Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes - February 10,
THE CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
A regular meeting of the
Chesterfield Township Zoning Board of Appeals was
held on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at
the Township Hall located at 47275 Sugarbush,
Chesterfield Twp. MI 48047
1. CALL TO ORDER: Chairman Stepnak
called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.
Present: Marvin Stepnak
Others: Shawn Shortt, Building
3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:
4. ZBA PETITION #2010-01: Tom Caporuscio of
Brookshire Development, L.L.C. 1536 Clear Creek,
Rochester Hills, MI 48306. Requesting variance for a
proposed 4 car garage and to be 40’ over allowed
square footage of said structure. Ordinance allows a
920’ garage, petitioner is proposing 960’. Location
of request is 48960 Point Lakeview.
Caporuscio stated that his clients desire a four car
garage on their site. Once they had submitted the
plans to the Building Department for their review
and approval, someone from the Building Department
notified them and informed them that four car
garages are not allowed per the ordinance. There are
additional homes on that street, including the home
directly to the east, which is their neighbor that
does currently have a four car garage. It looks like
it is a newer home built within the last few years.
Mr. Yaschen stated that he lives right
across the street from the said property. To avoid
any conflict of interest he stated that he has no
financial interest whatsoever in this property. The
only time he has ever met anyone from this property
was when he called the police when he thought
someone was violating the home, which was vacant.
The home that had been existing was torn down. He
met the police officers there and he talked to a
gentleman, but he does not even know if it was the
owner or a real estate agent.
stated that we have had opinions from our attorneys
indicating that as long as a member does not have a
vested interest, financial gain or loss, there is no
need for that member to abstain from voting as long
as they state that they live close.
Yaschen commented that this is a nice looking home.
Ms. Orewyler stated that she realizes that there
is a home next to this one that has a four car
garage; however, we do not like to hand these out.
She was not on this Board at that time. She can’t
tell them how that happened. She does not have a
problem for the 960 square feet for the garage, but
she has a problem with the four car opening into the
garage. On their plans it has two large garage
doors, not four individual doors. She would like to
see if they are agreeable to keep the square footage
they are asking for and have three entrance doors
for cars. In the smaller entrance door they could
put all of their lawn equipment, lawn furniture,
four wheelers, ski boat, whatever in that fourth
Mr. Caporuscio clarified that Ms.
Orewyler is asking if his clients would be favorable
to installing a smaller door, smaller than eight
feet obviously. He asked if she is speaking of an
Ms. Orewyler responded yes,
just not wide enough to pull a car through.
Mr. Stepnak commented not a garage door, but a
utility type of door.
Mr. Caporuscio stated
that they do make six foot overhead garage doors. He
guesses that it all depends on his clients’ position
on that once he gets through the process this
Ms. Orewyler stated that is her
concern. She does not want to see anymore four car
garages. The more we see them, the more people want
them. She does not know how it happened to start
with, but out ordinance is very clear on this. She
is not against the extra footage in the garage. They
would not have to have a shed on the property. It
would look very nice.
Mr. Stepnak informed
Mr. Caporuscio that he is required to state their
reasoning as to why there is a practical difficulty.
In searching in his head with regard to a three car
garage versus a four car garage being a practical
difficulty that is something that they need to prove
to the Board at this stage of the game. He cited an
example of building a home on the waterfront without
a basement, and the need for extra storage; that
would be justification for the additional storage
space in a larger garage. The ordinance is clear in
stating that we don’t allow four car garages. It is
possible that someone did file a petition and made a
case in front of this Board and it was approved.
Sometimes things have been there for many years and
have been grandfathered. There are differences in
how a neighbor could get a four car garage. He
instructed Mr. Caporuscio that they need to prove to
us that there is a practical difficulty that they
need the four car garage, or as Ms. Orewyler stated
earlier, would they agree to three garage doors for
vehicles to enter in and out of, and a third type of
pedestrian type of door that could basically be used
for lawn equipment, etc.; but that would have to be
agreed upon this evening.
commented that Ms. Orewyler’s point is well taken.
If we grant variances we compromise our ability to
Mr. Caporuscio stated
that when he first designed the home, and they also
purchased the property next door, they always had
the intent of building this four car garage. They
were not aware of the ordinance since there were
other homes on that street that did have the four
car garages on them. It was only when they applied
for the permit that that issue came into play with
them. Hopefully something can be done this evening
considering that there were other homes that had
been granted this.
Ms. Uglis commented that
she sees two garage doors that could fit two cars
Mr. Caporuscio interjected that when
the doors open the whole opening will be open. He
can’t say that at some point they won’t park a
fourth car in there, but he does know that they have
lawn equipment; they have a large yard, the lot is
325 feet by 125 feet wide. They will park some lawn
and garden equipment. They do have three cars at
Ms. Uglis asked Ms. Orewyler to
clarify her idea of the garage doors.
Orewyler responded that they don’t have to have two
two car garage doors the same size. They could have
three singles. They could have a double and a single
smaller one. There are other ways that they could do
Ms. Uglis clarified that they would then
be in line with the ordinance.
responded correct. It would just be like having an
attached shed, but a very nice one attached to their
garage. She would even recommend a wall because
there will be gasoline stored in there with
lawnmowers and what not. She does not want to allow
another four car garage. It doesn’t end; next it
will be a five car garage.
commented that Mr. Caporuscio stated that they only
have three cars anyway.
Mr. Stepnak commented
that we are not here to design their plan. We are
here to move on the garage doors. There was a
suggestion that Ms. Orewyler had. We could approve
it as they are asking, we could suggest that they
make a modification, or we could deny it.
Mr. Shortt commented that the house next door has
the fourth door just for aesthetics. It is a
habitable area in there; it is for cutting deer and
cleaning fish. They only wanted the fourth door for
the effect. With 920 square feet you could fit four
cars into this garage. He suggested a 16 foot door
and a 12 foot door. There are people now buying side
lifts for cars, where they lift one car up and put
another underneath, or they put a car on wheels and
slide it over. We are still in litigation with his
neighbor that the ZBA denied a couple of years ago
on Salt River Drive. It has been to the Court of
Appeals where they have sided with us, but he keeps
suing us. This has been going on for four years.
Mr. Stepnak asked Mr. Shortt if we have many
residences with four car garages out there.
Mr. Shortt responded that in the lawsuit they
brought up eight or nine of them. All of them had
gotten approved for variances.
asked how long it has been since those variances
have been granted.
Mr. Shortt responded that
he thinks the one in Lottivue was the last one. That
one has a carriage house, so it is almost like a
Ms. Frame commented that she
is having a hard time finding a hardship or
practical difficulty right now to grant a variance.
No one from the public spoke on this agenda
Mr. Stepnak noted that there had been
mailings to everyone within so many feet of this
property. The records show that no communication has
come back. There were a couple of notices that came
back due to wrong addresses. He reiterated that it
is the petitioner’s responsibility to prove to us
that there is a hardship or practical difficulty
where there is a reason for a variance to be
granted. By granting a variance it means that we are
letting them break the rules of the community that
everyone else needs to follow and obey. He asked Mr.
Caporuscio if there is any case that he could build
to indicate the need for this extra garage.
Mr. Caporuscio responded that a four car garage is a
luxury item. That is all he can say.
Stepnak commented that Mr. Caporuscio is in the
business. He is a professional. He knows where we
are coming with this. If it were an odd shaped lot,
or there was some type of issue, he has a hard time
going back to why an additional garage is required.
Mr. Caporuscio stated that it is a luxury
item; it is a luxury home; it is on the water. It is
expensive. It is pricey. The one hardship that he
tried to point out was that it would increase the
salability of the home in the future based on the
Mr. Stepnak responded that we cannot
use monetary gain or loss as a practical difficulty.
It is a good thing to bring up.
commented that everyone wants a big garage now. They
are really getting popular. The bigger the house,
the more money they have, the more toys they have.
He has had discussions with Ms. Giese. He thinks
something should be done about it. The new houses
that he is getting for review, they all want bigger
Mr. Stepnak commented that if the
township wishes to go on the lines of having four
car garages they need to go through the proper
procedure. The Planning Department needs to update,
the Planning Commission needs to review it, and
Public Hearings need to be held. It is something
that could happen in the future if that is the
intent, but the problem is that it is not something
that can happen overnight because of the procedures
that are in place.
Ms. Frame commented that
she will mention it to the Planning Commission.
Mr. Caporuscio asked that the size be considered
as well. If they could maintain the size that they
are requesting, he will discuss the issue with his
clients regarding putting on a smaller door if that
is the case. He would like to get this through as it
is at this point.
Mr. Stepnak responded that
the problem we are running into is that the ZBA’s
purpose is not to design; we can make suggestions,
but they need to come back to us and say yes that’s
a good idea that is what we are going to propose. We
cannot tell them what to do; they have to tell us
what they want to do.
Motion by Mr. Yaschen,
supported by Mr. Stepnak to table ZBA Petition
#2010-01 to our next regular meeting so that the
party involved can go back to his clients to see the
possibility of making the adjustment on the garage
Mr. Stepnak asked Mr. Caporuscio if
this is something he would like to see done this
evening, or would he rather we make a decision this
Mr. Caporuscio responded that he
really cannot answer for his client.
Stepnak explained that the timeframe for the tabling
could probably be a month at least.
Klonowski asked Mr. Caporuscio if they are under any
Mr. Caporuscio responded
yes they do have a current construction mortgage
that was closed on in the fall and they were hoping
to be under construction by now. They did the
demolition on the home back in October and November,
then they ran into this issue.
commented that there is no basement under the garage
so it should really not affect the end part with the
garage if they have to come back in a month or six
Mr. Caporuscio asked if he would be
able to start construction. Can he at least get the
Mr. Shortt commented that he is
getting flack with regard to the neighbor with the
lawsuit. He had suggested that it is a lot easier to
enclose it than to enlarge it, so he told them to
frame it all for a 16 footer. He went to 3 Zoning
Boards because there was not a quorum for 2 of them,
and they came in and he got shut down and it has
been in court ever since.
stated that he is not opposed to the smaller door, a
12 foot door, or a 6 foot door or a 16, 8 and a 6
Mr. Shortt stated that he is not
going to approve their plans with two 16 foot doors.
Mr. Stepnak commented that the problem is that
Mr. Caporuscio does not have the authority.
Mr. Caporuscio responded yes he needs to check with
his clients. He would like to somehow get the
Mr. Shortt commented that if
they have a 960 square foot attached garage with a
16 foot and 12 foot door on it, he will approve
Mr. Caporuscio responded okay.
Ms. Frame reiterated that she is still having a
problem finding a hardship or practical difficulty
in approving. They have a partial basement and
Ms. Orewyler commented that
they are still entitled to another accessory
building outside; they could build a shed.
Mr. Caporuscio reiterated that it is strictly
Ms. Frame commented that she would
have expected the homeowner to be present here this
evening on such an important decision.
Caporuscio responded that they happen to be out of
Mr. Stepnak commented that it seems
that the motion to table is not going to work out
for them. Mr. Stepnak withdrew his support for
tabling this item.
Mr. Klonowski supported
Mr. Yaschen’s motion to table to the next meeting.
Mr. Stepnak commented that the only problem now
is that we will have to assign a date for the
Mr. Caporuscio asked if the Board
would be opposed to approving a 960 square foot
structure allowing them a variance of 40 feet at
Ms. Orewyler responded that she
would be opposed unless Mr. Caporuscio agrees to
wall off ¼ of that garage with a small door for the
outside equipment and garden equipment.
Caporuscio responded okay.
commented that the only way that he could approve
their plans is if this Board was to approve it.
Mr. Caporuscio stated that he may be able to
talk them into the small door if the Board was to
approve the garage this evening, and then Shawn may
be able to enforce the small door at his level.
Mr. Stepnak commented that we are looking at a 4
car garage at 960 square feet. He asked Mr. Shortt
what would be the amount that they would not have to
come before us.
Mr. Shortt responded 920
Mr. Stepnak stated that if they
went down to the 920 square feet they would not have
to come back before us and Mr. Shortt would approve
it. The question is by tabling it we are allowing
the fact for him to come back to see us for the
additional 40 square feet in the 4 car garage.
Basically it can move forward administratively
because it falls within parameters of the
ordinances. It will not be reentertained by us. So
by us tabling it and putting it into the future it
is going to allow us to move forward on a 4 car
garage and the additional square footage.
Mr. Klonowski withdrew his support.
Stepnak asked for additional support.
was no response for the additional support.
Mr. Stepnak stated that the motion failed. He asked
for a new motion for approval or denial.
Motion by Mr. Stepnak, supported by Ms. Orewyler to
deny Petition #2010-01 due to the fact that the 4
car garage structure is uncommon in our community;
it does not fall within the current ordinance and
current way our community is being developed. The
petitioner did not put a practical difficulty in
front of us. If the petitioner brings it down to
required square footage it will be approved due to
the fact that it will fall into the parameters of
our ordinances, and the petitioner has not proven
any practical difficulty that a 4 car garage is
needed on this site.
All Ayes Motion Carried
5. ZBA PETITION #2010-02: Dean Toward, 48037
Mallard Chesterfield, MI 48047. Requesting a
variance for a 16’x12’ shed in lieu of the 10’x12’
ordinance allows and a 1’10” height variance.
Location of request is address stated above.
Dean Toward stated that he had a shed currently
in the same spot this one is. He is just asking that
it be enlarged to 12 feet by 16 feet.
Uglis stated that she saw that he has a cupola that
is not completed. She asked if that is what Mr.
Toward wants to complete once he gets this approved.
Mr. Toward responded yes.
asked for clarification that he was approved for a
larger building before.
Mr. Toward responded
yes a 24 foot by 28 foot garage with 10 foot walls.
Ms. Uglis commented that he is now downsizing
Mr. Toward responded correct.
Orewyler commented that he got the variance in 2006
for the garage.
Mr. Toward responded yes.
Ms. Orewyler asked if he built this shed this
Mr. Toward responded December.
Ms. Orewyler commented that the variance is null
and void after 6 months. She stated that she does
not have too much problem with his shed, but she has
a problem with the junk around and behind his shed.
She would like to see all that cleaned up. If she
made a motion she would put that in.
Toward responded right.
commented that she does not have a problem with him
putting a weathervane on top of the shed.
Mr. Blake asked if the cupola is part of the 17.1
Mr. Toward responded that when
he puts the cupola on top that would be the height.
Mr. Blake asked if that is just the peak of
Mr. Toward responded that is the
brown structure at the top. The brown structure
where it looks like a chimney is the base. The
cupola would sit right on top and then it would be
No one from the public
spoke on this agenda item.
indicated that there was no pertinent information
from the neighbors. He noted that we did approve a
larger garage back in 2006, so he is having less on
the site. He did start something without being
approved, but it is less than we approved prior.
Mr. Toward stated that he will have everything
in the shed now. He will clean up the outside. He
just did not want to jam everything in there before
he got approval. He just stopped everything.
Motion by Ms. Orewyler, supported by Mr. Blake
to approve Petition #2010-02 with the hardship being
the large size of his lot and the small size of his
home, with the additional comment that the mess
around the shed will be cleaned up. Everything with
the exception of the gravel will be cleaned up and
put in the shed.
All Ayes Motion Carried
It was requested that we take a 5 minute break
in the meeting at 7:40 p.m. The meeting reconvened
6. ZBA PETITION #2010-03: Erik
Heiderer for Kevin P. Kouki, 44045 Gratiot Clinton
Twp., MI 48036. Requesting a 5’ height variance for
a detached garage for a new residence located at
Erik Heiderer stated that last
April they came to get a (?) variance for the
existing house. On the site plan the house and the
plot is a triangular shaped lot. It is not a very
large buildable area so they got a variance for
putting a second story on. Once they got an
elevation certificate they found out that the
existing finished floor is 3 feet below the
acceptable floodplain. That means that they will
have to renovate the first story to update it to the
finished floor. Since the existing house is on a
slab by doing that they are proposing a detached
garage, which is 910 square feet. They are asking
for a height variance because they want to put a
bonus room above the garage. Eventually when they
put the second story on the house and renovate the
first story, the detached garage will eventually be
attached. The bonus room will be part of the
existing house when they do attach it. Since the
house is on a slab they want to build the detached
garage first because they want to store the
equipment to renovate the house.
commented that bonus rooms seem to be very popular
now a days.
Mr. Heiderer responded yes.
Mr. Shortt asked if they are going to
conventionally frame this garage and put a second
story on it; that’s why they need the height.
Mr. Heiderer responded yes correct. If they are
going to do the addition to the house with the
garage attached they would not need a variance
because it is an attached garage, but since they are
going to build the actual garage first with the
height difference that does not meet the code, they
have to get a variance for the height of the garage.
Once they build the garage, within the year they
will probably do the addition to the house.
Mr. Shortt clarified that this detached garage will
have a full frost free footing on it.
Heiderer responded oh yeah absolutely 42 inch
footing the whole shot.
Mr. Shortt indicated
that he has no problem with this.
asked for clarification as to the fact that if the
garage was attached it would not need a height
Mr. Shortt responded correct he
would not be in front of us right now if it was
Ms. Frame clarified that it is
because of the building complications that they need
Mr. Heiderer responded
Mr. Shortt responded that detached
is 16 feet maximum. The height is half the distance
from the ridge to the eave on a house 28 feet.
Mr. Klonowski asked for clarification that the
house is going to be raised up.
responded yes. The existing house is actually going
to stay there, but since it is on a slab they are
going to actually put on the inside a conventional
framing first floor to lift it up.
Klonowski asked if the height of the house is not
Mr. Heiderer responded they are
putting a second story on the house, so there will
be a new first floor and a second floor.
Orewyler commented that the garage itself will be
above the floodplain.
Mr. Heiderer responded
Ms. Orewyler asked if they are going to
have the same type of siding on the garage as the
Mr. Heiderer responded yes.
one from the public spoke on this agenda item.
Mr. Stepnak noted that notification did go out
to the residents. There is no additional information
in the file. The Building Department has given us
background; we seem to be okay there.
by Ms. Frame, supported by Mr. Klonowski to approve
Petition #2010-03 because of the hardship of the
building complications they are having with the
existing site plan, and that the structure will
eventually be an attached structure and meet all the
Mr. Blake asked if we are
approving both the height and the second story.
Mr. Stepnak responded yes we are approving the
All Ayes Motion Carried
7. NEW BUSINESS:
Ms. Orewyler noted
correspondence from the St. Clair County
Metropolitan Planning Commission regarding an annual
Mr. Stepnak commented on
the helpfulness of having Mr. Shortt attend the ZBA
meetings. He asked Ms. Uglis to take that back to
the Township Board.
8. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
OF PRIOR MEETINGS:
Motion by Ms. Orewyler,
supported by Mr. Blake to approve the minutes from
the December 9, 2009 meeting.
All Ayes Motion
9. COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR:
Mr. Stepnak noted that our next meeting has been
Ms. Uglis commented that she will
get with Mr. Lovelock regarding attending the St.
Clair County Metropolitan Planning Commission
workshop on February 25, 2010.
asked for a review of Board members who would like
to attend the workshop.
All of the Board
members expressed interest in attending the
Mr. Stepnak, supported by Ms. Frame to adjourn the
meeting at 8:03 p.m.
All Ayes Motion Carried
Nancy Orewyler , Secretary
Christine A. Hunyady,