Reference Desk


Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes - May 25, 2011



MAY 25, 2011

A regular meeting of the Chesterfield Township Zoning Board of Appeals was held on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. 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.


Present: Marvin Stepnak

James Klonowski

Tom Yaschen

Gerald Alexie

Wendy Jones

Carl Leonard

Michele Ficht


Others: Shawn Shortt





Vince De Angelo stated that he misinterpreted the code. His shed is 72 square feet over the allotted size. The reason that he built it is because he is getting a little older and he cannot cut his grass so he would like to get a riding mower and he needs a place to put it. That is the main reason. He also wants to store some summer furniture and stuff during the winter.

Mr. Stepnak noted that the shed is up and this board does have the authority to deny and the applicant would have to remove or make alterations to the shed. Because the shed is up it does not constitute a hardship.

Mr. Klonowski asked if the property behind Mr. De Angelo’s is all floodplain.

Mr. De Angelo replied that the property behind his has to be at least five acres. There is nothing behind him. The property to the north is a vacant lot. There are two people who can see the shed other than himself; there are two neighbors directly to the south of his property. He and his wife went around the other day to neighbors that were on the township’s mailing list to collect signatures. He provided a copy of the petition along with a photo of the shed to Mr. Stepnak for the file. The only time anyone can see the shed is in the winter when all the foliage comes off. Even if you drive by on Baker Road you can only see the top gable part of the shed.

Mr. Alexie asked Mr. De Angelo if he had pulled a permit before he constructed the shed and if it is on concrete.

Mr. De Angelo responded that he is doing this out of sequence. It does have a concrete foundation. He applied for a permit and that is when this all started.

Mr. Shortt stated that Mr. De Angelo was caught without a permit. Mr. Shortt went out to the site and thought that it might be in the floodplain or floodway. He pulled the house file and it shows on the plot plan the contour of the floodplain. He went out there with a 1,500 foot tape and Mr. De Angelo is out of the floodplain. It is a nice and beautiful shed. He indicated that it is structurally sound.

Mr. Leonard asked if the attached garage is a two or three car garage.

Mr. De Angelo replied that it is a three car garage. It has one eight foot door and one sixteen foot door. The portion of the garage that is one car he cannot get anything else into that portion because it is full of stored items.

Mr. Leonard asked for clarification that the 3 car garage is only 651 square feet.

Mr. De Angelo replied yes, he went out and measured it.

Mr. Leonard asked what the dimensions are.

Mr. De Angelo replied that he does not have the dimensions with him. He measured the length and multiplied it by the width and that is what he came up with, unless he did the math wrong.

Mr. Leonard commented that he is surprised that a 3 car garage would be only 651 square feet. He asked Mr. Shortt if when he went out there the garage seemed bigger.

Mr. Shortt noted that he did not check the size.

Mr. Leonard commented that with the existing garage and the shed, even with the shed being over the allotted size, it is still under the allowed 920 square feet. However, it is not on the site plan and we have no way to verify that at this point.

Mr. De Angelo stated that if he made a mistake it was not on purpose, but he thinks it would still be pretty close to that.

Mr. Stepnak noted that it is not relevant at this time.

Ms. Ficht asked if the shed has a rat wall.

Mr. De Angelo responded that the ground slopes down in a way; it has a concrete foundation. He has six piers and the shed is bolted and strapped to that. It is not going anywhere.

Ms. Ficht asked if he has a basement.

Mr. De Angelo replied yes.

Mr. Yaschen read the list of names from the petition that Mr. De Angelo had submitted for the file. Twelve neighbors had no objection to Mr. De Angelo’s shed.

Mr. De Angelo stated that the township sent notices to 18 residents. The ones on the petition are within 300 feet of his home.

Mr. Stepnak asked how big Mr. De Angelo’s property is.

Mr. De Angelo replied it is almost a half acre. He thinks it is 100 x 200.

Ms. Ficht commented that it is 206 on one side and 199 on the other.

Mr. Stepnak clarified that Mr. De Angelo maintains the property himself.

Mr. De Angelo responded yes. He added that they had lost a lot of beautiful trees because of the ash borer, so they have been in the process or removing many trees. They don’t have woods anymore and he is trying to maintain that also.

No one from the public spoke on this agenda item.

Mr. Shortt noted that if this item is approved, Mr. De Angelo needs to pull a permit from the Building Department.

Mr. De Angelo replied that he would do that tomorrow.

Mr. Alexie asked for clarification on the rat wall.

Mr. Shortt explained that he has concrete piers supporting the shed. There should still be a rat wall, but he had a meeting with a floodplain engineer who suggested to another resident that they cut some siding off so that the flood water has a place to go. That is his intent with this shed also. This shed is elevated, so he thinks he will waive the rat wall requirement so that if the river ever does plug up the water has a place to go. A rat wall would do more harm than good.

Mr. De Angelo noted that the foundation is 48 inches into the ground. It is not going anywhere.

Mr. Shortt commented that Mr. De Angelo did do a nice job building it. It is beautiful.

Mr. Stepnak noted that a rat wall is a building code. It is an engineering concern not a zoning concern.

Mr. Leonard commented that the shed is about 200 feet of the road. There is no one behind Mr. De Angelo’s property. He has no problem with this.

Mr. Shortt noted that the property north of Mr. De Angelo’s is all easement; it is a dead unbuildable lot.

Mr. De Angelo apologized for not following the proper procedures with the township.

Motion by Mr. Leonard, supported by Mr. Yaschen to approve petition #2011-06 for a 12 x 16 shed. It is a large lot. There is no way to build behind it; there is no way to build on the north side. It is not overly excessive; this size fits the lot okay. There is no concern with regards to the neighbors.

Mr. Leonard asked if there is electricity out there.

Mr. De Angelo replied no.

Mr. Leonard asked if he is going to run electricity there.

Mr. De Angelo replied maybe in the future.

Mr. Leonard amended his motion to include that electricity be the only utility to be added in the future.

Mr. Yaschen continued his support.

All Ayes Motion Carried



Mr. Shortt informed the board members on an upcoming agenda item at the next meeting. The applicant wants to continue working on it, which Mr. Shortt will let him continue. He has instructed the applicant that it is up to this board as to whether or not he will be allowed to convert this to a townhouse, which is what it has been in the past. The property is zoned single family residential. The applicant has lost his non-conformance because it has been sitting for so long. The unit was vacant and he purchased it as a foreclosure. The unit is approximately 700 square feet. Mr. Shortt will issue the applicant a permit just to clean it up. He is putting a new porch on it, which is exactly the same size. He is not increasing the non-conforming of it. If any board members see him working on it that is the reason.


Motion by Ms. Ficht, supported by Mr. Stepnak to approve the minutes from the prior meeting.

All Ayes Motion Carried



Motion by Ms. Ficht, supported by Mr. Alexie to adjourn the meeting at 7:25 p.m.

All Ayes Motion Carried

Tom Yaschen, Secretary

Christine A. Hunyady, Recording Secretary

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