Board of Adjustment Hearing

August 15, 2007 

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

            Board of Adjustment members present were:

                        Darryl Brody, Chairperson

                        Walter DeGrendele

                        Stan Green

                        Karen Koshak

                        Shirley McKinney

                        Terry Rosenstrauch 

The City Attorney, Mr. Patrick Butler attended and the City Clerk, Michele McMahon recorded the Minutes.   

After the meeting was called to order and protocol established, Chairman Darryl Brody explained there were three items shown on the agenda; however, the petitioner for agenda item number-one resolved the issue prior to this meeting and it was declared this item would be removed from the agenda.  He further explained it was necessary that he recuse himself from the second agenda item because he represented the petitioner.  Walter DeGrendele was now handed the gavel and served as Chairman.  Mr. DeGrendele swore in those members in the audience wishing to address the Commission regarding the Mark Farner agenda item, which was only Darryl Brody. 

The Chairperson asked Mr. Brody if he had objections to any of the Members of the Board of Adjustment comprising the quorum?  To which he responded he did not.  The Chairperson read the Notice of Public Hearing for the second agenda item regarding Mr. Mark Farner's request: To construct a fence around an existing pool/tennis court that will encroach upon the side yards: on the north side 10' and on the south side 20'. 

Mr. Brody stated that he represents Mark Farner, the owner of a lot in Clarkson Valley that contains a swim pool - which requires a fence.  He said Mr. Farner purchased the house and property thirteen years ago with the swim pool.  The lot is unique because the original building line was 15' and is now 25'.  We are asking for a 10' variance on one side and 20' on the other.  The existing tennis court is at 15' and we would like to connect to that fence.  We would add two new gates to keep it within the specifications of the code.  The tennis court fence will also receive an updated gate.  We would like it noted, for the record, the existing pool equipment is outside of the building lines. 

He further explained that if they placed the fence within the building lines, there are existing trees, shrubbery, retaining walls, etc, that would create a zigzag effect, which would also create further issues with the fence's height requirement.  

Scott Schultz asked to be sworn in and then stated to those present that unless you go to the back of the Farner property, you will never know the uniqueness of the lot.  He also stated that if you were to fence in the pool in any other way than the one being proposed tonight, you will be doing this property a great injustice.  He concluded by saying this fence is the least intrusive of anything he can imagine. 

There were no opponents.  

Mr. DeGrendele brought an issue before the Board, saying the site plan does not have a seal, signature or recent date.  The City Attorney agreed, saying further the site plan does not clearly indicate 20', 15', or 10'.  We know it is 20' tonight but in years to come, will we know that?  The Chairperson suggested that we vote on the project's merit tonight and the petitioner will promise that he secure a site plan showing the fence's exact location - to scale.  Everyone agreed.  It was determined the City Clerk should have in her hands -- within three weeks of this date, a newly signed and sealed site plan reflecting the exact location of the entire fence. 

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, Walter DeGrendele, 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 for the amended application to grant the desired variance for Mark Farner's fence with the following results:  Yeas:  DeGrendele, Green, Koshak, McKinney and Rosenstrauch.  There were no nays.  The Chairperson declared the petition as being approved.  The Chairperson, Walt DeGrendele advised Mr. Farner that the variance granted by the Board is based upon the plans, which are to be submitted to the City Clerk no later than three weeks from today, at which time they will be part of the Application.  Any change in those plans will negate the variance that was granted at this meeting. 

Mr. Brody explained that he thought he would be able to Chair the second agenda item, however, he and his client, Mark Farner, were supposed to appear in the Clarkson Valley Municipal Court that evening and time was getting away.  It was 8:00.  He excused himself from this next portion of the meeting as well and he and Mr. Farner departed for Court. 

The Chairperson, Walter DeGrendele, then read the Notice of Public Hearing for the third agenda item regarding Mr. Robert Dienstbach's request: To construct two lighted pillars, one of which being a mailbox that cannot be regulated.   

Mr. Dienstbach was first sworn in and then asked if there were any reasons why any member from this panel should not be serving tonight, to which Mr. Dienstbach responded, "No".  Mr. Dienstbach asked everyone to review his application.  He stated the agenda lists one item, the lighted pillars, but actually Mr. Dienstbach would like this Board to consider everything on the application.  He gave the reasoning for this request as his neighbor, Honora Schiller.  Patrick Butler attempted to give Mr. Dienstbach legal advice, but was cut short.  Mr. DeGrendele stated the members of this board are present tonight and if they review everything on the application, each item would have to be considered independently of each other and not as a whole.  And so it began... the electric meter box.  Mr. Dienstbach said it was placed exactly where Ameren told him it must go.  Everyone wondered how one on this Board could vote on that.  Was this within their jurisdiction?  And so it went... 

Mr. Dienstbach was given the opportunity to amend his application.  Instead he went on to describe the other issues mentioned on his application.  Mr. DeGrendele stated to Mr. Dienstbach, "You stated that the city has no issues with these objects.  Why do you insist on doing this?"  Mr. Dienstbach fired back, "Because THE CITY lives two doors down from me!" 

At some point the meeting came back to the monuments and discussion about the lack of fixtures and no photo, picture or catalog ad.  How can the Board make a determination with such limited information?  The Board Members also said they had no idea of the dimensions of the pillars.  Mr. Rosenstrauch said to Mr. Dienstbach, "This is the most amicable Board I've ever seen.  You are hurting yourself.  Because of your presentation."  Mr. Dienstbach, hat in hand so-to-say, stated, "For two years my neighbor down the street has called City Hall - nearly thirty times".  He named three other neighbors whom he feels have harassed him.  He said if this Board could deal with the issues mentioned on the application, the issues would then go away.  He doesn't want to be told a year from now the basketball hoop is out of the building lines and he'll have to go before this Board a third time. (He's already been twice, he informed those present.) 

The Chairman, Walter DeGrendele, then acknowledged he was going off the subject, but asked Scott Schultz who, Walter DeGrendele said, wasn't PRESIDENT of the Trustees of Forest Hills Club Estates (an error made by me - the City Clerk) and that he served on the Committee of the Trustees why he and he alone signed off on the Dienstbach plans?  To which Mr. Schultz responded that Mr. Dienstbach's request presented a quandary.  After much discussion, he said, the committee of trustees agreed they would approve the monuments, but only if it went to the Board of Adjustments.  He then told Walter he would welcome him to review their minutes. 

Bob Dienstbach then said he believes this board has lost its perspective and the irony involved... but then that perspective was lost, too. 

The Chairman then said, "Let's call this meeting and have you come back in a professional manner.  It almost sounds cynical.  I've never run up against an electrical meter."   

At 8:55 p.m. the meeting was adjourned.   

Respectfully submitted,


Michele McMahon

Back to Main Page