MINUTES

Board of Adjustment Hearing

March 9, 2009

 

The Clarkson Valley Board of Adjustment, pursuant to notices posted, met at City Hall in the Fru-Con Building to consider two agenda items.

 

            Board of Adjustment members present were:

                        Darryl Brody, Chairperson

                        Walter DeGrendele

                        Jack Hauser

                        Paul Mercurio

                        Phyllis Newmark

 

The City Attorney, Mr. Patrick Butler attended and the City Clerk, Michele McMahon recorded the Minutes.  Board Member, Stan Green was in the audience.  The Chairman asked if all Board Members had a chance to view the properties, to which they responded affirmatively.

 

            After the meeting was called to order and protocol established, all parties were sworn in – consisting of Mr. Richard Sems, Keith Kozlen, his architect, Mr. Myles Kelly and Lauren Strutman, his architect.

 

The Chairperson asked Mr. Sems and Mr. Kelly if they had objections to any of the Members of the Board of Adjustment comprising the quorum?  To which they responded they did not.  Darryl Brody read the Notice of Public Hearing for both agenda items and began with Mr. Sems’s request to construct an addition at the northeast corner of the residence that will encroach 4.5’ into the required 75’ front yard set back at one corner and 3’ into the required 75’ front yard set back at the other corner.  And to construct a retaining wall 22’ into the required 25’ side yard.  

 

            Lauren Strutman, architect for the project, introduced herself and Mr. Sems.  She said the house was built in 1972 and described the construction they were proposing.  Mr. Sems spoke, saying the house was built without a mudroom and they would like to add one to the rear of the house.  Also, because they have six children they are rearing and home schooling, they would like to add a first floor laundry room.  The garage addition would include a storage area for the children’s bicycles, lawn equipment, etc.  The driveway’s layout would require a 4’ tall retaining wall.  He concluded by saying the driveway drainage was amended to address the statement made on the comment card submitted by one of the neighbors. 

 

A question was posed by Board Member Walter DeGrendele, who said it appeared the driveway would go over the utility easement.  He asked if that were permissible?  Patrick Butler stated yes.  He then mentioned the trustees signed the plans, but that does not indicate they approve.  The City Attorney agreed.  The City Clerk explained that plans are forwarded to trustees for their information, not approval.  One could assume since they were not present and no letters forwarded to the city regarding this project, they were in agreement with it.

 

            A question was asked about the exact height of the retaining wall and Will Pearson was then introduced.  He said the height would not exceed 4’.  He stated it would begin at zero and graduate to the height of 4’ then taper back down to zero, for a length of 50’ – 3’ from the property line.

 

A call for proponents and opponents was made, to which there was none.  The City Attorney, Patrick Butler explained to the Board Members the intent of the zoning code and read the merits and conclusion portion contained therein.  It was determined that for this proposal, two separate votes would be taken.

 

The Chairperson, Darryl Brody, asked the Members for their factual determination of the first proposal, for the addition, to which: question (1) three are, two are not (2) one will, four will not, (3) four will, one will not (4) five will not, (5) five will not, (6) five will. 

 

The Chairperson then called for a vote of approval/disapproval to grant the desired variance with the following results:  Yeas: Brody, DeGrendele, Hauser, Mercuro, and Newmark.  There were no nays. 

 

The Chairperson, Darryl Brody, asked the Members for their factual determination of the second proposal, for the retaining wall, to which: question (1). five are, (2) five will not, (3) five will, (4) five will not, (5) five will not, (6) five will

 

The Chairperson then called for a vote of approval/disapproval to grant the desired variance with the following results:  Yeas: Brody, DeGrendele, Hauser, Mercuro, and Newmark.  There were no nays. 

 

The Chairperson declared Mr. and Mrs. Sem’s petition as being approved.  Darryl Brody then advised Mr. Sems that the variance granted by the Board is based upon the plans submitted at this evening’s meeting, which are to be made part of the Application.  Any change in those plans will negate the variance that was granted at this meeting.  It was further requested that stakes be placed at the site where the retaining wall would be located.

 

            Mr. Brody read the second agenda item to construct a swim pool encroaching the required 75’ front yard set back by 35’0” for the pool, 45’0” for the deck and wall, and 47’0” for the fence.

 

            Mr. Kelly introduced himself saying his patio contractor appeared before this Board last summer to build a retaining wall, patio and landscape around a proposed swim pool at his newly constructed house at 2028 Kingspointe Drive.  The retaining wall was going to encroach into one of the two 75’ yards but the proposed swim pool would remain completely inside the required yard.  At some point the pool company became concerned with the soil and had it tested.  They went quite far before hitting solid dirt.  Mr. Kozlen, the architect for the project further explained this lot contained a previous house that burned December 2000 and the lot now contains 30’ of fill in the original ravine.  The house is built with drilled piers.  He said if they added additional piering, the house could become unstable, calling this a unique hardship.  He said he and the owner explored all possibilities. 

 

            The Board Members had several comments and questions.  Jack Hauser mentioned the existing berm’s plantings look sparse.  Mr. Kelly said he planned to add plantings for both the visual aspect as well as sound-proofing.  He also mentioned the pool is 9’ to 10’ below street level.  The contractor, Will Pearson was introduced and stated the retaining wall would be 5’ at its highest point and taper to zero.

 

            Another Board Member, Phyllis Newmark, expressed her concern that this project if voted affirmatively, would be precedent-setting to which Patrick Butler stated that it would only if the next petitioner has exactly the same hardships; a lot containing 30’ of fill with a severe back slope, multiple 75’ yards, deep piering systems and the project likely would not be seen from the streets.  He concluded by saying it would set a precedent but each case stands on its own merit.  Mrs. Newmark then asked if the inability to own a pool a hardship?  Then further stated this is the largest request for variance she’s witnessed in the 13 years she’s been on the Board.  Paul Mercurio stated his opinion the Kelly’s had good intentions of building the pool within the building lines and Darryl Brody agreed.  Mr. Kelly said he is coming to this Board, hat-in-hand because he’s exhausted every possible avenue. 

 

A call for proponents and opponents was made, to which there was none.  The City Attorney, Patrick Butler explained to the Board Members the intent of the zoning code and read the merits and conclusion portion contained therein. 

 

The Chairperson, Darryl Brody, asked the Members for their factual determination of the proposal to which: question (1) five are, (2) five will not, (3) five will, (4) five will not, (5) five will not, (6) five will. 

 

The Chairperson then called for a vote of approval/disapproval to grant the desired variance with the following results:  Yeas: Brody, DeGrendele, Hauser, Mercurio, and Newmark.  There were no nays. 

 

The Chairperson declared Mr. and Mrs. Kelly’s petition as being approved.  Darryl Brody then advised Mr. Kelly, Mr. Kozlen and Mr. Pierson that the variance granted by the Board is based upon the plans submitted at this evening’s meeting, which are to be made part of the Application.  Any change in those plans will negate the variance that was granted at this meeting.

 

            The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

 

 

 

                                                            Michele McMahon

                                                            City Clerk

                                                            City of Clarkson Valley

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