Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes - August 26,
THE CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
August 26, 2009
On August 26, a regular meeting of
the Chesterfield Township Zoning Board of Appeals
was held at the Township Hall located at 47275
Sugarbush, Chesterfield Twp., MI 48047.
1. CALL TO ORDER: Chairman Stepnak called the
meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
2. ROLL CALL: Present: Marvin Stepnak, Chairman
Carl Leonard, Vice-Chairman,
Nancy Orewyler, Secretary Paula Frame, Planning
Brian Scott DeMuynck, Township board liaison
Absent: Gerald Blake, excused
Mr. Shawn Shortt was present as the
representative of the Building Department.
3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Chairman Stepnak explained the procedures to the
4. ZBA PETITION # 2009-13: Anthony & Melissa Zito
who reside at 49451 Heath Place Ct.,
Chesterfield, MI 48047. Requesting to allow
existing 8’ x8’ shed to remain in its present
location 4’3" from residence, ordinance requires
10’ from any structure. Location is stated above.
Anthony Zito, 49451 Heath Place Ct.,
Chesterfield, MI 48047 addressed the board.
Motion by Ms. Orewyler to take Petition # 2009-13
off the table.
Supported by Mr. DeMuynck
Nay: None Motion Granted
Mr. Shortt stated that the shed was supposed to
be 10’ from the house and it was installed without a
permit. It was voted on at the last meeting and
there were not enough votes for a quorum; therefore
it was tabled until this week.
Chairman Stepnak asked from a building
prospective what would be the requirements?
Mr. Shortt explained that if the board approved
the variance, he would make the petitioner drywall
the shed with a 5/8 fire code drywall. The reason
the Building Department would want the shed 10’ away
from the home was because of the fire hazard that
could be caused by keeping gasoline in the shed for
lawnmowers or snow blowers. Also, he stated that for
the Fire Department to fight a fire they need to
have room to access the house. He reiterated that if
the variance were approved by the board he would
make the petitioner drywall the shed to at least
allow the Fire Department some burn time to get in.
Chairman Stepnak stated that at the last meeting
the board discussed that matter. He explained that
the board had also discussed the requirement that
the petitioner would also have the pool and
everything else on the property brought to code.
Mr. Leonard explained that he stopped by the
property and discussed the issue of dry walling the
garage with the petitioner. He stated that there was
no slab in the shed so the petitioner would also
have to satisfy the Building Department with putting
the proper foundation..
Mr. Shortt stated that the petitioner would have
to install a ratwall and a slab.
Mr. Leonard commented that the petitioner seemed
to be very receptive to all his suggestions. He
mentioned that if the petitioner moved the shed
back, it would be right in the neighbor’s face.
Furthermore, if the shed would be put further back
in the yard, there is an easement. He explained that
he would be okay with the variance as long as the
Building Department resolves all their issues.
Mr. DeMuynck stated that all his issues have been
resolved and he has no problem as long as the
petitioner adheres to the building codes.
Ms. Orewyler commented that she still had the
same concerns as at the last meeting. She would like
to see the shed moved.
Mr. Klonowski stated that the shed has been in
place for 12 years. He asked Mr. Shortt if the
Township could reach back and make someone move a
shed that has been in place so long?
Mr. Shortt answered absolutely.
Mr. KIonowski asked if there were changes in the
Mr. Shortt stated that the requirement has always
been 10’ from the house for anything pools, sheds,
gazebos. The reason for the requirement is for
fighting fires. That has been in the ordinances
forever, and it is also an international fire code
Ms. Frame stated that she had no problem with the
variance as long as the applicant would be willing
to bring it up to code. This was an inherited
problem and not something he brought upon himself.
Chairman Stepnak mentioned that the reason for
these safety codes was to prevent something
happening like the Great Chicago Fire where homes
were built on top of each other and when a fire
started in one area it spread very quickly
throughout the city. The board always looks out for
the health, safety and welfare of the community.
Mr. Leonard stated that if the petitioner had a
larger yard without the easement he could move the
shed. He just sees certain issues with the property
and the placement of the shed.
He reiterated that he would be okay with the
variance as long the petitioner resolves all the
requirements of the Building Department.
Petitioner stated that he would be fine with
putting in the ratwall, slab and the drywall for the
Motion by Mr. DeMuynck to approve Petition #
2009-13 to allow existing 8’x8’ shed to remain in
its present location 4’3" from residence, ordinance
requires 10’ from any structure. The petitioner must
follow the requirements of the Building Department
and put in a ratwall, slab and drywall.
Supported by: Ms. Frame
Ayes: DeMuynck, Frame, Stepnak, Leonard,
Nays: Orewyler Motion Granted
5. ZBA PETITION # 2009-14: Kathleen McNair who
resides at 51342 Caroline Drive, Chesterfield, MI
48047 is requesting a variance to allow a 1’6"
encroachment into the rear yard for an awning over a
patio overhang. Location stated above.
Bill McNair, 51342 Caroline Drive, Chesterfield,
MI 48047 addressed the board.
Petitioner stated that he was requesting to put a
cover over his patio for the sun because the heat in
the summer is intense as his patio faces the east.
He previously had a cover like this in Warren for 25
years and they never screened or closed in the
patio. His intention is to leave the patio open and
the cover would just protect them from the rain, sun
and the elements. At this time, the petitioner's
have a stamped concrete patio so the posts would
have to go in front of it. That would be where they
need the variance. He has looked into other types of
awnings but most of them only go out to 10' and that
would not be large enough to cover the area. He
presented a folder with pictures for the board.
Ms. Orewyler asked if the petitioner had already
Petitioner answered no.
Mr. DeMuynck stated that he does not have a
problem with it.
Mr. Klonowski had no problem with the variance.
Mr. Leonard stated that he knew there was a
concern about the petitioner possibly starting off
with a roof cover and later closing it in. However,
this is definitely not the type of roof covering
that would be advantageous for closing in a patio.
He does not really have any issues with it and he
feels it would be a nice feature.
Ms. Frame stated that she visited the applicant
and does not have a problem with it. The
petitioner's have a very large easement and a couple
of inches would not do any harm.
Mr. Shortt stated that the Building Department
has no problems with the variance.
There were no public comments.
Motion by Ms. Orewyler to approve Petition #
2009-14 at 51342 Caroline Drive for a 1'6"
encroachment into the rear yard for an awning over a
Supported by Mr. Leonard
Nay: None Motion Granted
6. ZBA PETITION # 2009-15: Lawrence Ripari, 53462
Spurry Lane on behalf of the homeowners in a
continuous block Foster Meadows Subdivision, lots 5
thru 21 & 69 thru 76, on Spurry Lane where the rear
yards back up to N. Foster. Variance is to waive the
Lawrence Ripari, 53462 Spurry Lane, Chesterfield,
MI addressed the board.
Petitioner stated that he was in front of the
board as the representative of the homeowners of
Foster Meadows. He stated that they were here to
request that the variance for the sidewalk
requirements along the road in the back be waived.
His biggest concern would be that currently the
sidewalk is already too close to their homes and the
Township wants to move the sidewalk up 17' which
would put the sidewalk within 20' of his deck. The
concern would be a privacy issue. If someone would
be walking along that sidewalk only 20' from his
home it would be very easy for that person to look
into his windows. Another issue would be a safety
issue as to where the utility boxes would be very
close to the sidewalk. Some homeowners have little
children and they will no longer have room to play
in their back yards. Playscapes, swing sets and
trampolines would all have to be moved. He was told
by a man working on the sewer project that if there
is anything in their way when they start the
project, they will move it. He also thought the
Township would save some money if they do not have
to replace the sidewalks back there. He commented
that he thought a concrete slab one-quarter of a
mile long and three feet wide would cost a
considerable amount of money. This would also create
an eyesore for our community. The overgrowth and the
environment it would create for wild animals such as
snakes, skunks, and possum back there would be
tremendous. At the present time he trims the area in
back of his home and if they do not have to put the
sidewalks most of the residents in the area would
keep that area groomed. He reiterated that his basic
concerns would be the privacy issue with the
sidewalk too close to the homes which would be a
security issue for all the neighbors, especially the
Ms. Frame had no questions.
Mr. DeMuynck stated that the interceptor is a big
project coming up 94 and going up Foster. He
commented that once the project goes through that
area with the interceptor, he noticed that there
were quite a few sheds and fences in that area. He
checked with the Building Department and a lot of
those sheds and fences are non-conforming and were
put up without permits. He stated that after the
sewer goes through, they will be taking a lot of
that down and before any of that goes back up the
residents will have to appear before the ZBA for
variances to get their permits.
Petitioner asked if anyone on the board had a
timeline as to when the sewer project would be going
through their area? A number of persons in the
subdivision have graduation parties and other things
they planned to do in their back yards.
Mr. DeMuynck stated that he did not know the
timeline as of yet. The project is coming up 94 and
tunneling right now and when they get to a certain
part they will be doing an open cut and then they
will have to tunnel under the freeway. It will take
time; they have already been working on the project
close to a year.
Petitioner asked if everyone who wants to put
their fence back up would have to get a permit?
Chairman Stepnak answered that every fence or
shed put up requires a permit.
Petitioner asked if everyone would be able to put
their sheds or fences back up?
Chairman Stepnak answered that it depended on the
Petitioner commented so it was not carte blanche.
Chairman Stepnak stated it was no guarantee.
Petitioner mentioned that he planned to keep the
area wide open; he did not plan to put his fence
Chairman Stepnak explained that the only thing
the board was addressing at this time was the
Mr. Klonowski stated that this was a unique
situation. The Township does like to have sidewalks,
but this is unique to have a sidewalk front and back
that close to the houses and in the rear yard. He
thought it was a difficult situation.
Mr. Leonard asked how traveled are the sidewalks?
Do the children in the area use the back yard
sidewalks as much as they do at the front of the
Petitioner answered that there is not a great
amount of traffic on the sidewalk in the back. He
stated that on an evening when he is sitting out
back maybe one or two people walk down that
Mr. Leonard stated that he saw different types if
screening back there; some people had privacy
fences, some people had shrubs.
Ms. Orewyler asked who mows the easement?
Petitioner replied that most of the homeowners
mow their own. Some of the people do not mow their
Ms. Orewyler commented that if the homeowners
leave it to the county, it will only get mowed once
or twice a year. She spent some time over in the
area last Saturday to get an idea of how much
traffic and foot traffic goes through the area. She
noticed very little car traffic and she did not see
any foot traffic. It seems a hardship for the
residents to have two sidewalks one in the front and
one at the back of their property. She assumed that
these sidewalks were put in by the developer because
they face a major road. She stated that there is
another sidewalk on the other side of North Foster
Road for several houses over there, but there is no
subdivision over there. She does not have a problem
with taking the burden off because there is no
subdivision on the other side of the road. Children
playing from one subdivision to the next would not
apply in this case. She asked the petitioner if he
was told that the residents had to put in the
Petitioner stated no. The sidewalks were supposed
to be put in after the pipes were put in. He was
also told that would put up a standard chain link
fence back there.
Ms. Orewyler explained that if someone puts
something in an easement, even if the board gives
that person to put something in the easement; at a
later date if the county had to go in that area to
do something to that sewer whatever is back there
would get trashed. If there is an easement things
may have to be moved for the resident's safety. She
stated, however, that she can see the hardship.
Ms. Orewyler read a letter from Ronald and Elaine
Tworek in favor of the board granting the variance.
The letter was retained for the ZBA's records.
Chairman Stepnak commented that this was a unique
situation. There are sidewalks at the front of the
Pat Ripari, 53462 Spurry Lane, Chesterfield, MI
addressed the board.
Ms. Ripari gave a little bit of background about
the subdivision. She mentioned that the developers
had a berm removed at the back of their lots. The
homeowners came to a meeting and were told that they
would be given the additional footage at the back of
the property and that they could do what they wanted
with it. She stated that none of the homeowners were
aware that this situation would come up, they only
knew that they would have to make accommodations if
and when anything had to be done in the easement.
Ms. Ripari elaborated on the reasons the board
should waive the requirement for the sidewalk at the
rear of their homes.
John Felis, 53366 Spurry Lane, Chesterfield, MI
addressed the board.
Mr. Felis made a number of comments in favor of
having the sidewalk requirement waived.
Michelle Haubner, 53318 Spurry Lane,
Chesterfield, MI addressed the board.
Ms. Haubner stated that she ran a residence home
day care out of her home. She mentioned that there
was already a lot of riff raff coming through on
that back sidewalk like people picking up cans in
the ditch. She felt that if the sidewalk requirement
variance were approved that it would stop strangers
from walking through their back yards. . She feels
the closer sidewalk would not be safe for the
children. She also mentioned that if the sidewalk
were removed, the property at the back of their
homes would be better maintained by the homeowners.
Ms. Orewyler stated that this property was on an
easement and she is not sure if the homeowners all
understood what an easement meant. She explained
that even if the board would give a homeowner a
variance on an easement. The homeowner does not own
the easement. The homeowners must understand that
the sewer is going to go through and it will
continue to be an easement. She hopes that the
residents will keep up the area behind their homes.
Do not count on the county to keep the area clean.
They will only come through once or twice a year.
She lives by Brandenburg Park and people are always
throwing garbage and cans on her property. She goes
out there to clean it up on a regular basis. The
residents must take some personal responsibility if
they want that area kept and looking nice.
Chairman Stepnak explained that an easement is an
area where either the sewer, water, electrical or
gas comes in to the subdivisions. The unique
situation in this case would be that the resident's
property backs up to a major road. Easements have
always been a drawback in the development of
property. The reason people are discouraged from
putting trees or sheds near the easement would be
because if something does go wrong the County the
Township or utility companies do have the authority
to come in and rip it out. He remembers when he was
on the Planning Commission and this case came up in
regard to the berm in this development. At the time,
they decided to go with trees instead because the
berm is harder to cut and maintain. The people had
use of these trees for many years. The reason the
petition is in front of the board would not be for
the residents to make any comments on the sewer; the
board would just be looking at the sidewalk. He
commented that the homeowners do have a sidewalk in
front of their homes and there is also a sidewalk on
the other side of the street on Foster Road so by
eliminating this particular sidewalk would not
diminish sidewalks in this area. There are still
many of areas for people to use sidewalks in the
area. He feels that it would be an undue hardship
for the homeowners to keep on maintaining two
Motion by Ms. Orewyler to approve Petition
#2009-15 and the variance would be for all the homes
on Spurry Lane listed in the petition.
Mr. DeMuynck stated that it would be for Foster
Meadows Subdivision, lots 5 thru 21 and 69 thru 76.
Ms. Orewyler agreed to add that statement to the
motion. The reason for the approval is that it would
be an extra burden for these homeowners to maintain
a second sidewalk. There is already a sidewalk on
Foster Meadows. There is no subdivision beyond these
homes on Foster Meadows.
Supported by Mr. DeMuynck
Mr. Klonowski asked if Ms. Orewyler could add
that the variance was concerning the sidewalk in the
back yard and that it would be very close to the
Chairman Stepnak added that the area would
already be adequately served by sidewalks, so this
would be an undue burden on the homeowners to have
the additional sidewalk in the back.
Ms. Orewyler agreed to the additions to the
Mr. DeMuynck continued his support.
Nays: All Motion Granted
Mr. DeMuynck stated that he would attempt to get
in touch with the County Drain Commissioners or the
Township Engineer and find out approximately when
they are anticipating to be on North Foster. When he
finds out the information, he will make an
announcement at the Township Board meeting and the
residents will be able to find the information on
the cable channel.
7. ZBA PETITION # 2009-16: Gerald R. Ulewicz who
resides at 49340 Bayshore, Chesterfield, MI 48047.
Request is for a 4.80 side yard setback on the east
side of residence and a 4.18 side yard setback on
the west side of said residence, in the R-1-A Zoning
District, which requires a 10’ side yard setback.
Location is stated above.
Robert Kirk, 19500 Hall Road #100, Clinton
Township, MI addressed the board.
Mr. Kirk stated that he was representing Mr.
Ulewicz with regard to his variance to request for
side yard setbacks. The petitioners would like to
rebuild their home in its current place. They would
not be expanding the footprint of the home. The
house was about 40 years old and was built in 1964
and was conforming at that time. Since that time,
the Township ordinances have changed in that
district. They now require 90' lots. He thought that
at the time there was intent for some of the lots to
be combined. That has not really happened. Up until
now with the economy he doubts it will be. The 90'
lots require 10' side yards on each side. In this
case, the lot is only about 50' and they are
requesting about 5' on each side of the home, which
would be about 20% of the lot coverage; which would
be the same percentage of the 90' lots. He submitted
a letter supporting the petitioner's request. The
practical difficulty involved was a self-created
hardship in regard to the site and at this time he
requests the board's consideration.
Mr. DeMuynck stated that he went down there and
spoke to the homeowner. His understanding was that
the petitioner would be staying with the existing
footprint and the footing and everything would be
staying the same. The petitioner would not be
enlarging the home size; he would just be building a
Petitioner answered yes.
Mr. DeMuynck verified so the footing and the
foundation would stay the same.
Petitioner replied yes.
Mr. DeMuynck stated that he had no problem with
this because of the narrow lots through that area.
He has been around the area for 50 years himself and
there are several narrow lots in there. He
understands there was some type of misunderstanding
when this whole project started between the
petitioners and the Building Department as far as
which walls were being torn down and which walls
would remain. He understands all the problems have
been worked out and if this is approved the
petitioner would be staying with the existing
footprint so the house would not be enlarged on the
site; it would just be for the second story.
Petitioner answered that was correct.
Mr. Leonard stated that he did not have any
Mr. Klonowski had no comments.
Ms. Frame stated that she did not have a problem
with this because of the narrow lots. The petitioner
would be staying with the same footprint and the
house would not even be next to the neighbors, it
would be kind of behind so the side setbacks would
not really make much of a difference. She does not
have a problem with this.
Ms. Orewyler stated that she had no problem with
this because the petitioner would be going up two
stories but it would be on the exact footprint.
Chairman Stepnak stated that since the petitioner
is using the same footprint he does not have a
problem with the variance.
Mr. Shortt stated that he did not have any
problems with it.
Rebecca Johnson, 49348 Bay Lane, Chesterfield, MI
addressed the board
Ms. Johnson stated that as Mr. Shortt and she
believed Chairman Stepnak stated earlier one of the
reasons for these variances would be because there
are fire hazards. She stated that she would not read
her entire letter but she stated that she would read
the pertinent parts of it. "This property has been
torn down and demolished. Once the property owner
makes the decision to tear down the house, they are
now then required to comply with the current
ordinances of the Township. The property owner needs
a variance for setback requirements. Those setback
requirements exist for the safety of the other
residents of Chesterfield Township. The property
owner has inadequate access to the lakeside of his
property. Granting of this ordinance only
exasperates this problem." She believes that Mr.
Leonard stated earlier neighbors move and change and
maybe one neighbor lets a person have access to
their front yard today, but they may not let you
have it tomorrow. She elaborated that this is the
opportunity for the Township to rectify the problem
that exists. She stated that there is no ready
access to the front yard of this property. She
reiterated that granting of this ordinance only
exasperates this problem. Enforcing the Township's
ordinance will not cause a practical difficulty. In
fact, it eliminates the practical difficulty this
property owner currently faces, which would be the
inability to access his front yard. There is nothing
unique about this property that necessitates the
granting of this variance. There is no hardship or
practical difficulty the petitioner will suffer if
the variance is denied. The property owner could
submit builder's plans that conform to the
Township's ordinances and proceed to build. People
that are on these narrow lots build narrow houses.
If the petitioner had wanted to rebuild his house,
he should have kept his walls there. She stated now
it should be play by the rules that exist today.
Mr. Leonard stated that he made no comment and
had no questions. So he is not sure about the
neighbor thing that Ms. Johnson was referring to.
Ms. Johnson made a comment from the audience that
Chairman Stepnak stated that it could have been
him. He makes comments about all sorts of things.
Ms. Orewyler had a letter from Ms. Johnson. She
did not read the letter because the board believed
Ms. Johnson had covered most of it in her comments
to the board. The letter was retained for the ZBA's
Harold Lemmer, 49300 Bayshore, Chesterfield, MI
addressed the board.
Mr. Harold Lemmer stated that he does not believe
he is the oldest resident out there, but longevity
wise he thought he had everybody other than Mr.
Paquette beat. He has lived in this neighborhood his
whole life, before and after the tornado. The lot
that these people have has been there ever since he
was a little boy. Next door where Mr. Grashik lives,
there was two lots before the tornado; there were
two houses and people had to go between the houses
sideways. Therefore, people have done a lot of
things like combining and what have you. He was part
of the group that fought for the R 1 zoning because
he wanted to protect values of the homes. Now this
person talks about access to the lake; the Township
does not need access to the lake. She stated that
there is a fire hydrant directly across the street.
Why this happened, he does not know, but he can only
state that to deny these people the right to build
their house back up would be a travesty for what is
going on in the neighborhood. The petitioner's would
be enhancing the value of the property. He lives
about five houses away from there. The petitioners
would be increasing the value of the property. They
are not doing what they could do which would be to
build a house out in front of everybody else and
block everybody. They are not doing that. There
aren't any neighbors that he knows of that object to
this plan. He stated to put these people through
that and make them start over closer to the lake
would really be a hardship. Again, there is no
easement for the Township down there, so the Fire
Department does not have to access the lake. If they
have to access the lake there are other areas and
other houses that they can go to. Therefore, he is
hoping this board grants the variances and let these
people go and build their house.
Erik Heiderer, 44045 Gratiot, Clinton Township,
MI addressed the board.
Mr. Heiderer stated that he was the architect for
the Ulewicz. He stated that just to clarify the
demolition of the plans. They were not actually
demolishing the entire house. The existing
foundation and footings were staying and the
existing garage was staying as is. One exterior wall
would be staying as is and the floor joyces and sub
floors were staying as is, They were not demolishing
the entire house. They would meet the requirement of
keeping with the existing envelope.
Carl Melchior, 49348 Bay Lane, Chesterfield, MI
addressed the board.
Mr. Melchior stated that he is a neighbor of the
Ulewicz’s. He is the husband of Rebecca Johnson. He
too has been familiar with the neighborhood since
before the tornado. His grandparents had a cottage
up the road in Fair Haven. After the tornado, he
actually visited the site and ended up living there
years later. After the tornado, the community was a
disaster and was rebuilt with very loose codes. The
garage next door to him is only 1'6" off his
property. The Ulewicz’s property is 3.6' off the
property by the survey he had when he did his
addition with the proper setbacks. Now, in 2004 they
had a variance for a garage and at that time the
petitioner's stated that their intentions were to
tear down the existing house. The variance for the
garage was granted and the order the petitioner's
were supposed do this in was to tear down the house,
rebuild the house and then rebuild the garage. He
stated that they did not do that. Another variance
that the petitioner had was to build a shed that was
the same size, but they doubled the size and that
structure was built within 2'10" of his property
line. He explained that that shed is next to their
bedroom and the petitioner's store gasoline,
lawnmowers in there. A variance was granted for the
shed by this board last year. He claimed that the
Ulewicz’s submitted a letter stating they had done
everything to keep the neighborhood nice. He
presented pictures to the board showing what his
yard looked like before the Ulewicz’s moved in and
what it looks like now. He stated that he has a nice
view driving into my home of the lake and trees.
Now, he has a garage, a play set, and something
inaudible 12' x 12' covered by a shed which the city
will not enforce its ordinances about it being
stored out there. He elaborated that they have been
ignored at every request. He stated now the
Ulewicz’s claim they are building the house in the
same envelope; they are also asking for a
cantilever. The envelope goes to the sky. They are
not building their home in the same envelope, they
are expanding their home above as well. He stated
plus they are building an addition. The petitioner's
put in for a permit in early July and it was
approved by the Building Department. The addition
was the same distance from the setback as the
existing building. It did not have a variance. It
did not have anything. It did not even have a survey
to be approved. He brought these facts to the
attention of the Building Department and they denied
it. They stated that he was starting a war. He
exclaimed that he was just sticking up for his
rights. He went to the Building Department to get a
fence because things were being stored on his
property and were being built on his property
directly. He was told that it was a civil matter. He
commented that now he and his wife were trying to do
something about it before it happens. The Ulewicz’s
have demolished the shed and the house and built
from new to start. They have been planning on doing
this since 2004. They claimed that they did not know
that they could not tear down the walls. He claimed
that they knew darn well they could not take down
the walls. They did it anyways; they took down the
shed and they built one. He brought this to the
attention of the Building Department and they stated
the Ulewicz’s were just putting up a tent. He went
on to state that the petitioner's then put up a shed
and got a red tag. He stated now it still sits there
12' x 20' and he has to look at it from his porch
that he built with his hard earned money. He stated
now they are trying to make it worse and a dangerous
Chairman Stepnak stated that he understood this
neighbor's frustration but the problem the board is
running into would be that the petitioner's are
asking to be rebuilt. He stated that the
petitioner's were planning to build on the same
footprint. He asked Mr. Shortt if the petitioner's
had other options?
Mr. Shortt stated that the petitioner's put in a
new foundation to raise it out of the flood plain.
The reason the petitioner's are in front of the
board was because they took the first floor of walls
down; over 50% of the structure. He explained that
was the reason this would be non-conforming. If the
petitioner's had kept the four walls up; they would
be building their second story and they would not be
Chairman Stepnak stated so basically the
petitioner’s are here because they tore down the
Mr. Shortt agreed. The petitioner's house would
meet all the building codes. It would not have to be
a rated wall because it would be greater than three
feet from the property line. It would meet all the
ordinances and the porch they would be adding onto
the back would conform with the R 1 A zoning. The
petitioner's would be stepping that in. The plans
that the petitioner submitted to Mr. Shortt had
would meet all the zoning and building codes. It
would be an R 1 A zoning on a fifty foot lot.
Ms. Frame stated that it did not make any sense
that it was in an R 1 A zone.
Mr. Shortt commented that the whole street does
not make any sense; it's ridiculous.
Chairman Stepnak stated that he thinks this all
goes back to the days when R 1 A was the highest
zoning that exists; therefore people figured they
would not have any smaller homes being built in that
area. Now the board is dealing with issues like
Mr. Leonard stated that he has been on the water
himself since 1985. He commented that there was not
one lot that he built on that was normal. One was a
pie shaped, one was a 50' wide lot and the other was
a nice size lot surrounded on three sides by water.
He explained that he needed a variance on one and
the other ones he just did the best he could to make
everything fit. He added that was a common
occurrence on the waterfront. It is unique, not
every community has a waterfront. In his
neighborhood, the lots are all different sizes;
anywhere from 50' to 100' and people run into these
things. He asked how old was the existing house on
Petitioner answered it was built in 1964.
Mr. Leonard stated so the house was about 50
years old. He explained that what he has seen with
his background in building is if something is 50
years old there are problems. There is a home on
Jefferson where the owners are trying to salvage
part of it but when they got to the walls they had
problems. The studs in the walls were different from
what they are today. People run into problems and
many times when rebuilding, it is not good to keep
what is there. He is not sure if that was the
problem the petitioner's were running into. The
ordinances and building codes way back when were
different than they are today. He thinks that the
structure would be much better with new walls. He is
assuming the floor joyces, and the foundation. He
concluded that it would be a matter of taking down
the walls that were not good.
Ms. Orewyler read a letter that was in favor of
the board granting the variance. The letter was
signed by the following neighbors: Sandy Schaffer,
Louis Paquette, Catherine Paquette, Martin Grashik,
Mary Ann Grashik, Harold Lemmer, Michael Schenk,
Christine Schenk, Debbie Thibideau, Robert Thibideau,
Paula Miriani, and Marie Bartoli.
Chairman Stepnak commented that he understood the
neighbor's concerns on this matter. Other than
completely turning it down he does not know what
they could do in this matter. The petitioner's do
have the right to rebuild their home. It would be
possible that the petitioners could put a new home
in there that could be more intrusive.
Rebecca Johnson, 49348 Bay Lane, Chesterfield, MI
readdressed the board
Ms. Johnson stated that she has no objection to
the Ulewicz’s rebuilding their home. However, she
feels they should have to comply with the existing
ordinances. If they build this house as planned and
she wanted to build a garage her back yard; she
would be impinged upon because the petitioner's home
does not meet the setback requirements. Plenty of
houses on the lake are on these narrow lots. These
narrow lots that have narrow houses on them and are
within the setback requirements. If the petitioner
had left the walls as he was supposed to do he would
have been able to build the house on his footprint.
In that case, they would not have had any reasons to
object. The Township now has the opportunity to
correct the problem. She does not see how it would
cause any hardship for the petitioner. Ms. Johnson
added that with respect to the Fire Departments
access to the homes; that is not the issue. Mr.
Ulewicz only has 3.5' on one side and 4.5' on the
other side. if he wants to cart something to the
back yard he has no way to get it there. The
Ulewicz's would have to get our permission or Marty
and Mary Ann's permission to go through their
properties. She elaborated that we may not live on
this property for very long and who knows if Mary
Ann and Marty plan to move at some time. If the new
next door neighbors do not want Mr. Ulewicz to on
their property there would be constant trespassing
issues. The Township should alleviate this problem
now. She stated that she also expects the Township
to enforce their ordinances.
Mr. Shortt stated that If the petitioners had
left the four walls they would not even be in front
of the board on this issue.
Motion by Ms. Orewyler to approve ZBA Petition #
2009-16 on the request for a 4.80 side yard setback
on the east side of residence and a 4.18 side yard
setback on the west side of said residence, in the
R-1-A Zoning District, which requires a 10’ side
yard setback. The property is not changing the foot
print. The house would be in the exact location; it
would only be going up two stories. The petitioner
would not even have been here if had he not taken
down the walls. She does not consider that a major
infraction. The setbacks on either side would not
Supported by Ms. Frame
Nay: None Motion Granted
8. OLD BUSINESS
There was no old business.
9. NEW BUSINESS:
Chairman Stepnak stated that he received a letter
from Ms. Janice Giese from Planning and Zoning
Administration about the Township budget constraints
in regard to the convention. He believes the board
members could still go if need be.
Ms. Orewyler stated she did not know where the
convention was being held?
Ms. Frame replied that the convention was to be
held at Soaring Eagle.
Chairman Stepnak polled the board.
None of the board members planned to attend the
10. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PRIOR MEETING
Motion by Mr. DeMuynck to approve the minutes
from the August 12, 2009 meeting.
Supported by Ms. Orewyler
Nays: None Motion Granted
11. COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR:
Chairman Stepnak thanked Mr. Shortt for attending
Motion by Chairman Stepnak at 8:37 PM
Supported by Ms. Frame
Nays: None Motion Granted
Nancy Orewyler, Secretary
Grace Mastronardi, Recording Secretary