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Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes - April 22, 2009

THE CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF CHESTERFIELD

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

April 22, 2009

On April 22, 2009, a regular meeting of the Chesterfield Township Zoning Board of Appeals was held at the Township Hall located at 47275 Sugarbush, Chesterfield Twp., MI 48047.

1. CALL TO ORDER: Chairman Stepnak called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

2. ROLL CALL: Present: Marvin Stepnak, Chairman

Carl Leonard, Vice-Chairman,

Nancy Orewyler, Secretary Brian Scott DeMuynck, Township board liaison

Gerald Blake

James Klonowski

Absent: Robert Kohler, Planning Commission liaison

Chairman Stepnak commented that this was the second ZBA meeting in a row that the board had no representation from the Planning Commission.

3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:

Chairman Stepnak explained the procedures to the audience.

4. ZBA PETITION # 2009-03: Raymond Jernukian, 28339 Lange, Chesterfield, MI 48047. Requesting a variance to allow a 10’ x 6" x 7’ to be located in the front yard due to corner lot location. Request is for address stated above.

Raymond Jernukian, 28339 Lange, Chesterfield, MI addressed the board.

Petitioner stated that he was requesting that his yard be rezoned. He would like to move his shed about two feet south and remove it from the easement. He stated that he made a mistake. He purchased a shed at Home Depot and was told because the shed had a fixed floor, he did not need to put a ratwall or pull a permit. He made a mistake and went ahead without checking with the Township first. He stated that the shed has been in place. He has since had the utility companies and someone from the Township's Water Department come out to measure the depth of the sump pump line. The gentleman from the Water Department stated that he should go in front of the ZBA instead of placing the shed in the back because if anything ruptures, the shed with the footing would cause a nightmare for them to repair the lines. Petitioner added that to move the shed in the middle of the yard, he would have to move the kid's playscape. He did find a spot on the opposite side of the yard, however, he would have to remove a large cherry tree. He does understand that the shed would be put in what is considered a front lot, because the house in on the corner. However, the area is completely barricaded and there is no visual of it from the street. He has sheltered the area so that it would not be considered an eyesore by his neighbors. He commented that his neighbors, Richard and Kelly Kobylski sent a letter recommending that the shed be put in that area and that they would have no problem with it. He stated at this point he would like to state that the shed in that area would not reduce the value or the esthetics of the neighborhood. The shed would be completely sheltered by the arborvitaes. He commented that he had discussed the matter with Mr. Shortt from the Building Department and was told that they really did not have an issue with where the shed was located.

Mr. Leonard asked how long the petitioner lived there?

Petitioner stated that he built the home and lived there 11 years.

Mr. Leonard verified then that the petitioner was the person who erected the fence?

Petitioner answered yes, he came in front of the Board and got permission to put up the fence.

Mr. Leonard agreed that the area was well screened. He had to get out of his car and walk around the side to take a look at it. He asked the size of the shed?

Petitioner answered that the shed was 10' 6" x 7'.

Mr. Leonard verified that the reason the petitioner could not put the shed on the other side of the lot was the tree?

Petitioner stated that he would have to remove the tree and he would also be on top of the line for the sump pump.

Mr. Leonard stated that, at that point, he really did not have any issues with the variance.

Ms. Orewyler commented that she appreciated that the petitioner kept up his yard and that the yard is well shielded with the arborvitaes. She also agreed that the petitioner had a practical difficulty because of the location of the utilities. She stated that she could see the shed from the street.

However, she stated that the petitioner could put a little bush at the area by the gate to completely screen the shed.

Petitioner asked if Ms. Orewyler was referring to the Lange Road view from the road?

Ms. Orewyler answered yes.

Petitioner stated that he had no problem with planting another arborvitae there in order to block the view of the shed.

Mr. Blake stated that the shed would be practically next door to the neighbor's shed if it was moved to the other side.

Petitioner agreed. He commented that the neighbor's shed is under the size requirement for a ratwall. The neighbor's shed is just sitting loose on the property. He commented that he could not put his shed in that area because it would be directly on top of the easement which is 18' off that fence. Therefore, he cannot put his shed next to the neighbors shed.

Mr. Klonowski had no comments.

Mr. DeMuynck stated that his questions had already been answered.

Mr. Shortt stated that the Building Department had no problems with the shed as long as it would be

kept off the easement would be kept 6' from the sidewalk.

Chairman Stepnak stated that he would probably be the only who has a problem with it. He stated that when he was on the Planning Commission and when the subdivisions were laid out, it was felt that the corner lots would actually have two front yards and there should not be a tunnel effect down the roadway. At that time, they wanted to keep the fences out and now he does not like the idea of putting a structure in the second front yard. He feels the shed should be tucked behind the house.

He asked if the shed was metal?

Petitioner answered no it was a rubber shed.

Chairman Stepnak asked if the petitioner still needed a ratwall?

Petitioner answered according to the Building Department he needed a ratwall because the size of the shed was bigger than 4' x 6'.

Chairman Stepnak stated that he knew the shed was in the wrong place right now and he does not see why the shed could not be move in another place in the yard. He feels this would deviate from how the subdivisions were laid out.

There were no public comments.

Ms. Orewyler read a positive letter from Kelly Kobylski which was retained for the ZBA records.

Mr. Leonard stated that because the area is screened and pushed back, he did not really have a problem with it.

Mr. Klonowski stated that if you move the shed closer, it would still be on the front yard Chairman Stepnak stated that he thought that shed should still be tucked behind the house and should be shielded from the road.

Petitioner stated as lady suggested, placing another bush in front of the shed would be something he would be willing to do if it would help in the decision process.

Motion by Mr. DeMuynck to approve petition #2009-03 to allow a 10’ x 6" x 7’ to be located in the front yard due to corner lot location.

Supported by Mr. Blake

Ms. Orewyler stated she would like to add that the petitioner put a bush in the corner of the fence by the gate. So that the shed would not be visible from the road. She believed that the petitioner does have a practical difficulty looking at his easements in the back and the location of the utility boxes.

Petitioner would also have to abide by all the requirements of the Building Department.

Mr. Shortt asked where Ms. Orewyler wanted the petitioner to put the bush?

Ms. Orewyler stated that it should be put by the gate where it would shield the shed from the road.

Petitioner said that when he came in front of the board for the fence eight years ago he already had the arborvitaes planted and the berm. The reason he put the arborvitaes in was because the developer of the subdivision told him he would disallow the fence if the petitioner did not plant the arborvitaes. When the property was rezoned for the fence, someone on the committee had a problem with the petitioner blocking the view for the traffic and told him the variance would be granted as long as the petitioner did not plant any more shrubs and further block the view for cars coming around the corner. The petitioner reiterated that he had no problem with planting another bush by the gate.

Chairman Stepnak asked the petitioner if he understood where he would be required to plant the bush.

Petitioner answered yes, he would put a bush in just the east of where the fence ends by the gate on the interior of the fence to help block the view of the shed.

Ayes: DeMuynck, Leonard, Orewyler and Blake

Nays: Stepnak and Klonowski Motion Granted

5. ZBA PETITION # 2009-04: Sandra Kinsella, 32925 Sutton Road, Chesterfield, MI 48047. Requesting a variance to be 232’ over allowable square footage for an accessory structure, 920’ allowed, 1152" is proposed. Also to allow the existing garage to remain until the new garage is erected. Request is for the address stated above.

Sandra Kinsella, 32925 Sutton Road, Chesterfield, MI addressed the board.

Petitioner stated that she purchased her home on Sutton in August. She has been working very hard in the yard to try to improve the property. She would like a new garage because the old garage stands right in front of the house. She would like to improve the looks of the home and the property.

Mr. DeMuynck asked if the petitioner owned two separate lots or was the property all one lot?

Petitioner answered that as far as she knew there were two lots.

Mr. DeMuynck asked if the house was on one lot and the petitioner wanted to put the garage on the other lot?

Petitioner answered yes. She stated that she did not know if they would have to combine the lots.

Mr. DeMuynck commented that was what they were discussing prior, He does not have a problem with the structure because there are a lot of large garages on Sutton with the size of the lots. The only problem would be that the petitioner cannot just build a garage on a lot in this Township. He asked Chairman Stepnak whether that was correct?

Chairman Stepnak agreed with Mr. DeMuynck

Mr. DeMuynck stated that his condition on the approval of the variance would be that both pieces of property would have to be combined into one parcel.

Chairman Stepnak stated that the property would have to be combined otherwise the garage would be placed on a totally different parcel from the home. The petitioner could be approved subject to the lots being combined into one parcel. He stated that the reason would be that the petitioner would then be able to sell the property with just a garage on it. He added that if the board would approve the variance, the petitioner has six months to apply for permits. Therefore, the petitioner would have to move quickly to get things down in that time period.

Mr. DeMuynck stated that he has lived in that area for 30 years and what that place was and what it looks like today it totally different. The petitioners have done a lot of work on the property and a lot of dumpsters have gone out of there.

A gentleman with the petitioner addressed the board. (He did not sign in at the podium)

Gentleman stated that there are no blueprints at this time, however, he can get those in three or four days.

Mr. DeMuynck stated that his only concern would be to combine the two lots into one parcel and then he would not have any problem with approving the variance.

Mr. Blake had no questions at that time.

Mr. Klonowski commented that there were a lot of large garages in that area. He asked if they were all granted variances.

Chairman Stepnak stated that everything is granted on its own merit. Sutton basically was a cottage community at one time and then it was developed into a place with year round homes. It depends how prevalent the Building Department was at the different periods of time. Some people came in and were granted variances. The board has always looked at Sutton and the waterfront area as being unique and different. Most of the homes in that area do not have basements and are built on crawl spaces, therefore, those properties do need the additional storage space. So there may be larger garages due to the nature of the property in that area.

There was a discussion among the board on how granting certain variances could in some way change the ordinances.

Ms. Orewyler had no comments.

Mr. Blake asked if the electrical pole would be in the way?

Gentleman stated that it was about 15' away from the area.

Mr. Blake asked if the petitioner was planning to tear down the lean-to?

Petitioner answered yes, the lean-to was coming down.

Mr. Leonard explained that the reason he did not have an issue with the variance was because the petitioner does not have a basement and the size of the lot. There are circumstances that are unique to this property that do not always apply to other variances. Looking at this petition on its own merit there are a couple of things that just jump out. He asked as far as the separate parcels, if the petitioner got one tax bill or two?

Petitioner answered that she received two tax bills.

Mr. Leonard commented that his property has multiple parcel numbers, but the lots were combined. He does not have a problem with approving the variance as long as the two lots are combined. The second lot is not a buildable lot however, if it was separate; it could be sold off.

Petitioner stated that she figured she would have to combine the lots.

There was a letter in favor of the petitioner building the garage that was signed by the following neighbors on Sutton: Max and Kathleen Stoll, Russ Pachon, Randall Bundak, Joseph DeLisi, Gary Sirouet, and Cindy Martin. The document was retained for the ZBA's records.

Mr. Shortt stated that the garage would have to have a 12" x 42" footing, the roofs edge of the garage has to be three feet from that utility line and the structure must be as least 10' from the home. The Building Department does not really have a problem with the it.

Mr. Tom Sellnack, 32945 Sutton, Chesterfield, MI addressed the board.

Mr. Sellnack stated that he lived in the neighborhood for 48 years and he just wanted someone to explain what the petitioner planned to do.

Mr. Shortt explained the variance to the petitioner to his satisfaction.

Chairman Stepnak stated that the two lots would have to be combined and it would keep the integrity of the community. They have cleaned the property and he does not have a problem with the larger garage because it would not impede the neighbors view.

Mr. Leonard asked if roof and the siding of the structure would match the existing home?

Petitioner answered yes the roof the siding of the garage would match the home.

Mr. Leonard asked if the petitioner would be installing electricity?

Gentleman stated not at this time.

Mr. Leonard explained that the only utility that would be allowed in the garage would be electricity. The petitioner could not put gas or water in the structure.

Chairman Stepnak asked if the petitioner planned to run a business out of the structure?

Petitioner answered no, she just needs the garage for storage.

Chairman Stepnak asked if the petitioner would sign an affidavit stating that no one would run a business out of the structure?

Petitioner stated that she would sign it.

Motion by Ms. Orewyler to approve Petition # 2009-04 at 32925 Sutton Road for a variance to be 232’ over allowable square footage for an accessory structure with the stipulation that the two lots are combined into one. The petitioner would have to abide by all the rules of the Building Department. The only utility allowed in the structure would be electricity and the petitioner would not be allowed to run a business out of the structure and must sign an affidavit to that effect. The siding and the roof of the garage must match that of the home. Also, the petitioner must also tear down the old garage.

Supported by Mr. DeMuynck

Mr. Leonard stated they should address the time frame for the removal of the existing garage. Maybe the petitioner should have to tear down the old garage before getting the approval on the new one. He stated that once the petitioner gets the approval on the new garage, before the approval is actually signed and given to the petitioner; the existing garage must be demolished.

Chairman Stepnak stated that way the petitioner would not be able to use the new garage, while the old one is still standing.

Mr. DeMuynck stated that the new garage would be built and before the petitioner got the C of O, the old garage would have to be demolished before the petitioner got the paperwork

Petitioner stated that would be fine, she wants the property to look nice.

Mr. Leonard asked if that could be included in the motion?

Ms. Orewyler agreed

Mr. DeMuynck continued support.

Ayes: All

Nay: None Motion Granted

6. ZBA PETITION # 2009-05: Erik Heiderer, for the residence located at 28925 Field, Chesterfield, MI 48047. Variance request is to add in bulk & area to an existing nonconforming structure by adding a 2nd story. No Change in footprint. Request is for the address stated above.

Erik Heiderer, 44045 Gratiot, Clinton Township, MI addressed the board.

Petitioner stated that he was asking for a variance to add bulk to an existing house. There are a couple of practical difficulties on the existing site. The house is already on the rear yard setback. It is a very small narrow home on a small, triangle-shaped lot. The house is currently one-bedroom and they would like to add a second story onto the house. The owner is married with a child and they need to renovate the home and bring it up to today's standards. They are dealing with already being on the rear yard setback and also have to deal with front yard setbacks that would hinder the expansion of the home. The renovation of the house would meet all the height restrictions and would be in compliance with all the other building codes. Petitioner stated that he had a letter from the neighbors on the west who are in favor of the renovation.

Mr. Klonowski stated that the real issue would be that the new home would increase the non-conformity of the property.

Petitioner stated that they would not be changing the footprint of the home. They would only be going up higher.

Mr. Klonowski stated that his understanding of non-conforming is that there is really nothing that can be done with it.

Chairman Stepnak explained that when there is a non-conforming use the board kind of looks at the area. In the days of old, that area was pretty much a cottage community and the board should take that into consideration. As a rule, the Township does not want a continuing use of non-conforming; they would like to do away with it. However, the ZBA should consider if the change would be better than the home staying as it is now.

Mr. Klonowski stated that he was looking at Section 76-612 and the circled part was b.: in his mind, that did not apply. However, part d. of the ordinance which deals with modifications would seem more appropriate. He read part d. "Permit such modification of the height and area regulations as may be necessary to secure and appropriate improvement of a lot which is of such shape, or so located with relation to surrounding development or physical characteristics, that is cannot otherwise be appropriately, improved without such modification". He stated that part d. sounded like the petitioner would be able to make the improvements. He asked Chairman Stepnak if that was correct?

Chairman Stepnak stated that the board could go ahead and approve the petition and okay the improvements. He explained that Chesterfield is unique because of the waterfront and the changes that have taken place from when it was just a cottage community. The board should take that into consideration instead of being concerned about how the ordinance reads word for word. Chesterfield has a lot of unique areas that the board must take into consideration.

Mr. Blake asked what the petitioner was proposing to put upstairs?

Petitioner replied that they would be putting three bedrooms upstairs, one master bedroom and two smaller bedrooms, and two bathrooms.

Mr. Blake asked what the outside of the home would look like? What kind of materials would be used in the construction?

Petitioner answered that he house at the present time was brick. They were planning to repaint the brick and use a decorative fiber cement siding.

Mr. Blake asked what they would be doing on the top?

Petitioner explained they would be using a gable with a hip roof with fiber cement siding and windows that would match what is already there. The house is on a slab and there is no storage and no garage. The homeowners just want to be in line with everything else in the neighborhood. He added that it is a unique triangle shaped lot.

Mr. DeMuyck asked Mr. Shortt if the petitioner would be able to add the second story on to the home which is on a slab? Would there have to be some kind of reinforcements?

Mr. Shortt asked first of all if the petitioner was in a flood zone? He asked if the petitioner had to pay flood insurance over there?

Petitioner answered yes. He explained that part of the interior is a block/brick and they would have to dig up the footing and put a 12" x 42" in there.

Mr. Shortt asked who the petitioner was?

He stated that he is the architect on the project.

Mr. Shortt stated that the petitioner would be providing the Building Department drawings. He added that the the first thing the petitioner had to do would be to raise the home out of the flood zone.

Petitioner agreed with him.

Mr. Shortt stated that they would need to raise the first floor up to 581’.

Petitioner stated that they were not planning on it.

Mr. Shortt asked how much the homeowner thought the renovation would cost?

Homeowner addressed the board. (He did not sign in at the podium)

The homeowner stated he guessed that it would cost between $100,000 to $150,000. He planned to keep the kitchen area and bathroom the same and then raising it from there out on to a crawl space.

Mr. Shortt stated that everything needed to come up to 581’; that would include all the mechanical, everything. The whole house has to be raised up to 581’ and the footings have to be certified that it will support the second story.

Mr. DeMuynck asked how long the homeowner lived on the property?

Homeowner stated that he has lived there since 2005.

Mr. DeMuynck stated that the petitioner has not seen high water. He explained that he has lived here all his life and he remembers seeing sandbagging in that area. The water has been low, but it is coming up.

Mr. Shortt stated that he did not want to discourage the homeowner, but there are state laws that have to be followed. The good thing is after the home is removed from the flood zone the homeowner would save about $1,000 on flood insurance.

Mr. Blake asked how much higher the home would have to be raised?

Mr. Shortt stated that the first floor had to be at 581’.

Ms. Orewyler asked how they would raise up the house?

Mr. Shortt stated that they would raise up the house and put some blocks underneath it.

Mr. DeMuynck asked if they would have to remove the bricks?

Mr. Shortt stated possibly, however, he has seen brick homes moved with angle iron that were jacked up. He explained that the home would have to be reasonably safe from flooding, and must be able to resist flotation. The petitioner would also have to put flood vents in there. The whole thing would have to be designed by the architect or engineer.

Chairman Stepnak stated that the board could move with what was in front of them and the homeowner just needs to understand that he must abide by rules and regulations of the Building Department.

Mr. Leonard stated that it looks as thought the house sits lower than 581’, but they would have to have a survey. Chances are it is not at 581’, but who knows where it is at.

Mr. Shortt stated that the first thing the petitioner needed to do was to get a surveyor and elevation certificate to determine where the slab is at. If the home is at 581’ they would need to certify that it would support the second story.

Mr. Leonard commented that Monday the wind was blowing so hard that water was going over the seawalls. He stated that when this original structure was built there possibly were no ordinances. This is probably the only lot in Chesterfield that is this shape and it is one of a kind. He would not have a problem with the variance because the petitioner is not changing the footprint of the home. He also noticed a small structure that looked like a garage and he assumed it was on the property at one time and was removed.

Petitioner verified that the garage had been removed.

Mr. Leonard asked if they were talking about the garage?

Petitioner replied that they were only petitioning for the house itself.

Mr. Leonard stated that he did not have a problem with the variance.

Ms. Orewyler commented that the property was very uniquely shaped at the extreme southeastern corner of the Township. She stated that if the petitioner can abide by everything Mr. Shortt has laid out she does not have a problem with granting the variance. Something needs to be done on the lot and she would assume that lot will be cleaned up because it is a mess.

Petitioner stated that was one of the reasons they were doing this.

Ms. Orewyler read a letter in favor of granting the variance from Mr. and Mrs. James Shields and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Storck. The letter was retained for the ZBA's records.

There were no public comments.

Chairman Stepnak reminded the petitioner that if the petition is approved the clock starts ticking and there is a time frame of six months to get permits. He wanted to make the petitioner aware that the ZBA has granted extensions in the past, because he feels the petitioner has a lot a work in front of him.

Motion by Mr. DeMuynck to approve Petition # 2009-05 for the variance request to add bulk and area to an existing nonconforming structure by adding a 2nd story. The only conditions would be that the petitioner meet all the building requirements that were stated previously by Mr. Shortt.

Supported by Mr. Blake

Mr. Klonowski asked if it could be added to the motion that consideration for approval was granted because there was no change in the footprint of the home and approval would help match this home to the surrounding developments.

Mr. DeMuynck agreed to amend the motion

Mr. Blake continued support.

Ayes: All

Nay: None

Motion Granted

7. NEW BUSINESS:

There was no new business.

8. OLD BUSINESS:

Chairman Stepnak stated that he was concerned about the signage in the Township. At one time the Township really beat up places like the gas station on 23 and Donner and Tom's Mini Mart because of their signs. Now however, he has to wonder if a lot of the signs in that area have been approved. He just wondered if anyone was out their policing the area at this time.

Mr. Shortt stated that Nancy has been off on a workers compensation claim and Mr. St. Germaine has been chasings down businesses for their registrations so that they pay the Township for their licenses. He will have someone look into the matter.

9. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PRIOR MEETING.

Motion by Ms. Orewyler to approve the minutes of the meeting on 2-11-09

Supported by Mr. Blake

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted

10. COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR:

Chairman Stepnak asked if the board members were aware that Norm Davis passed away. He was the prior Chairman of the ZBA. He stated that Mr. Davis was a real asset to the community. He thanked Mr. Shortt for attending the meeting.

11. ADJOURNMENT:

Motion by Mr. DeMuynck to adjourn at 8:11 PM

Supported by Chairman Stepnak

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted

Nancy Orewyler, Secretary

Grace Mastronardi, Recording Secretary

 

 

 

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