Reference Desk


Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes - April 13, 2011



April 13, 2010

On April 13, 2010, a regular meeting of the Chesterfield Township Zoning Board of Appeals was held at the Township Hall located at 47275 Sugarbush, Chesterfield, 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: Carl Leonard, 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 #2011-02: Paul J. Bonior, P.O. box 46464, Mt. Clemens, MI 48046. Requesting a variance to allow alterations to a non-conforming structure (Duplex) if approved property will conform as a Single Family Residence. Request is located at 47164 Roger Lane.

Paul J. Bonior, P.O. Box 46464, Mt. Clemens, MI 48046 addressed the board.

Petitioner stated that he was requesting variance to update the home at

47164 Rogers Lane to the conforming codes and to be over the square footage for

the allowable garages.

Mr. Klonowski asked the petitioner if this was going to be his principal residence?

Petitioner answered no, it was going to be a home for his parents.

Mr. Klonowski asked if the petitioner had checked into the flood plain area over there?

Petitioner answered that he met with an inspector and looked at some charts with him. He did not remember the man’s name. He stated that he discussed the matter with him and the inspector told him everything looked okay and that zone was usually dry.

Mr. Shortt stated that he would probably have the petitioner get an elevation certificate to determine what elevation the home is at right there. He explained that with it being that close to the creek, the home might not be in the lake flood plain, but he is pretty sure that there is a flood plain with the creek right there.. He asked if that creek goes out to the lake?

Petitioner answered yes.

Mr. Shortt asked if that was the creek that goes under Jefferson?

Petitioner stated that it goes under the old bridge and bait tackle store.

Mr. Shortt stated that if it is determined that the home is in a flood plain area everything will have to be put a foot above the base flood. He explained that the State law requires that if the petitioner is altering over 50% of the value of that home; then the whole house has to be brought up to the flood plain standard of 581’. He mentioned that the two bedrooms that are being added on would have to be 581’, so the petitioner would have to put steps up.

Petitioner asked if 581 was the flood plain number?

Mr. Shortt answered yes. He explained that 580’ is the base flood and State law states that it has to be foot above that.

Chairman Stepnak stated that basically the board would be looking converting the duplex in a non-conforming area. The board could move forward on that, but the petitioner would still be subject to any and all building codes and flood restrictions and things of that nature. The board does not have the authority to grant any lenience in regard to those matters.

Petitioner asked so he would need to find out where the property sits as far as the flood plain?

Mr. Shortt stated that the petitioner would have to hire a surveyor who would actually come out and shoot it in relation to that flood plain. He mentioned that it would cost about $225 to $250 for an elevation certificate.

Chairman Stepnak stated that if the board did move favorably the board would include that the petitioner would have to fulfill any engineering requirements.

Mr. Shortt asked if the home was on a slab?

Petitioner answered yes.

Mr. Shortt stated that the top of the slab would have to be one foot over the flood plain.

Petitioner stated that his first step would have to be hiring a surveyor and get the elevation certificate.

Mr. Yaschen mentioned that the home was a long way back there. He asked if the petitioner planned to put in any kind of road?

Petitioner stated that Roger’s Lane was the designated access to the parcel. He added that there was no gravel on it at the present time and he planned to put a gravel drive all the way back to the home.

Mr. Yaschen asked if it was one-bedroom being added in the front?

Petitioner stated that the proposal was for two-bedrooms.

Mr. Yaschen asked if the petitioner planned to put in the 24’ x 44’ structure at the back of the property?

Petitioner answered yes that was the detached barn he was requesting to build.

Mr. Yaschen pointed out another small structure on the property?

Petitioner stated that was a small shed that he would be tearing down.

Ms. Jones had no questions.

Mr. Alexie asked if the proposed garage would have two doors?

Petitioner asked which garage?

Mr. Alexie answered the detached garage.

Petitioner stated that the detached garage would have a 16’ wide door.

Mr. Alexie asked what about the attached garage?

Petitioner answered that it would have a 10’ or 12’ door, he was not sure.

Mr. Alexie mentioned that he and Mr. Yaschen had been out to the property and it looked kind of soft at the back. It looked as if someone had driven back there.

Petitioner stated that he had driven back there with his truck and it made some tracks back there and he admitted that it sunk in a little bit.

Mr. Alexie stated that was his only concern.

Ms. Ficht asked if the barn was supposed to be set back 30’ from the road?

Chairman Stepnak asked if the garage was going to be the proposed barn?

Petitioner answered that there was one attached garage and there would be one detached.

Ms. Ficht asked if the petitioner was calling the detached structure a barn?

Petitioner answered yes.

Chairman Stepnak asked if the detached garage at the back of the lot on the far right was the structure mentioned in the petition?

Petitioner stated that he did not really understand the question. He asked if the structure the board members were referring to was the 24’ x 44’ barn and the setback of that from Roger’s Lane?

Ms. Ficht answered yes.

Petitioner stated that he did not realize that he needed to be 30’ back, he was just going by what was needed on the side on the property line. He did not know there would be a setback from Roger’s Lane itself.

Mr. Shortt asked if the petitioner’s front door faced Roger’s Lane?

Petitioner answered yes.

Mr. Shortt stated that the Township has an ordinance that the front door of the home has to face the road, so he was assuming Roger’s Lane was the petitioner’s access to the home. He asked if it was a dead-end road?

Petitioner answered yes. He stated that it was just an access for that part of the property.

Mr. Alexie asked if that road could ever go through?

Mr. Shortt asked what was behind the petitioner’s property over there?

Petitioner answered the creek.

Mr. Shortt asked what was behind the petitioner on the other side of the creek?

Petitioner replied nothing, just vacant land with cat tails and scrub trees.

There was a short discussion among the board concerning the property.

Chairman Stepnak stated that he was looking at the house and the attached garage. He was considering the other structure as an out-building. He added that it was talked about in the verbiage but is not mentioned in the petition request that was filed. He stated that he would like to move forward on only converting the duplex into a single home. He stated that an out-building is a whole separate issue.

Mr. Shortt brought up that according to the ordinance that structure should be in the back yard.

Chairman Stepnak reiterated that the detached structure was mentioned in the write-up from the petitioner, but it was not mentioned in the information that was actually published and sent out which only mentions the converting of the property from a duplex into a single home. He would not be inclined to entertain the 24’ x 44’ structure at that time.

The petitioner came up to the board and there was a discussion among all parties concerning this matter.

Petitioner stated that he tried to put together a really thorough package and he thought his explanation was sufficient.

Chairman Stepnak asked the petitioner what prohibited him from moving the proposed barn further back on the property? He mentioned that he saw the existing septic field.

Petitioner stated that the existing septic field was brought up to current code in 1995 and he believes it would still be efficient for the dwelling.

Ms. Ficht mentioned that on the attachment is states that it a proposed garage and on the plans it states that the structure is going to be a barn. She asked if the petitioner had to move the structure to the back, he would also have to make a longer drive with the gravel back to it, correct?

Petitioner answered yes.

Ms. Ficht asked on the other hand at the front of the property, since it would be right off the road, the petitioner would only have to do a small approach and that would be it.

Petitioner explained that was his idea to do a drive and just get in off of Roger’s Lane, instead of having to make a long drive with gravel to the barn at the back.

Chairman Stepnak asked the petitioner where the road actually ends?

Petitioner answered right at the house.

Chairman Stepnak stated so basically, this is a private road and the petitioner would be required to maintain it and there is probably no way it would be deeded back to the county.

Mr. Shortt asked if the petitioner actually planned to put a barn there?

Petitioner answered that he planned to put a pole barn in there.

Mr. Shortt stated that barns are only allowed in agricultural areas and this property is R1B where the Township would only allow a detached garage.

Petitioner stated that if the structure needed to be a garage, he would be willing to do the proper footings and do what was required to build the structure.

Mr. Shortt stated that it would need to be a stick frame structure.

Petitioner stated that he would build it as a stick frame, with proper footings, on a slab and he would be willing to do whatever needed to be done to conform to R1B.

Chairman Stepnak asked what would prevent the petitioner from moving the second garage back further on the property?

Petitioner stated that access was his main concern and he did not want to get too close to the drainage ditch back there.

Chairman Stepnak stated that notices did go out and there was no one from the public in attendance to speak about it.

Mr. Shortt mentioned that the petition stated that the lot is 112.5’ deep and 660’ wide. He asked if the some property is on the other side of the creek?

Petitioner explained that his property goes into the drainage ditch back there.

Chairman Stepnak asked if the ditch drops off about 10’ from the back of the house.

Petitioner answered that there would be 16’ to 18’ from the house to the ditch. He explained that both he and his neighbor on Lot 21 share the approximately 20’ of ditch. He added that his property does encroach into that drainage ditch.

Chairman Stepnak asked the height of the proposed garage?

Petitioner answered that it would not exceed 16’ in height according to Township codes.

Chairman Stepnak stated that this part of the community that was developed in the day of cottages and small bungalows. Roger’s Lane will probably never be continued on.

Mr. Shortt pointed to a curved area and asked the petitioner what it was?

Petitioner stated that was the drainage ditch.

There was a discussion among the board concerning the layout of the property and the location of the creek and the ditch.

Chairman Stepnak asked if the whole project was doable?

Mr. Shortt stated that anything was doable. He stated that we can take care of the flood plain issues.

Chairman Stepnak stated that his only concern would be the proximity to the road of the second garage. However, he reiterated that Roger’s Lane would probably never continue on and be developed further. He asked if anyone lived at the property at the present time.

Petitioner stated that the home has been vacant since 2006. He commented that the home is a wreck and needs to be totally gutted.

Mr. Shortt asked how the petitioner would feel about moving the garage back because it should be located at the rear of the house?

Petitioner answered that he would like to keep the garage off the ditch.

Chairman Stepnak asked how critical was the proposed barn to the project?

Petitioner stated that it was needed.

Motion by Mr. Alexie to approve Petition #2011-02 as stated on the proposal.

Supported by Mr. Yaschen.

Mr. Klonowski asked if Mr. Alexie would add to the motion that the petitioner must abide to all codes, ordinances and engineering flood plain considerations.

Mr. Alexie agreed to the additions to his motion.

Mr. Yaschen continued supported of the motion.

Chairman Stepnak mentioned that it was a non-conforming property and it would not deviate from the way this area has been developed. He believed that the petitioner would clean up and improve the property. He mentioned that no one had lived in the home for five years and this would be an improvement for the community instead of a vacant home.

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted

Ms. Ficht asked for clarification if the motion included the two garages?

Mr. Alexie answered yes.

Chairman Stepnak stated that the motion would include two garages; not pole barns.

5. OLD BUSINESS. ZBA #2010-28: Joseph and Linda Sengstock, 46560 Jefferson, Chesterfield, MI 48047. Requesting a 6 month extension on a previously approved variance located at the above address.

Chairman Stepnak mentioned that under old business they had an extension on a previous granted variance and that no one was there to speak on the matter.

Mr. Yaschen read the letter from the petitioner’s requesting a six-month variance because of economic problems and a layoff.

Motion by Mr. Yaschen to approve the petition for the six-month extension from this date which would be October 13, 2011.

Supported by Ms. Ficht.

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted


Chairman Stepnak welcomed Michelle Ficht as the new Township Board member liaison to the ZBA.


Motion by Mr. Yaschen to approve the minutes from the February 23, 2011 meeting.

Supported by Ms. Ficht

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted


Chairman Stepnak thanked Mr. Shortt for attending the meeting.


Motion by Mr. Klonowski to adjourn at 7:44 PM.

Supported by Mr. Yaschen

Ayes: All

Nays: None Motion Granted

Thomas Yaschen, Secretary

Grace Mastronardi, Recording Secretary

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