, Planning Commission liaison
Absent: Carl Leonard, Vice-Chairman, excused
Brian DeMuynck, Twp. board liaison, excused
There was no representation from the Building
3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Chairman Stepnak explained the procedures to the
4. ZBA PETITION # 2009- 12: Joe Peters, 23856
Audrey, Warren, MI
48091. Requesting variance for Temporary Use for
a Haunted Halloween Hayride. Proposal is for a 45
day period which includes set-up and removal of
complete exhibit. Hayrides proposed to start
September 30, 2009 running through October 31,
2009. Location of Holiday event is to be 33190 23
Mile Road, Riverbend Driving Range.
Joe Peters, 23856 Audrey, Warren, MI 48091
addressed the board.
Petitioner stated that he was requesting a
variance for the property known as the Riverbend
Golf Range. He would like to do a Halloween Hayride
and he needs a variance for the parking on the west
side of the property along with a set up and take
down of all of the attractions and the concession
stand. He then passed out some packages to the
board members. He explained that he came in front
of the board last year and was turned down because
of the construction on 23 Mile.
He was turned down because the congestion would
cause safety concerns.
This year the construction has been completed.
They have contacted the Chesterfield Police
Department and met with Officer McNair. Officer
McNair went over the property extensively and they
discussed how and where traffic would go in and out
of the exhibit. The Police Department’s concerns
have been met and they have no problem with the
proposed variance. He also met with Rick Schroeder,
Fire Marshall of the Chesterfield Fire Department.
He went over what the petitioner’s planned to do at
the site and his only concern was how to get an
emergency vehicle on to the property. The
petitioner explained his plans and exactly where an
emergency vehicle could enter and maneuver on the
property. After their meeting, the Fire Marshall
had no problems with the proposal. The petitioner
explained that he met with A1 Striping of Warren and
was assured that they could stripe out 130 parking
spots and the roadway in between would be 24’.
Therefore, they will have ample parking and it
would be striped out just like a regular parking
lot. The ground is compact sod and it is as hard as
cement. Parking for the employees would be by the
Chairman Stepnak asked if the parking lot would
be the area where there were crops?
Petitioner answered no, the parking lot area is
Chairman Stepnak asked how far would the farmed
area be from the proposed parking lot?
Petitioner answered that it would be about 150’
or 200’ away. He stated that by looking at the
aerial view the board could see that the crops were
at the area by the berm which is far from the
proposed parking lot.
Chairman Stepnak asked if the crops were there
recently and were just pulled out?
Petitioner explained that the area had been
cleaned up for quite a while and maintained to get
rid of mosquitoes and other bugs out of the area.
He commented that from the road it looks a lot
better and has better eye appeal. Petitioner stated
that he met his insurance agent on the property last
week. The underwriter got back to him a few days
ago and they went through the whole business plan.
The agent has issued him an insurance policy for the
festivities. They have an insurance company that
has no problem with the operation. The Fire and
Police Departments have no problem with the plan.
The only thing he needed was approval from the
Zoning Board. He stated that the Haunted Hayride
would be a safe, fun activity for the children in
the area. He commented that he had been contacted
by schools in the area who would like to bring
children on the site during the day or even Monday,
Tuesday or Wednesday evenings; just for a school to
have their Halloween or Harvest Festival.
Petitioner then explained with the aerial map
exactly where they would place clearly marked
entrance and exit signs on the property. He then
explained where the parking area would be and
reiterated that A1 striping assured him that they
would be able to put at least 130 parking spaces on
the property. He pointed out that the pathway for
the hayride would be primarily on the east side of
the property. He stated that it would be run at
least 1,000 feet from any residential property. He
commented that the Salt River already divides this
area from any residential property. All of the
activities would be encompassed from the middle to
the east side of the property. The only thing on
the west side of the property would be the parking.
The petitioner talked to Mr. Schroeder, the Fire
Marshall and was told to use UL approved containers
for the bonfires and where the fire should be
located; which would be 200 feet away from the
parking. There are 31 acres of land on which the
attraction would be located. The concession stand
and ticket booth would be conjoined and be located
by the house. There would be four porta potties to
start on the property and more if needed.
Ms. Orewyler asked the petitioner if he had
written permission from Citizen’s Bank to park cars
on their property?
Petitioner stated that he did not get written
permission. He talked to the bank manager of the
bank and she stated that she did not see any issue
and that she would talk to the district manager.
She stated that if there was an issue, she would get
back to him. He talked to the head teller another
day and she told him that if he needed something in
writing about the parking, to let her know. He
commented that would just be an option. He figured
that he probably did not even need to have anyone
park at the bank because he would have enough
parking at the site.
Ms. Orewyler commented that she had a problem
with the venue staying open to 11 PM on school
Petitioner explained that the times were flexible
and that they would close at 10:30 or 11 o’clock.
They would like to start at 7:30 PM when it starts
to get dark. They are very conscious of the
children in school. They would just like to keep
the times as consistent as they can so there isn’t
any confusion as far as the times they are open.
Ms. Orewyler asked what kind of foods would be
served at the concession stand?
Petitioner stated that they would be selling ice
cream, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and pop in cans, no
bottles. They would also be serving free cider and
donuts for the patrons when they get off the ride.
Ms. Orewyler asked if the patrons would be
allowed to take consume food off the property?
Petitioner stated no. The food would be sold to
be consumed on the property. There will be
recyclable containers clearly marked on the
property. He commented that at the end of the night
he did not want to be cleaning up a mess. Waste
Management would be their waste removal company and
they would be picking up trash at least two days a
week or daily if necessary.
Mr. Klonowski asked how big the bonfire would be?
Petitioner explained that they would be using the
three of the bonfire containers that can be
purchased at Home Depot. He stated that the Fire
Marshall told him to put three of the containers
together because one would not be enough.
Petitioner stated that there would be someone
attending to the fire at all times. There will be
fire extinguishers on hand right there and Mr.
Schroeder the Fire Marshall will oversee and inspect
the whole operation.
Mr. KIonowski asked what type of material would
be burned for the fire?
Petitioner stated that he would be using only
hardwood for the bonfires and he would be getting
the wood from a gentleman in Richmond who has an
ample supply of hardwood.
Mr. Klonowski asked what the distance would be
between the bonfire and the house?
Petitioner answered 300 feet.
Ms. Frame asked how many wagons would be used for
Petitioner explained that he would start with
three wagons and may use a fourth one if needed.
Ms. Frame asked how many people each wagon would
Petitioner answered that each wagon would hold
about 12 to 15 people
Ms. Frame asked how many parking lot attendants
would the petitioner have on the premises?
Petitioner stated that he would have four. There
would be two at the front one at the entrance and
one at the exit. Then there would be two in the
parking lot making sure people know where they are
going. The parking lot will be all lit up.
Ms. Frame verified that the parking lot would
Petitioner stated that he explained last year…
Ms. Frame commented that she was not on the board
Petitioner apologized and explained that he would
be using a portable light powered by a generator.
Ms. Frame asked if the petitioner knew what the
candle foot on that would be?
Petitioner answered that he believed it was not
more than 10,000. It would only be enough to light
up the parking lot area. It would not be after glow
or over glow and shine in neighbor’s back yards. It
would just be enough for the parking area.
Ms. Frame stated that she wanted to make sure it
was in accordance with our ordinances. She asked
how far the fire would be from the road?
Petitioner stated that it would be approximately
1,000 feet from the road.
Ms. Frame mentioned that there were no dimensions
on the map the petitioner presented to the board and
she commented that it was hard to believe it was
There was a discussion among the board concerning
the dimensions of specific areas on the aerial map.
Ms. Frame stated that she would have been more
comfortable if the map showed some dimensions
especially how far different aspects are from the
Chairman Stepnak stated that the parking lot
would have a circumference of 1170’ so the
petitioner would be correct in his calculations that
it would be at least 1,000’ feet from the roadway.
Ms. Frame reiterated that she would just be more
comfortable if she could see the dimensions and not
just numerals on a piece of paper.
Petitioner claimed that he turned in a paper with
his other paperwork with all the dimensions listed.
Ms. Frame mentioned that she only saw one
dimension of 500’ on the petitioner’s paperwork.
She agreed with Ms. Orewyler on the hours of
operation. She commented that the petitioner’s
wanting to have the same time of operation on each
day of the week may be hard to accommodate.
Petitioner stated that his hours of operation
would ultimately be up to the ZBA.
Chairman Stepnak explained that if the board
decided to go forward with the petition, they could
dictate in their motion the hours of operation. He
stated that the board could also dictate how far the
fire pit needed to be from the road.
Ms. Frame stated that she was not only concerned
about people walking to their cars from the fire
pit, but also for people be distracted by the fire
when driving on 23 Mile Road. She asked if the
petitioner would need to get a certificate from the
Health Department to serve food on the premises?
Petitioner answered that he was already certified
by the Health Department and was approved to serve
food off-site. The Health inspector may call and
ask what the petitioner is serving and would
probably come out to inspect the site. He explained
that he owns three ice cream shops and they get
remarkable inspections every time.
Ms. Frame asked if he had a permit for a
Petitioner stated that he would be allowed by the
Health Department and his insurance to do off-site
catering. The menu is simple and the Health
Department would not have an issue. The product
would not be fresh; everything served would be quick
Ms. Frame asked where the dumpsite would be
Petitioner stated that they would be behind the
barn by the house.
Mr. Blake asked if there would be someone
stationed at the fire at all times?
Petitioner replied yes, at all times.
Chairman Stepnak asked the petitioner what
businesses he has and where they are located, and if
the petitioner does business in Chesterfield?
Petitioner stated that from 2002 to 2005 he owned
and operated the Sundae Spot Ice Cream and 18 Hole
Adventure Golf that was formerly located in front
Sandbaggers Golf Dome. At that time, during the
Halloween season they did a Spooktacular Halloween
Glow Golf. The course was tastefully decorated for
the season. A family could enjoy a round of glow
golf with a bonfire later where they would serve
cider and donuts. They would host three schools per
year that would come out and enjoy the Harvest Fest
with them. They were always appreciated in the
community and always followed all ordinances to
ensure the safety of all who came to the events. The
business closed due to the sale of the golf dome.
They now own three soft serve ice cream stores
called Dairy Boy. One is located in St. Clair
Shores, one is in Eastpointe and there is one in
Chairman Stepnak asked why the petitioner would
like to use this particular property? He asked if
he owned the property or was planning to lease it?
Petitioner stated that he planned to lease the
property from Ed and Joe Mancini for the purpose of
doing the Halloween Hayride. The lease will not
commence unless the variance is approved. The
gentleman in the home on the property was very
excited when we explained what would be done on the
property and there is a letter in the paperwork from
Wanda Makosz, 50334 Rose Marie Drive,
Chesterfield, MI 48047 addressed the board.
Ms. Makosz shared her concerns about the proposed
Haunted Hayride. She was not in favor of the board
granting a variance.
Richard Wirick, 50514 Anders Street, Chesterfield
Township, MI 48047 addressed the board.
Mr. Wirick shared his concerns about the hours of
operation especially during the week.
Petitioner stated that the noise level would be
at a minimum. There would not be any music blaring
around the property. There would only be some
spooky music playing at the concession stand. This
parcel of land is in the middle residential and
commercial property, There is a tree line that
separates the residential from this property which
would be at least 500 feet away from the hayrides
and the parking lot. There would not be any dust
created from any vehicles and the neighbors would be
too far away to hear any noise from any machinery.
Chairman Stepnak asked the petitioner if he would
be present at the site during the hours of
Petitioner stated that he and his wife would be
on site at all times.
Chairman Stepnak asked what the proposed hours of
operation would be?
Petitioner stated that on Monday, Tuesday and
Wednesday the hours of operation would be from 6 PM
to 8:30 PM predicated on groups coming to the venue
from a school. On Thursday and Sunday the hours
would be from
7:30 PM to 10:30 PM and then on Friday and
Saturday they would be requesting to be open from
7:30 PM to 11:30 PM. They would not have anybody
interacting or jumping out trying to scare people
during the hayride. They would just have Spooky Fun
Ms. Frame asked how long a trip on the hayride
Petitioner stated that it would take
approximately 12 to 14 minutes.
Ms. Frame commented that with three wagons and
about 9 trips each per hour, there would probably be
about 400 people per hour on the hayrides.
Petitioner laughed and stated he wished that was
the case. He stated that each cart would probably
only be able to do two or three trips out per
night. In between the rides, they have to load
people on and off the carts. The thought there
would probably be about 60 persons on the rides per
hour. He stated that most of the time the carts
would probably only have 12 people taking the ride.
Chairman Stepnak stated that the bottom line
would be that the venue would close on the hour and
the last half hour would be used for clean up. He
verified that the petitioner would have parking lot
attendants out there.
Petitioner stated that based on his study, he
would need at least 18 people working out there
every night. He commented that he did not think he
would have a problem getting 18 people to work.
They already contacted the Anchor Bay Hockey Team
coach and were assured they would have plenty of
people to work at the venue and then the petitioners
would make a donation to the school or something.
Ms. Frame asked how the petitioner planned to
control the consumption of alcohol?
Petitioner answered that there would not be any
alcohol at the venue.
Ms. Frame commented that she understood the
petitioner would not be serving alcohol; but what
about alcohol brought on to the premises.
Petitioner stated that any alcohol brought on the
premises would be confiscated immediately.
Furthermore, if they notice someone on the premises
that has been clearly drinking, they would be asked
to leave the venue immediately.
Ms. Frame asked if the petitioner planned to post
signs that clearly state no alcohol was allowed on
Petitioner answered absolutely.
Sandra Montana-Piasecki, 50333 Rose Marie Drive,
Chesterfield, MI 48047 addressed the board.
Ms. Montana-Piasecki apologized for being late
and was not sure if her concerns had already been
addressed. She stated that she was especially
alarmed because the variance was for 45 days and
that some days it would be operating until 11:30 at
night. She lives on Rose Marie Drive and assumes
that would not be far from this facility. She
understands the benefits of this; but what about the
downfalls. She does not believe there will be a
police presence out there. She asked about the type
of people that would be coming for this attraction.
She asked if there would be a proper disposal and
clean up of the property daily and after the 45
days? She asked if the area would be fenced? She
asked how 18 people could control the public coming
through to the residential areas? She sits in her
back yard sometimes until 10 PM and she wanted to
know if she would be hearing tractors going by
constantly? She was concerned that if the variance
would be granted that time limits would be set.
There is a trail about 12 to 15 feet from their
homes on this property. She voiced her concerns
over granting the variance because of the noise that
would be created by the tractors, screaming
children, loud music, machinery and generators. She
was also concerned about the dust that would be
generated by the cars in the parking lot and the
Chairman Stepnak stated the questions have been
discussed during the time period were the hours of
operation. The closing time Monday, Tuesday and
Wednesday would be 8:30 PM. Eight o'clock would be
the last ride and they would have 30 minutes for
clean up. The times for Thursday and Sunday was from
7:30 to 10:30 PM; the last ride would be 10 o'clock
with a half hour for clean up. Then on Friday and
Saturday the venue would open from 7:30 to 11:30;
the last ride would be at 11 PM and there would
again be 30 minutes for clean up. As far as the
venue being fenced around; the venue would only be
there for 45 days and the area would be too large to
fence. The petitioner told the board that there
would not be any music blaring around the property.
There would only be some spooky music playing at the
concession stand. The Chesterfield Fire Marshall
must approve all aspects of the bonfire area before
the petitioner would be able to have bonfires.
There would be security people on site at all
times. There would be about 18 people working at
the venue. He stated that the venue would be family
oriented and there will not be any actors going
through the venue trying to scare people. He
reiterated that all of this was discussed earlier.
Ms. Montana-Piasecki stated that if the operation
is family oriented there should not be any problem
with limiting the hours of operation to a more
Ms. Frame stated that she believed the noise
ordinance during the week, Sunday thru Thursday is
10 PM and that Friday and Saturday is 11 PM. She
explained that the petitioner would only be asking
for a half hour for clean up. She added that the
Chairman forgot to mention that the petitioner would
hold his ticket sales to one hour before final
closing time. So he could accommodate the people
already in line and have them out before closing
Rick Puffer, 31592 Riverbend, Chesterfield, MI
48047 addressed the board.
Mr. Puffer explained that he works at the range.
He has been responsible for picking up the range
balls for ten years. He has often had two tractors
out there at the same time at 10:30 PM. The
tractors are fully mufflered and there have never
been any complaints about tractor noise. Those
would be the same tractors that will be used for the
hayrides. They are very quiet, low rpm tractors
that would be running on low idle. These tractors
are used to pick up the golf balls and they do not
go too fast because the balls would fly out of the
range picker. The tractors would be traveling at
the same speed for the hayrides.
Mr. Klonowski asked how late they run those
Mr. Puffer stated that they run those to about
10:30 PM sometimes; depending on how many golf balls
they have to pick up. He stated that with the sun
setting changes sometimes people hit ball out there
until it is dark. They wait for everyone to finish
hitting their balls and then they go out to clean up
the area. He reiterated that the tractors are very
quiet. He stated that today the sun sets at 8:45
PM, no balls can be hit after that time. However,
someone could come in and buy 10 large buckets of
balls and at 8:40 PM and they have to be done
hitting balls by 8:45 PM. and the customers
understand that and agree to it.
Anna Makosz, 50334 Rose Marie Drive,
Chesterfield, MI 48047 addressed the board.
Ms. Makosz voiced her concerns about the noise
that would be created by the venue.
Chairman Stepnak asked the petitioner what the
petitioner was proposing for the times of operation?
Petitioner stated that on Thursday and Sunday he
would like to close down at 10:30 PM and Friday and
Saturday at 11:30. He stated that a half hour
before maybe even 45 minutes before they would shut
down the entrance and stop anyone else from coming
in so that they could get the people in line on the
hayride and off the property. That would be his
goal. He does not want to be there all night.
Chairman verified that the last person on the
weekend would leave at 11 PM and that would be the
time the gates would close.
Petitioner stated that they would monitor the
crowd and maybe at quarter to eleven, they would
decide that there are enough people on the property
to shut the entrance, get the last people on the
carts, and get them off. That way they would be
able to get everything cleaned up by 11:30. He
stated that their goal every night would be to
comply with the wishes of the board.
Chairman Stepnak stated that if the board moves
on this, they would have to stipulate the times in
Petitioner mentioned that he spoke to Officer
McNair who assured the petitioner if he needs the
police on the property, they would come out there.
This would not be a disruption to the community.
These hayrides go on all the time at churches and
schools. They did not think this would be such an
issue. The petitioners met with the Police
Department and the Fire Department and wrote down a
plan that they feel is going to keep everything
Ms. Orewyler asked how much the petitioner would
be charging for the hayride?
Petitioner replied that he thought they would
charge $8 for adults, $6 for kids, and children 5
years old and younger would be free.
Mr. Klonowski asked if the petitioner would
consider fencing the area?
Petitioner stated that he could never fence
this. He would however assure the board that the
way this would be set up no one would even have a
chance to go near the residential area.
Mr. Klonowski asked if the people working there
would have a way to communicate with each other?
Petitioner explained that each member of his team
would be equipped with a walkie-talkie or cell
Ms. Orewyler read a letter from a concerned
neighbor that was retained for the ZBA's records.
Motion by Ms. Orewyler to approve Petition #
2009-12 on a requested variance for Temporary Use
for a Haunted Halloween Hayride. Proposal is
for a 45 day period of which 15 of those days would
be for the set-up and removal of complete exhibit.
not for operation of the hayrides. The
hayrides will operate from September 30, 2009 to
October 31, 2009. The hours of operation would
be as follows: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 6
PM to 8:30 PM, Thursday and Sunday from 7:30 to
10:30 PM and Friday and Saturday from 7:30 to 11:30
PM. The last ride would be at the hour and the
petitioner must shut down the entrance gate 45
minutes prior to the last ride. She would also
require the petitioner to bring the insurance policy
for the event to be brought to the Township Offices
for verification prior to the place opening. She
wants the Township to be held harmless in this
insurance policy. The petitioner would be required
to follow all of the Police Department's and Fire
Department's suggestions. She would require the
petitioner to have an attendant at the entrance,
exit, the cross walk, the parking lot and of course
an attendant at the bonfire. There will be no
Supported by Chairman Stepnak
Mr. Klonowski asked Ms. Orewyler to amend the
times of the motion for Thursday and Sunday, because
they are week days should be until 10 o'clock
instead of 10:30 PM. and Friday and Saturday should
be until 11 PM instead of 11:30 PM. Ms. Orewyler
verified that Mr. Klonowski wanted the times put
back a half hour.
Mr. Klonowski answered yes on those two.
Ms. Orewyler accepted the proposed changes to the
motion. She stated that the hours of operation
would be Thursday and Sunday from 7:30 to 10 PM and
Friday and Saturday from 7:30 to 11 PM. She added
that Monday thru Friday during the daytime hours the
petitioner would also be allowed to have schools
that have contacted him at the venue to enjoy the
Chairman Stepnak also requested that the venue be
billed as a family hayride.
Chairman Stepnak continued support
Petitioner asked if he had a school that wanted
to come to the hayrides at 6 PM and they wanted to
stay until 9 PM, would it be possible for them to
extend the time for the Monday, Tuesday and
Wednesday nights. He commented that last year he
was contacted by several schools.
Ms. Orewyler stated if it was for a school that
they could extend the time on Monday, Tuesday and
Wednesday from 6 PM to 9 PM.
5. ZBA PETITION # 2009-13: Anthony and Melissa Zito,
49451 Heath Place, Chesterfield, MI 48047.
Requesting variance to allow a shed to remain 4’3"
from residence, ordinance requires 10’ between
structures. Located at the above address.
Anthony Zito, 49451 Heath Place, Chesterfield, MI
addressed the board.
Petitioner stated that he was there to request a
variance for a shed that he did not build. He
bought the house eight years ago and the shed was
built 15 years ago. A few months ago, it was
brought to his attention that there was no permit
pulled for the shed and that it was too close to his
home. He does not feel it is fair that eight years
after he bought his home someone comes around and
makes him pay $250 to come there for something he
did not construct. He stated that the Township
failed to catch the person who built the shed at the
time, and now he is here minus his $250.00.
Mr. Blake stated that he looked at the shed and
there were pieces of board that were rotted out. He
commented that he was in favor of the petitioner
moving the shed back.
Petitioner explained that if he moves the shed it
will be a big eyesore to his neighbor next door. He
has a letter from the neighbor who does not want the
petitioner to move the shed.
Mr. Blake asked the petitioner if he realized
that the shed does not have a rat wall?
Petitioner stated that he did not construct the
shed. He is requesting a variance to keep the shed
at its present location. He talked to the building
inspector and told him that he would jack up the
shed and put a rat wall in it he would be allowed to
keep it in the same spot.
Chairman Stepnak explained that if the board
would grant the variance, the petitioner would still
need to install a rat wall. The board can not
alleviate the petitioner from that obligation or any
other type of building requirement.
Petitioner stated that he and many of his
neighbors were basically blitzed by the zoning
inspector who wrote 90% of them tickets. He
commented that what is wrong is wrong and what is
right is right. If he does not have a rat wall or
if the shed is in the wrong location, it was not his
fault. He purchased his home eight years ago and it
was assessed at that time when they came out for an
inspection. What happened then, why did the
Township all of a sudden find all these problems.
He stated that he could tell the board. It was
because all of a sudden people at the Township are
not busy and they need to collect money. That's
fine. All he was asking for after he paid his $250
that the board grant his variance and he will bring
the shed up to code.
Ms. Orewyler explained that if the petitioner
brought the shed up to code he would move it as well
and not just put the rat wall under it. She
explained that the rat wall is for the petitioner's
protection to stop vermin from getting in the shed
and to keep vermin out of the neighborhood.
Petitioner stated that he has no problem with
putting in the rat wall.
Ms. Orewyler asked why the petitioner did not
want to move the shed six feet back; there would be
nothing in the way of it?
Petitioner stated that he would rather keep the
shed where it is at and if it is moved it would be
more of an eyesore for his next-door neighbors.
Ms. Orewyler stated that there is a safety reason
to keep a shed 10' away from a residence.
Petitioner asked why it was a safety issue?
Ms. Orewyler explained that if the shed would
catch on fire that close to his home or to his
neighbor's home it causes a safety issue; just like
the rat wall must be put under the shed because
that would also be a safety issue..
Petitioner replied that he was not arguing about
putting in the rat wall.
Ms. Frame stated that the petitioner is just
asking for a variance of 4'3",
Ms. Orewyler commented that she understood that.
Ms. Frame went out to the home and understands
Mr. Klonowski mentioned that the issue for him
would be that the shed has been there for eight
years, so he thought it be grandfathered in.
Chairman Stepnak explained that the distance from
a residence to an out building would be required for
safety reasons. If the shed is that close, the
feeling would be if there was gas stored in the shed
it could go up. In some cases, where sheds are
allowed closer to a home where the lots are very
small, like in some river districts, the sheds are
required to have a different fire resistant wood. So
if a fire started in the shed, homes in the area
would not start on fire. The ten feet between out
buildings has been tested out and would be deemed
necessary for fire equipment, fire fighters and
rescue equipment to get around. He reiterated that
the whole thing would be a safety issue. He
commented that this actually existed for 15 years.
However, the problem would be if the board allows
this would they have to allow the neighbor four
doors down to do the same thing. He believes that
the petitioner also has a pool and hot tub in his
yard. He asked if the petitioner moved that shed,
wouldn't it also have a direct impact on the pool
and hot tub?
Petitioner stated yes it would. If he moved the
shed 10' back from his home, because of the pool, he
would not be able to open the shed door.
Chairman Stepnak stated that there would also be
a requirement for how far the pool would have to be
from the shed. It all goes back to when the
builders sold lots to people assuring them that they
would be able to put up a pool, a shed and a deck.
Ms. Frame stated that using the point about gas
in the shed is just as excuse; because most people
that do not have sheds and keep gas in their
attached garage; which would be a greater hazard
than keeping it in their accessory building. She
does not feel a 5'9" variance would be out of the
ordinary for this board. She thought it would be
reasonable under the circumstances, that the
petitioner purchased the house with the shed in that
spot. Moving the shed would upset the esthetics of
his back yard. If the shed were moved, the
petitioner would no longer be able to open the shed
door and also moving the shed would cause a visual
obstruction for his neighbors. She was of the
opinion that the board could grant the variance
under a non-conforming use ordinance. She thought
that would be very reasonable the classification for
non-conforming uses this would fit perfectly into
Chairman Stepnak asked if there was any other
place on the property where the petitioner could
place the shed? He asked if the petitioner could
push it further back?
Petitioner answered that if he pushed the shed
farther back, he would not be able to open the shed
door. He explained that if he put the shed even
further back on the lot, he would be in the easement
behind there. The problem was that everything on
the property was there when he purchased the home.
Chairman Stepnak stated that he spoke to Mr.
Shortt from the Building Department and who shared a
concern that not only was there no permit pulled for
the shed; the pool and hot tub were also installed
Petitioner reiterated that everything was on the
property when he purchased the home eight years
ago. He had no idea that permits were not pulled
for the pool and hot tub. He commented that he was
only made aware by the ticket issued that there was
no permit for the shed.
Chairman Stepnak asked if the electrical for the
hot tub and pool were under code?
Petitioner answered that he thought so because
according to the paperwork, they were both done by
professional electrical contractors.
Chairman Stepnak asked if the pool had a self
Petitioner answered yes.
Chairman Stepnak asked if the board would allow
the shed to remain in that spot, how long did the
petitioner think it would take to put in the rat
Petitioner answered probably about the middle of
September. He asked if now he would have to pay for
the permits for the shed, pool and hot tub because
the permits were not pulled when they were built by
the previous owner?
Chairman Stepnak stated that he just wanted to
make sure that everything in the petitioner’s yard
is under code. He explained that if the board
granted the variance for the shed, the petitioner
would get six months to install the rat wall and get
permits on the rest of the back yard. He stated
that the hot tub and pool, electrical and so forth
would all have to be inspected. He explained that
the reasons for the ordinance to keep the shed 10'
from the house and the ordinances to put a
self-locking gate for the pool and hot tub is for
safety for the petitioner and the neighbors. He
reiterated that he just wanted to make sure that the
rest of the petitioner's yard is up to code. The
petitioner would have up to six months to pull all
permits. He explained that if the board did not
move favorably on the variance; the petitioner only
other recourse would be the court system. The
petitioner could not come back to the board or
appeal the decision with the Township board. The
board at this point could just decide to grant the
variance for the shed if the petitioner would
install the rat wall and bring the other things in
his yard to code.
Ms. Orewyler commented that a some boards at the
bottom of the shed are rotted.
Petitioner replied that was because of drainage
Chairman Stepnak stated that the reason there was
water by the shed might be because the shed is too
close to the house and the water from the gutter
went in that area.
Petitioner stated that the problem started
because the spout separated from the gutter. He has
fixed the problem. He explained that he does not
like the shed being damp from the moisture. He
plans to raise up the shed, put in the rat wall and
make a concrete floor. He would be willing to
repair the shed and he has no problem with making
sure everything is properly inspected and done under
Ms. Orewyler read a positive letter from the
petitioner’s neighbor that was in favor of the board
approving the variance.
Motion by Ms. Frame to approve Petition #
2009-13 for a variance to allow a shed to remain
4’3" from residence, ordinance requires 10’ between
structures because under code the shed would be
considered a non-conforming structure under Section
76-562, # 1, 2, and 4. The petitioner must install
a rat wall around the shed and would be required to
get inspections for the pool and hot tub to make
sure these items are brought up to code.
Supported by Chairman Stepnak
Ayes: Frame, Stepnak, and Klonowski
Nays: Orewyler and Blake
Motion by Chairman Stepnak to Table Petition #
2009-13 to the August 26, 2009 meeting because there
was no quorum.
Supported by Ms. Orewyler
Petitioner asked the board for a copy of the
minutes concerning his petition because he has a
court date next week concerning this matter.
Ms. Orewyler stated that the petitioner could ask
the Planning Department to provide him with a letter
concerning the case.
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 July 22, 2009 meeting
Supported Mr. Klonowski
9. COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR:
Chairman Stepnak stated that he had received a
letter from the board concerning the union contracts
and Township budget constraints.
Chairman Stepnak mentioned that the board had
been invited to the Village of East Harbor Chapel
ground breaking Celebration
Motion by Chairman Stepnak to adjourn at 8:53 PM
Supported by Ms. Orewyler
Nancy Orewyler, Secretary
Grace Mastronardi, Recording Secretary