Reference Desk


Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes - October 13, 2010



October 13, 2010

On October 13, 2010, 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

James Klonowski, Vice-Chairman, excused

Thomas Yaschen, Secretary

Janice Uglis, Township Board liaison

Paula Frame, Planning Commission liaison Gerald Alexie

Christine Anderson was in attendance as legal counsel for the Township.

Shawn Shortt attended the meeting as the representative from the Building Department.


Chairman Stepnak explained the procedures to the audience.

4. ZBA PETITION #2010-27: John Vitale, 27172 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak, MI 48067. Request is for a 27 parking space variance for Hamlin Pub, located at 50555 Gratiot Ave. Tabled 9/22/2010. Nothing new has been submitted.

Chairman Stepnak mentioned that the petition came up at the prior meeting and at the time there were not sufficient votes either for or against and the item was tabled. He asked for a motion to take the petition off the table.

Motion by Ms. Frame to take Petition # 2010-27 off the table.

Supported by Mr. Klonowski

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted

John Vitale, 27172 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak, MI 48067 addressed the board.

Petitioner stated that he was there to present a project for the complete renovation and addition to a shopping center and the Hamlin Pub. They were respectfully asking for a 27 parking space variance to accomplish this. The center is located on Gratiot Avenue and as the board can see from the renderings and site plans to show what the expansion will include. He stated that the Hamlin Pub is hoping to add an area that will be a multi-purpose space used for outdoor seating and for banquet use as well. Another addition which will be in front of what is currently Play It Again Sports is going to allow them to provide some additional architectural features to enhance the complete façade of the existing mall. So, they are actually redoing the complete façade of the mall and that was the primary reason for squaring up that angular piece that is at the center of the expansion. He mentioned that was about 865 square feet. The Hamlin Pub expansion will be approximately 2,500 square feet. He explained that the site has plenty of parking and a lot of the uses are very complementary to the uses of the Hamlin Pub. In other words, a lot of the mall is retail and those stores would be closed much of the time that Hamlin Pub will be using that additional space. He thought the uses in the mall complement each other in this instance.

Chairman Stepnak asked Mr. Shortt for any comments on the petition.

Mr. Shortt stated that the Building Department did not have a problem with it.

Ms. Frame stated that the petitioner had been in front of the Planning Commission already and they are very excited about the renovations that the petitioners are proposing. The Planning Commission has no problems with the variance request.

Mr. Alexie had no questions.

Michael Dennis, Hamlin Pub, 28225 Mound, Warren, MI 48092 addressed the board.

Mr. Dennis stated that the proposal would be beneficial to the community for the following reasons: The banquet facilities that will be added on will be utilizing the parking at different times than the retail space of the mall. Therefore, there should not be any problems with parking because they would not compete. He explained that the banquet facilities would be beneficial to the community because various community groups and service organizations would be able to utilize the space for their functions. He stated that there have never been any problems with parking in that area. He explained that and in talking with the developer; if there was a problem they would be more than willing to address it at that time.

Ms. Uglis stated that she thought it would be a great idea and it would enhance that area of the Township.

Mr. Klonowski stated that at one time in Planning there was a situation where two businesses came in and were short of parking spaces. One was a daytime business and the other did most of their business in the evening. At the time, it was approved for the shortage of parking for that reason.

Chairman Stepnak stated that he had a discussion about the matter with

Mr. Meagher and they agreed that due to the fact that there was a carpet store, sports store, pet supply business and the show parking uses would complement the Hamlin Pub.

Mr. Yaschen had no questions.

There were no public comments.

Motion by Mr. Klonowski to approve Petition # 2010-27 for the Hamlin Pub located at 50555 Gratiot Avenue for a 27 parking space variance from Section 76-213 of the Chesterfield Township Ordinances. The revised layout for the 282 parking spaces is shared by several businesses with various peak usages, this will allow for adequate on-site parking. Therefore, it would not be contrary to the spirit and intent of the ordinance. The practical difficulty for this constricted site is recognized.

Supported by Mr. Alexie

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted

5. ZBA PETITION #2010-30: James Klawitter, 34356 Blair Avenue, Chesterfield, MI 48047. His request for a variance is for a covered deck that encroaches into the required 10’ setback from any main structure. Location is the above address.

James Klawitter, 34356 Blair Avenue, Chesterfield, MI 48047 addressed the board.

Petitioner stated that he was requesting a variance for a covered deck that encroaches into the 10’ setback.

Mr. Yaschen had no questions.

Ms. Frame had no questions.

Mr. Klonowski had no problems with it.

Mr. Alexie stated that he went out to visit the site and went around to the back. He had no problem with it.

Ms. Uglis had no questions.

Chairman Stepnak asked Mr. Shortt for any comments or concerns on the matter.

Mr. Shortt stated that he went out to the site and there are some structural defects that had to be fixed there.

Petitioner stated that he stopped when he got the notice and he agreed that there are probably a few things that had to be addressed. He just wanted to wait until he got approval from the ZBA before doing anything else.

Mr. Shortt mentioned the header going down the stairs that is at 6’ 2" instead of 6’ 8" and to reinforce the beam going closest to the house. He stated that they could make it work and he does not have a problem with the structure.

Chairman Stepnak stated that if the variance was approved that the petitioner would be required to fulfill all Building Department requirements and the petitioner would have to work with Mr. Shortt for any questions and concerns.

Petitioner stated that he understood and Mr. Shortt was his next stop.

There were no public comments.

Motion by Mr. Yaschen to approve Petition #2010-30 for a 10’ variance due to the fact that denial would create a hardship and the variance would not be contrary to the spirit and intent of the ordinance and does not provide any special privileges denied others in that zoning district provided that the petitioner meets with all the conditions given by the Building Department,.

Supported by Mr. Klonowski

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted

6. ZBA PETITION #2010-09: Ralph Daley, 48762 Salt River Drive, Chesterfield, MI 48047. The petition has been remanded back to the Zoning Board of Appeals for lack of information at the last public hearing. The request is to appeal the Building Department Official’s determination and or decision not to allow a revised building plan to bring the plans for the requested garage space into compliance with the zoning ordinance limitations that the garage not be designed to house more that 3 vehicles.

Roger Hyde, 42815 Garfield #214, Clinton Township, MI addressed the board.

Mr. Hyde stated that he was representing Mr. Ralph Daley and his wife who are present; they live at 48762 Salt River Drive, Chesterfield, MI 48047. They are in front of the ZBA to review a building officials decision made on May 23, 2007 regarding a request for an amendment to a building plan to allow for a room inside a garage to eliminate the fourth car space and try to bring the structure in compliance with the Zoning Ordinance so as to obtain a final certificate of occupancy. As stated in the notice that was circulated by counsel for the Township or by the Zoning Administrator, the matter is pending before Judge Druzinski in the Circuit Court on Docket # 10279AB and that is the appeal from the decision where the ZBA denied the appeal on June 9th. He explained that when they got to Circuit Court the question arose as to whether or not during that June 9th hearing the Zoning Board actually had the Building Department file to be reviewed; it wasn’t clear for the record and so counsel struck an agreement for stipulation and they asked the judge to send it back here for that decision and review of the Building Official’s file. He just wanted to make a few comments and walk through the logic as to why the amendment should have been approved by the Building Official back in May of 2007.

At that time he passed out a large packet of documentation to the board members.

Mr. Hyde continued stating that there were page numbers on the upper right hand corners and he would be referring to those to make it quicker for them to get through this. He stated that he submitted that the decision for reviewing is on Page 2. The May 23, 2007 notation that should be part of the Building Department’s file which reads: "After discussion with Supervisor Jim Ellis states do not issue a permit for craft room until 16’ garage door is changed to 8’ overhead door per court’s decision." It was stamped denied and was dated 5-23-07. He talked to his client and they looked back on what orders that were outstanding and there was only one which was the courts opinion on July 25, 2005 which was on Page 4. He stated that in this court opinion she upheld the Township board stating it was constitutional and that they could restrict the accessory buildings in accordance with the ordinance. However, she also said on Page 8, third line, after quoting the ordinance, referencing the ordinance " Under the terms of this provision, if the attached garage is designed to house three cars or fewer, and if the garage is 920 square feet or less, then the structure must be approved by defendants." So, his logic was that if they could redesign the building to eliminate the fourth space; not increase it in size and be 920’ or less then they should be in compliance. He stated on Page 10 showing the State construction code from Public Act 230 1972 or as lawyers refer to as MCL 125.1511, in the middle of the paragraph it states "The enforcing agency shall approve changes in plans and specifications previously approved by it, if the changes require approval and if the plans and specifications when so changed remain in conformity of the law." He explained that essentially a person has the right to come back and ask for a change in their plans. Previously, his client had the plans approved subject to getting a variance regarding the door size, but that was denied by the ZBA a few years ago. The petitioner still has a building plan that was approved it was just the issue if he had to change the door size. The court of opinion in 2005 did not say he had to change the door size, it said the ordinance was constitutional. Nothing said that the petitioner could not come back and ask for a change to the plan. He stated why Mr. Ellis told the Building Official to not review the plan or deny it was because it did not reflect a change in the door size. He did not know where that came from because it does not come from the 2005 opinion of the Circuit Court. He explained that it turned out they were not happy with the decision and they tried to appeal it to the construction board of appeals. However, the Township does not have one, so they went to the Circuit Court on that issue. The Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that they were going down the wrong path with that and they should have come back to the ZBA. It was a Zoning issue and to see whether the design complies with the ordinance. In that lawsuit, and that was Case #07-002847-AW he took the deposition of Janice Giese, the Zoning Administrator on January 28, 2008 and on Page 13 of this packet, at the bottom, in response to his Question "Is there anything in the ordinance that says expressly you cannot have a space, a structure - - strike that. Not have a garage that has two wide doors on it?" Answer "It specifically says you cannot house more than three cars. It does not address doors." All right, he commented, so it is not the doors that are the issue according to the Zoning Administrator. He expressed that he also took the deposition of Mr. Shawn Shortt that day and on Page 17, he expressed his opinion "that if you have two 16’ garage doors you have four cars." After questioning on Page 18 Mr. Hyde asked "Is it permitted to have a garage space which is on the interior is designed to have a storage room?" Answer "yes".

Question: "It doesn’t have to be made habitable, does it?" Answer: "No". He stated, all right so there is a garage with a space in it and it does not have to be habitable. Then he referred to Page 19 of the packet, where he asked this Question on Line 11 "Looking at this plan isn’t it true that the craft room does eliminate the possibility of a fourth car being parked in the garage?" Answer: yes All right, he stated, his client has the right to amend and he has a new design, the craft room does not have to be habitable space, it eliminated a fourth car space, it is not an issue of the garage doors; that is not even in the ordinance. He stated and now the Building Official states that it does eliminate the possibility of a fourth car space. He mentioned that just to be doubly sure as to what additional things might have to be looked at in the plan, (inaudible) carefully reviewed, denied it. But they have an 8’ x 12.5’ room inside the garage and it has a door and it has ordinary studded non-bearing walls. So he pulled up the residential code and it does follow the residential code. On Page 22 of the packet is the web page which describes the department and codes that follow. So working from this residential code 2003, again with non-habitable space, how it is defined on Page 25 and it doesn’t include storage space and similar areas. Those are non-habitable. In terms of venting and light and heating, he went through it and on Page 26 of the packet it explains that the venting and heating are for habitable rooms. In terms of the separation and walls, the garage itself has to be separated from the structure and that’s Page 27 of the packet. They are looking at ordinary gypsum to separate the area inside. Concerning means of egress on Page 28 of the packet habitable space has to have an exit through a door, but being non-habitable space does not require a door. This one does have a door; it opens to the garage. In terms of interior non-bearing walls on Page 29 of the packet it illustrates what they are doing with the non-bearing wall. Page 30 describes in E3801.9 Basements and Garages "At least one receptacle outlet in addition to any provided for laundry equipment shall be installed." He stated that it would be just an ordinary room in the garage used for craft storage space and it will have a receptacle and it will have a light. Lighting outlets are addressed on Page 31 of the packet and for storage space it is outlined in E3803.4. The original plan went to review to see if he would get the structure and there was something else about it whether it was habitable or non-habitable. The Township used the ordinary description of habitable or non-habitable which is on the last page of the packet which describes storage space as utility rooms and similar spaces as being non-habitable. His full objective on behalf of his client is to settle a dispute which has been going on for a number of years by bringing the structure in compliance with the Township’s codes. He knows at times it has been difficult to accept my client in a non-adversarial position. He asked if the board had any questions?

Ms. Anderson explained as Mr. Hyde suggested they went in front of the judge, the record was a bit unclear as to whether the full Building Department file was in front of the board when they were making their decision. So, that a technical violation would not be the basis for the judge’s ruling; they came back to here to make sure that everything that was in the file was in front of the board and they have had a chance to review it before they rendered a decision. She stated that the board’s decision tonight would be whether or not in their opinion Shawn Shortt was correct when he denied Mr. Daley’s application.

Mr. Shortt stated that the petitioner says it is a non-habitable space, but it is an occupiable space. For an occupiable space there is still the requirement to have light, ventilation, and heat and that was why his plans were rejected. The petitioner did not show him a wall section and that the walls were going to be insulated, that there would be a twenty minute door. It would have to be separated from the garage and it needed its own heating system. He stated emphatically that was what he discussed with Mr. Daley and suggested why not throw the room against the house where he could zap in the heater right from the furnace; and Mr. Daley wanted it in an outside corner. He stated that is the difference occupiable space if you look that up in the dictionary or glossary, that ventilation, heat…. That was why Mr. Daley’s plans were rejected. He stated that he has a list there that he gave the petitioner. Mr. Shortt explained that he wanted a wall section. He listed show me where the heat is, show me 8% of natural light, show me a solid core door, show me what type of insulation that was to be put in there, show me what type of studs, 16 on center, show me if the room was to be drywalled or paneled or whatever.

Chairman Stepnak stated that the board can grant variances and make interpretations but the petitioner is still required to follow the building codes and pretty much what the Building Inspector rules on and deals with. The board is not at the Township on a 100% basis and he reiterated as he made clear with the previous petitioner, that he would have to be willing to work with the Building Inspector to move forward and that is pretty much a status quo that the board.

Mr. Hyde stated that there was not a lot of guidance on how these things are supposed to be handled by terms of appeal with the Building Official. He feels a little bit awkward because he is right here. He stated that Mr. Shortt stated that he made all these decisions and gave these things to his client. He asked what is in the file in terms of a decision?

Mr. Shortt stated that this slip with Jim on it was the same thing. He asked why the petitioner had that slip of paper explaining why it was rejected? He explained that was the same tag and that was the original on 5/23. He stated that the petitioner gave them this one so why didn’t he give them that one when the plans were originally denied. He explained that he gave the stuff back to him telling him the plans are denied and this is what he would need for permits. He stated that Mr. Daley never came back with a revised set of plans.

Mr. Hyde stated for the record, Mr. Shortt is referring to a yellow post-it note with lines on it and it is written in hand-writing and it is stamped denied on the bottom. He mentioned that it was not dated.

Mr. Shortt stated that it was the same as this and it was dated on the second sheet.

People were talking at the same time and the conversation was inaudible.

Ms. Anderson showed Mr. Shortt the paper and asked him if that was his hand-writing?

Mr. Shortt answered yes.

Ms. Anderson asked Mr. Shortt if he wrote that note?

Mr. Shortt responded yes.

Mr. Hyde asked Mr. Shortt if he was stating that the note was made a part of the record in May of 2007?

Mr. Shortt responded yes. The plans were denied for insufficient material for him to issue a permit.

Mr. Hyde asked if Mr. Shortt was stating that was put in the record?

Mr. Shortt again answered yes from the get go on 5-23-07.

Ms. Anderson asked that by included in the record would that mean included in the building file?

Mr. Shortt answered yes.

Mr. Hyde asked if he would mind taking an oath?

Mr. Shortt answered absolutely.

Ms. Anderson stated that there was no need for an oath. This is a ZBA meeting and if Mr. Hyde wants to put Mr. Shortt under oath he can take a deposition or he can be a witness on the stand; however that is not the purpose of the meeting tonight.

Mr. Shortt stated that if the board would approve it; this would be what he would need before the petitioner would be able to put that room in the garage anyway.

Mr. Hyde claimed that he anticipates getting approval for his client and he appreciates what Mr. Shortt just said. He stated that there were two rounds here one looking at the zoning for garage space and numbers of cars and then there is the building problem and putting things up to code. The prior lawsuit talked about that and told them to go to the ZBA for the space issue; the number of cars issue and that what they requested Mr. Shortt to review the plans to allow them to avoid the need to change the door; to keep the 16’ door and allow them to put in a craft door. That was the subject of the lawsuit in 2007. The issue of building and compliance with insulation and walls did come up at all in the 2007 lawsuit. It first came up on June 9th when they came back in front of the board for the appeal on the zoning side. He stated that if they could get the zoning side of the issue approved and go out with the concept of a craft room, storage space in the garage; then they will address the building issue when they go back to the Building Department.

Ms. Anderson explained that they are not two separate issues. She stated that he was there appealing Mr. Shortt’s decision and Mr. Shortt’s decision is based on those items. She reiterated that they are not separate issues. The ZBA has no input as to what happened with that lawsuit.

Mr. Hyde stated that conceptually and substantively the problem is this ZBA does not act as a construction board of appeals and if they have some disagreement with Mr. Shortt what is to be specified in terms of walls, insulation they would be taking that up with the construction board of appeals because the Township ordinance does require those appeals to go to the construction board of appeals.

Mr. Shortt stated that they have one.

Mr. Hyde stated that he did not want to get into a debate with counsel. They have appealed from the decision to the space on the zoning ordinance. He made an additional comment that was inaudible.

Ms. Frame had no questions.

Mr. Yaschen had no questions.

Mr. Klonowski had no comments.

Mr. Alexie stated that since he was new on the board he was still kind of confused. He asked if the petitioner was coming in front of the ZBA for a craft room?

Ms. Anderson answered no. She explained that they were coming in front of the ZBA because they did not agree with Mr. Shortt’s decision to deny their request for a building permit to build a craft room inside that garage.

Mr. Alexie asked what about the two 16’ doors?

Ms. Anderson stated that if the garage in not designed to house more than three cars they could use the two 16’ doors.

Mr. Alexie asked what about the piece of plywood that is outside?

Ms. Anderson stated that the question the board would be considering is whether Mr. Shortt made a mistake in his decision or whether the board thinks he was right.

Chairman Stepnak stated that the petitioner’s came in and they wanted the additional garage and they asked if the craft room was approved. He explained that Mr. Shortt let them know what would be needed to make that a livable space for a craft room. The petitioner is disputing Mr. Shortt’s decision on that. The board has never allowed a four-car garage they only would allow three and the additional space would be a craft room area; but it would have to be up to Building Inspector’s specs. He mentioned that taking it one step further the board had something come in front of them that evening concerning a covered porch. The board decided that the petitioner could have the covered porch but he was required to satisfy any requirements of the Building Department. This board has moved forward on variance requests but we do not look at the construction part of it because that is not under the realm of what they are there.

Mr. Shortt asked why he was being thrown under the bus. This is a building issue.

Ms. Uglis stated that the only thing she is getting out of this is that the petitioner did not satisfy what the Building Department needed for him to put a craft room in there. She asked if that was what it is? It is not a matter of the door. It only mattered that the petitioner did not satisfy the Building Department requirements to put a craft room in there.

She asked if that was correct?

Mr. Shortt responded yes.

Mr. Hyde stated that it was fundamentally unfair for Mr. Shortt to supplant into the records additional observations that are not the subject of his actual decision. We appealed the zoning aspect of the decision. "On 5/23/07 after discussing it with Supervisor Jim Ellis states do not issue a permit for craft room until 16’ garage door is changed to 8’ overhead door per courts decision" They are appealing that aspect of his decision. It is not his decision it is a zoning decision and it is an attempt to push us all into this notion that we got denied because of a lack of insulation, heating or lighting; that is preposterous. That was not the reason it was denied. It was denied because there was a misapprehension that the court required the door to be changed. The court did not require the door to be changed. "It stated that if it is redesigned to house three cars or less it is still 920 square feet or less it has to be approved."

Ms. Anderson stated that the reason they are here tonight was not to discuss any of this. What the zoning board is here to decide is if they have all the information that they needed.

Mr. Hyde stated correct.

Ms. Anderson continued that everything that Mr. Hyde is talking about over there has nothing to do with what they are here for this evening. She stated that they were there to review….

Ms. Frame verified that the board was there to make sure they have the information they needed.

Ms. Anderson stated that they were there to listen to the presentation and to decide whether or not the believe Mr. Shortt was correct when he denied the petitioner’s request.

Ms. Frame stated that the bantering back and forth was unnecessary at this point.

Chairman Stepnak stated that they were discussing the matter. The car garage can be approved but the petitioner is going to need to fulfill the obligations of the Building Department. Granted the petitioner has a disagreement with the Building Inspector but the point is the board has always made sure that a petitioner if approved would still have to fulfill the Building Department’s requests. The board does not accept the responsibility for that because the Zoning Board members are not here on a 24 hour basis to review them.

He explained that the ZBA will go ahead and grant a variance to their rules but they still want the work monitored by the Township and that is pretty much, the Building Inspector. If the petitioner has a problem with that Inspector making a decision on some issues, then that kind of throws us back. The board cannot monitor everything that comes in front of them. The board can say yes we will allow you to have the additional garage space, but you have to make part of it a craft room; yes but you would still have to follow the rules of the Building Department. There is no other way to get around it. He stated that he is not going to monitor it himself because that is not in the realm of what they are supposed to be involved with. He asked Ms. Anderson if he was off base?

Ms. Anderson answered no he was not.

Mr. Hyde agreed that he summed it up pretty accurately.

Chairman Stepnak stated for the record that the board did receive a large packet from their counsel that was quite lengthy. He asked if anyone on the board needed any additional time to review this information. If so, he stated, that the board could take a break because he wanted to make sure everyone was aware of what was handed out to them that evening. Chairman Stepnak stated that the board had also received some additional highlighted sketches and the little penmanship notes that were discussed earlier. Unfortunately, the notes are in black and white and not yellow. He asked the board members if they would like to take a mini recess in case anyone needed any additional time to review the information.

The board members agreed that they had all reviewed the information and knew what was in front of them that evening.

Public Comments

Arthur Ashley, 48744 Point Lakeview, Chesterfield, MI addressed the board.

Mr. Ashley stated that he was confused because there have been a number of houses built in the subdivision since Mr. Daley built that have three car garages and they have a 16’ door and an 8’ or 10’ door; or three 8’ doors. He does not understand with all the money spent on legal fees why he can’t just change the door to the size it should be which he thought was part of the zoning requirements for a three car garage in the first place. He stated that he could speak for a number of neighbors and none of them care about the size of the garage really; they would just like the doors in conformance at this point. Whether he puts a craft room in there or somehow figures out a way to park four cars in there with three doors, he does not care. He would like to see this thing resolved because it has been going on for about eight years now. It is not fair to him and he is getting tired of coming down here every time this thing comes up. He thought it was about the seventh time now; maybe more. He agreed with Mr. Shortt that the craft room would need a window in it. He understands the requirements that he would have to follow the building codes. He thinks it is crazy and the petitioner should just change the door opening to 10’ or 8’ and most everybody in the neighborhood would be happy with that.

Mr. Hyde stated that the problem was that the ordinance the way it is drafted does not talk about the size of the garage doors. So the Planning Commission and the board, if the Township wanted to go in a different direction related to the size of the garage doors, they would have to amend the ordinance. He stated that Judge Druzinski observed in her opinion that Ms. Janice Giese in her testimony stated it was not about the size of the garage doors; unfortunately, it is about how many cars can fit in the designed space. So it is almost like the neighbors interpretation is the flip flop of the way the law is written. He stated that the petitioners would like to bring this to an end and get the craft room space approved zoning wise; eliminate the fourth space for a car and should allow the structure proceed back to Building for a revised permit to be built according to the Building Codes.

Chairman Stepnak stated that he thought the bottom line was that it was past the garage door concept and the only thing to move forward that evening, that they were looking was for a commitment from the attorney and the petitioner that they are willing to work with Mr. Shortt on the space, the windows, the insulation, and things of that nature. He stated that if the board would approve it this evening, would the petitioner be willing to work with the Township Building Inspector…..

Ms. Frame commented that she was confused. She asked if they were approving a craft room? She stated that she thought the board was deciding if they had all the information and that was it. She guessed that she needed some clarification.

Ms. Anderson stated that the board was reviewing whether or not Shawn Shortt’s denial of the petitioner’s request to approve their plans was correct. That there is no question at this point that the board has all the information.

Chairman Stepnak answered right.

Ms. Anderson stated that the record must be crystal clear that the board has all the information. She stated that is done.

Chairman Stepnak stated correct.

Ms. Anderson stated that the question is whether or not the board thinks Shawn was right when he denied their request or whether he was wrong.

Chairman Stepnak mentioned that he was just trying to bring out that is was not really the garage doors.

Mr. Hyde stated that they were going to follow the law and the Building Official speaks for the Township in terms of interpretation of the residential code and construction code. He explained that they had their rights protected by the ordinance codes. That does not mean they agree with everything that is not necessarily so. There is a window for example that could be a window for the craft room; in terms of the degree that the room has to be insulated, heated, etc. He mentioned that this was the first time he had seen the list that was referred to with those requirements. He did not know it existed.

Mr. Ashley stated that unless he has lost his mind, and he did not think he has, all of these items came up the last time they were here back in June. He reiterated that each item was mentioned. He stated that he built his home on Point Lakeview in 1999. He has a three car garage and somehow he ended up with 8’ doors. He stated that something must have told me that if I built a three car garage, these are the options on doors. He did not understand but isn’t the garage limited to a number of square feet.

Ms. Anderson stated 920’.

Mr. Ashley repeated 920’. He stated in a 920 square foot garage basically was adequate for three cars. He asked how many square feet of garage space does the petitioner have here?

Mr. Shortt answered 910’.

Mr. Ashley stated so he is within the requirements for a three car garage. He asked how it ended up with two 16’ doors on it? He does not understand and thinks it all boils down to the doors. He does not know what the ordinance says but everywhere he looks houses either got a 16’ door with an 8’ or 10’ door or three 8’ doors. He stated something in the ordinance must tell people what to do, people are not just guessing. He asked does something in the ordinance stipulate what a homeowner’s options are for doors?

Mr. Shortt stated that they could fit four cars in 920 square feet of accessory structure. The ordinance states that the garage can only house three cars.

Mr. Ashley stated that the petitioner has 910 square feet and he does not see the problem.

Mr. Shortt stated that in all fairness to the petitioner, he was going to the Zoning Board when he was building the home. His bricklayers were out there and then the Zoning Board did not have a quorum; the petitioner was stuck between a rock and a hard place at the time.

Chairman Stepnak stated that he did not want to continue on and it did not seem to be relevant to where the board wanted to go.

There was feed back during the entire meeting either caused by the petitioner’s tape recorder or cell phones. At this time it was very loud.

Ms. Frame asked if everyone in the audience could shut off their cell phones in an attempt to eliminate the feed back.

Chairman Stepnak stated that he wanted to resolve the issue but he did not know if there is a logical resolution.

Ms. Anderson stated that the first question was whether or not the ZBA believed that they had all the information and whether or not they had adequate time to review it.

Chairman Stepnak made a comment that was inaudible.

Mr. Klonowski stated that the way he saw it sounded as if their counsel was trying to separate the zoning from the craft room. He explained that if the petitioner had the ability to park four cars in there with the garage doors as they are; he could do it. But, the craft room would have to be approved through the Building Department with all the things that are necessary. He stated that the structures are together whether they like it or not but without the craft room; it would be considered a four-car garage.

Chairman Stepnak agreed.

Ms. Frame stated that she believed that the board had all the information and that Mr. Shortt made no mistake when making his decision for denial. So, she did not know exactly what the board needed to come to tonight. She does not understand how the board is going to bring this all together. She explained that the board believes that they had all the information and that that have all the information presented tonight and everyone had a chance to review it. She also believes Mr. Shortt was correct in his decision for denial when he gave that. So, she guessed that what was on the agenda that night, Mr. Daley was asking for us to overturn Mr. Shortt’s decision.

Motion by Ms. Frame to deny the request for an overturn of Mr. Shortt’s decision because she believes the ZBA had all the information from the Building Department and Mr. Shortt was correct with his decision.

Supported by Mr. Yaschen

Ms. Anderson asked Ms. Frame to include in the motion why she believed Mr. Shortt was correct in his decision.

Ms. Frame stated that she believed Mr. Shortt was correct in his decision because the board has seen all of the paperwork that he had presented to the applicant. The ordinance was clear on what the applicant needed and Mr. Shortt was clear on what the applicant needed.

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted

Chairman Stepnak polled the board for additional comments.

Ms. Frame had no additional comments.

Mr. Yaschen had no comments.

Mr. Klonowski had no comments.

Ms. Uglis stated that she thought if everything was followed the way it should have been there would not have been a problem. She reiterated that if the petitioner had done what he was supposed to do at the time there would not have been a problem. She explained that it was not a matter of doors.

Mr. Alexie had nothing additional.

Chairman Stepnak stated that it was pretty much as he had stated earlier. The board does rely on the Building Inspector to follow through even though he may not be sitting up here. The board does have the information in front of them and if necessary they do take the time to review all information presented to them. He wanted to stress that the board has seen and read the material and have taken the time to review it. He explained that the motion had been denied and that he had polled the board.

Mr. Yaschen mentioned that if the petitioner had come back in front of the Zoning Board and with reference to the craft room had agreed to meet all the Building Department requirements….

Chairman Stepnak stated that the ZBA needs to rely on the Building Inspector and if Shawn denies it or makes a comment on denying it the board would need to follow through with that. He reiterated that the board is not here on a full time basis and as they mentioned in the previous petition, they have to follow the rules of the Building Department. The board has Shawn go out there and look at projects presented in petitions. The Board has also pulled information from Pat Meagher the Township Planner and legal counsel to form their decisions. The Board needs these people, takes their input, and then make their decisions.

Mr. Hyde stated that he would like to make a request administratively. They asked to have the record that came from the Building Official, taken by the Recording Secretary preserved so that when the appeal is brought from this decision to the Circuit Court they will be able to display to the judge what was looked at in addition to what he presented to the board. He would like a copy of what the Building Official gave to the board.

Chairman Stepnak stated that they did discuss that and it was the basis of our determination.

Mr. Hyde stepped in front of the board.

Ms. Frame reminded the petitioner that he had to stay at the podium with the microphone in order to be recorded properly.

Mr. Hyde stated that Mr. Shortt to the right of him is looking at records, that Mr. Hyde stated he was not sure the board had part of. He explained that this was exactly the same problem that was observed when they read the record before. So, he would like the record to be given to the Recording Secretary for safe keeping and copying, so that when he makes the request for his appeal; he has a copy of what was presented.

Ms. Anderson stated that a copy of the Building Department’s files has already been put into the record. The record consists of everything the ZBA members have before them and what they used to base their decision on. The only new thing that was being put into the record tonight was what Mr. Hyde handed out. She asked if the Recording Secretary was given a copy of the packet of information that was presented to the Board members.

Mr. Hyde answered yes he did.


Chairman Stepnak commented that the ZBA was still short one member.


Chairman Stepnak stated that there was no ZBA meeting scheduled for November 10th. He mentioned that the board normally cancels the second meeting in November since it is the day before Thanksgiving. He asked the other members their position on the matter.

There was a short discussion among the board about the matter.

Motion by Ms. Frame to cancel the November 24, 2010 ZBA meeting.

Supported by Mr. Yaschen

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted


Motion by Mr. Yaschen to approve the minutes from the September 22, 2010 meeting.

Supported by Ms. Frame

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted


Chairman Stepnak thanked Ms. Anderson and Mr. Shortt for attending the meeting.


Motion by Ms. Frame to adjourn the meeting at 8:12 PM

Supported by Mr. Klonowski

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted

Thomas Yaschen, Secretary
Grace Mastronardi, Recording Secretary

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