Reference Desk


Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes - November 10, 2010



November 10, 2010

On November 10, 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

Thomas Yaschen, Secretary

Gerald Alexie

Wendy Jones

Absent: Janice Uglis, Township Board liaison, excused

Paula Frame, Planning Commission liaison, excused


Chairman Stepnak explained the procedures to the audience.

4. ZBA PETITION #2010-32: Tyrone Pearson who resides at 53062 Michael Dr., Chesterfield, MI 48047. Requesting a 16’ rear yard setback variance for a proposed sunroom addition to his existing residence. Location for the variance is stated above.

Richard Hoffman, 53062 Michael Drive, Chesterfield, MI addressed the board.

Petitioner stated that he was requesting to add a porch on to his existing home and that it he was not requesting to add a sunroom as stated in the petition. He mentioned that he was requesting the porch for his elderly father-in-law who is in a wheel chair and resides with him. He wanted to put the 16’ porch with a ramp to make it easier for his father to get in and out of the home.

Mr. Yaschen asked why the petition was requesting a sunroom addition when the petitioner has stated that he was requesting a porch?

Petitioner stated that he did not know, but he was only requesting to build a porch.

Mr. Klonowski stated that the rear yard setback was 35’ and the home is 35.54’ from the property line so that may be the reason for requesting the variance.

Chairman Stepnak stated that the petition stated an enclosed sunroom and he does not know where that came from. He asked the petitioner if he filed the paperwork?

Petitioner answered that he hired a contractor, who did that.

Mr. Tyrone Pearson addressed the board.

Mr. Pearson stated that he filed the paperwork. He explained that at one time the petitioner was thinking about putting an enclosed sunroom; but he changed his mind and now just wants to add a porch on to the house.

Petitioner stated that he had no intention of ever closing in the porch. He explained that they were asking for a 12" foundation down there because the house is brick and he was going to have the porch done in cement block and then bricked to match the house. He commented that the neighbors were concerned about the project; but the porch would look nice and the bricks would match the house. He stated that the porch would be about three bricks high and the center would be filled with dirt.

Chairman Stepnak verified that the petitioner was asking for an old school type of raised porch.

Petitioner answered yes.

Mr. KIonowski asked if the porch would be enclosed?

Petitioner answered no and that it would be completely open.

Mr. Klonowski asked if it would be like a deck?

Petitioner answered yes.

Chairman Stepnak reiterated that the petitioner was asking for an old school type of raised porch with a foundation and brick sides that is filled with sand with a cement top.

Mr. KIonowski stated that the only other issue he had was the sewer easement in back. He explained that the porch would not be on it, but it would be pretty close.

Petitioner stated that he bought the house because it did not have a big yard. He mentioned that his father-in law is 90 years old and can still get in his wheelchair and he cannot get up and down the stairs. The porch would go in and he could put a ramp in there to get his father-in law in and out of the house. He made some additional comments that were inaudible.

Mr. Alexie stated that he went to look at the home that afternoon. He asked the petitioner if there was a patio door going out from the house?

Petitioner answered no, it was just a regular door.

Mr. Alexie asked if that was how the petitioner would get out there?

Petitioner replied yes.

Mr. Yaschen read a letter which was in opposition to the granting of the variance from Paulette Mills, 53086 Michael Drive, Chesterfield, MI.

Mr. Yaschen read another letter requesting that the board deny the petitioner’s variance from Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Frank, 53074 Michael Drive, Chesterfield, MI.

The letters were both retained for the Zoning Board of Appeals records.

Chairman Stepnak asked the petitioner if he resided at the home?

Petitioner stated that he bought the house.

Chairman Stepnak asked if he purchased the house from the other gentleman?

Petitioner answered no, Mr. Pearson was his builder.

Chairman Stepnak stated okay so the petitioner is the home owner and Mr. Pearson is the contractor.

Petitioner replied yes.

Public Comments:

Elaine Frank, 53074 Michael Drive, Chesterfield, MI addressed the board.

Ms. Frank stated that granting the variance would be against the subdivision by-laws which the residents were supposed to adhere to for twenty years. She made additional comments opposition to the granting of the variance.

Mr. KIonowski asked the petitioner if she had a deck at her home?

Ms. Frank stated that she did not have a deck, she had a patio.

Chairman Stepnak commented that he understood that the subdivision has by-laws are something written up by the builders of the subdivision. They are recorded with the Township; however, the ordinances oversee that. The by-laws are something additional that the homeowners association uses, however, that the board was required to use the Township ordinances to make their decisions. Chairman Stepnak asked Ms. Frank if she had a deck?

Ms. Frank answered that she did not have a deck; she has a flat patio.

Chairman Stepnak asked the size of the patio?

Ms. Frank estimated that it was about 12’ x 12’.

Chairman Stepnak asked if it was a flat cement patio?

Ms. Frank answered yes with a camel back.

Chairman Stepnak asked if she was the petitioner’s next door neighbor?

Ms. Frank replied yes.

Chairman Stepnak asked which side she lived on?

Ms. Frank answered that her home was to the north of the petitioner.

Ms. Paulette Mills, 53086 Michael Drive, Chesterfield, MI addressed the board.

Ms. Mills stated that the petitioners since they have purchased the home have made a lot of improvements to the house and she wanted to commend them for that. She then made negative comments concerning the petition and stated that she was concerned about the sewer at the back of the property and drainage in the area.

Mr. Doug Mills 53086 Michael Drive, Chesterfield, MI addressed the board.

Mr. Mills had the same concerns as his wife. He then asked the board if the petitioner planned to put a porch or a sunroom on to the home.

Chairman Stepnak stated that he did not know why the petition was for a sunroom and the petitioner has stated that he wants a porch. He does not know if the builder or the office staff misinterpreted what the petitioner was requesting. He stated that the petitioner has stated to the board that it was going to be a raised porch and that is what the board would be looking at. He explained that in the past when a petitioner comes in with something less intrusive than the petition states, the board would entertain it and move forward. He added, however, if the petitioner would have come in with something more intrusive than what was published in the paper; he would have to refile the paperwork. He stated that it looks as though the petitioner only wants a porch which would be less intrusive than the sunroom.

Mr. Mills asked if the petitioner does decide he wants a sunroom instead of the porch later, could he do that?

Chairman Stepnak replied no. If the board approves the variance it would be for a porch and the board could put speculations that the petitioner could not enclose the porch.

Mr. Mills made a few additional comments and then asked the board to deny the variance.

Mr. Klonowski asked the height of the structure?

Mr. Pearson stated that the porch would be 24" high with three courses of block.

Mr. KIonowski asked if the petitioner planned to put any railings along the side?

Mr. Pearson answered that there would not be any railings. It would just be a flat porch.

Petitioner stated that there is a neighbor who has a patio made out of brick pavers and it is not flat. He indicated that it was about 18" to two feet high.

Chairman Stepnak stated that when the ZBA approves a variance they would be allowing someone to break the rules.

Petitioner stated that he wanted to put the porch and a ramp for his father to get in and out of the home with his wheel chair. He stated that he would like the patio to go 4 or 5 feet past his home. His three-garage comes out 7 ½’, so he would like to bring the porch 4 or 5’ from behind the garage and then put a sidewalk to the garage door. He explained that he would also have to put in about 30’ of sidewalk in along the side of the house.

Chairman Stepnak stated so basically the petitioner was talking about running a sidewalk in this area.

Petitioner came up to the board to explain and pointed things out on the plans.

Chairman Stepnak asked where the physical porch would end?

Petitioner stated that the porch would be five feet past the end of the house. He mentioned that he could downsize the porch if he had to.

Chairman Stepnak asked Mr. Alexie if any of the project was started as of yet?

Mr. Alexie answered that there were blocks out there at the site.

Chairman Stepnak asked if there was any digging done yet?

Petitioner answered that he had the blocks delivered a month ago and when he went to pull the permits, he was told that he had to come before the ZBA for a variance.

Chairman Stepnak stated that the problem with granting a variance was the petitioner has to prove a practical difficulty. Many times the board has looked favorably on variances concerning handicapped persons; however, in this case there seems to be a lot of structure and a lot of intrusion and plans to go five feet past the house.

Petitioner asked how he could put a ramp out his front door?

Chairman Stepnak stated that would be something he would take up with the Building Department.

Motion by Mr. Klonowski to deny Petition #2010-32. He stated that the petitioner did not show a practical difficulty with regard to the property. The structure did not blend with the neighborhood and it would be contrary to the spirit and intent of the ordinance.

Supported by Mr. Alexie

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted

Chairman Stepnak polled the board for comments:

Mr. Klonowski stated that the plans were not presented in the plot plan.

Mr. Yaschen stated that was also his reason for denial.

Mr. Alexie also agreed with Mr. Klonowski and stated that they had no idea what the structure would look like.

Chairman Stepnak stated that he agreed that and the petitioner did not present his complete plans. There were questions of whether it was a sunroom or a porch and the sidewalks. He mentioned that the petitioner might want to check with the Building Department to see if there are any other options.


There was no old business.


Chairman Stepnak welcomed Ms. Wendy Jones as the new member of the Zoning Board of Appeals.


Motion by Mr. Yaschen to approve the minutes from the October 27, 2010 meeting.

Supported Mr. Klonowski

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted


There were no comments from the floor.


Motion by Mr. Alexie to adjourn at 7:46 PM.

Supported by Mr. Yaschen

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted

Thomas Yaschen, Secretary

Grace Mastronardi, Recording Secretary

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