Reference Desk


Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes - December 8, 2010



December 8, 2010

On December 8, 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

Michelle Ficht, Township Board liaison

Gerald Alexie

Wendy Jones

Absent: Paula Frame, Planning Commission liaison, excused

Mr. Shawn Shortt attended the meeting as the representative of the Building Department.


Chairman Stepnak explained the procedures to the audience.

4. ZBA PETITION #2010-33: Kathy Grochulski, 49307 Jefferson, Chesterfield, MI 48047.

Requesting a variance to add an attached garage to an existing non-conforming house on a non-conforming lot. Location is stated above.

Wayne A. Sorrell, 39588 Lakeshore Drive, Harrison Twp., MI 48045 addressed the board.

Mr. Sorrell stated that he was the petitioner’s contractor and they were requesting a variance to add an attached garage on to an existing home.

Mr. Alexie stated that he had no questions at that time.

Mr. Yaschen asked if the shed at the back of the property would stay?

Mr. Sorrell answered yes. He explained that it was just a little glass green house.

Mr. Klonowski asked Mr. Shortt if there were any set back problems.

Mr. Shortt stated that the setback problems exist because of the non-conformity of the property. His concern was that an ordinance exists in the Township stating that there

can not be more than three cars in the garage. He stated that the petitioner’s existing

garage has a header for a 16’ door.

Kathy Grochulski, 49307 Jefferson, Chesterfield, MI 48047 addressed the board.

Petitioner stated that her house is higher than the garage and there are steps that come down to get into the door. The garage was never capable of holding two cars. She stated that they had to go way around to use that other door. Originally, there was basically only one exit out of the house and she did that because her husband was ill and that way they had two exits from the home in case there was a fire. She explained that they would be able to go down and use the small door instead of going around.

Mr. Shortt stated that was correct and that he remembered doing the inspection on her home and there was a landing with the stairs. He mentioned that the Township was in a lawsuit over this with someone who has two 16’ doors. He stated that if the petitioner ever did put a service door in the back to access her house that she would not be able to come back with the two 16’ doors. He commented that was his only reason for mentioning that point.

Petitioner made some comments from the audience that were inaudible.

Chairman Stepnak asked Mr. Shortt if the board was okay in moving forward on the petition?

Mr. Shortt answered yes.

Chairman Stepnak verified that it was okay other than the question regarding the doors; that the petitioner would not be able to put in two 16’ doors.

Mr. Shortt answered yes. He stated that the setback on the front would be around 10’.

Chairman Stepnak explained that it was non-conforming anyway.

Mr. Shortt stated that on Killewald the garage would be somewhere around 10’…as long as it would not be in the right-of-way.

Chairman Stepnak asked if the petitioner had the scale to drawing in front of them?

Mr. Shortt stated that the plans are not to scale but it gives him 12 ½ ’ from the existing garage to their property line. He added that at the rear it’s 31’.

Chairman Stepnak stated that if they moved favorable on the petitioner he did not want to get hung up where Mr. Shortt would state they could not do it….

Mr. Shortt stated that if the board approves the petition, he would be good to go.

There were no comments from the floor.

There was no correspondence from the petitioner’s neighbors.

Chairman Stepnak that the petitioner mentioned that she needs space.

Ms. Ficht stated that it was mentioned that there were police reports about people that have broken into the petitioner’s car.

Chairman Stepnak stated that he understood her concerns, however, the board has never used that as a benchmark for making their decisions. He explained that there is a police force and if there are any problems, the petitioner would have to call them. The board cannot monitor everything in the community. He asked Mr. Shortt if the board could work with the sketch the petitioner provided.

Mr. Shortt stated that the paperwork was incorrect. He pointed out the existing garage to Chairman Stepnak.

Chairman Stepnak invited Mr. Sorrell up to the desk and explain the paperwork to Mr. Shortt and the board members.

Mr. Shortt explained to Mr. Sorrell what was approved for the petitioner’s existing house and pointed out the existing garage. He stated that the papers show 31’ to the rear corner while the front corner is about 12 ½’ and over here it is about 16’. He explained that the property or the road kind of goes "kiddywampus" to the house. He pointed out that they would need a full footing on the garage and pointed out that there was a sanitary lead coming through an area and that might need to be moved. He stated that the footing would need to be a minimum of 42". He explained that they would probably end up with an 11’ rear yard from this corner.

Mr. Sorrell asked if Mr. Shortt or the board members had the mortgage survey that he turned in with the paperwork?

Mr. Shortt located it and asked who wrote that in there (indicating something on the paper). He stated that was not done by the surveyor.

Mr. Sorrell stated that it was probably written by someone in his office and mentioned that this one here has 40’.

There was a short discussion between Mr. Shortt and Mr. Sorrell that was inaudible.

Mr. Sorrell stated that the one he turned in was the only survey that he had to work with.

Mr. Shortt pointed out that the other document was from her house and it had a seal on it by a surveyor. He mentioned that the other paperwork is not sealed so which one would be the right one. He would go by the sealed document.

Chairman Stepnak commented that if the board did move favorably on the variance, the petitioner would still have to adhere to all building codes, building requirements, footings, sanitation leads, etc.

Mr. Sorrell agreed.

Mr. Klonowski stated that he thought it was important to note that the existing garage would only hold one car and it should be part of the motion that the garage could not be expanded to a four-car.

Mr. Shortt stated he did not have a problem with the petitioner putting the garage addition. He was only concerned about the setbacks and if the board approved it; he would be good to go.

Chairman Stepnak stated that it was the classic example of why the Zoning Board exists. The home is non-conforming and the property is non-conforming. He stated that the petitioner does have a garage on site….

Mr. Klonowski asked if the granting of the variance would be adding to the non-conformity?

Chairman Stepnak stated that probably anything done on the property would add to the

non-conformity. He commented that it all went back to the time when this was a resort community. The lots were not designed to hold these houses.

Mr. Klonowski commented that in itself would make this a practical difficulty.

Chairman Stepnak reiterated that probably anything done on the property would add to the

non-conformity, but the non-conformity would continue on.

Mr. Shortt explained that the property was a dead lot that they could not build on and the owner at the time went to the ZBA. He stated that Norm Davis was there and Jimmy King the boat/car racer had it and the ZBA came up with this. The front door was supposed to face the address that the house is built on, but they allowed the petitioner to put the house the other way because it was a non-conforming lot any way. The petitioner at the time complied with what the Zoning Board told him to do.

Motion by Mr. Klonowski to approve Petition # 2010-33 for the requested garage. The practical difficulty would be that it is a non-conforming lot. The existing garage will house one car and it cannot be expanded to allow two cars; so it would be a three-car garage only.

Supported by Mr. Alexie

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted


There was no old business.


Mr. Klonowski mentioned that he thought that the petition from the last meeting was not signed.

Chairman Stepnak stated that they had neglected to sign the petition. The petition was denied and he was glad that at the time he polled the board, so he thought that at least there was a little more documentation on the matter.


Motion by Mr. Klonowski to approve the minutes from the November 10, 2010 meeting.

Supported by Mr. Alexie

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted


Chairman Stepnak welcomed Michelle Ficht, Township Trustee, as the new member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. He thanked Mr. Shortt for attending the meeting that evening.


Motion by Ms. Ficht to adjourn at 7:34 PM.

Supported by Mr. Yaschen

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted

Thomas Yaschen, Secretary Grace Mastronardi, Recording Secretary

Go To Top