MINUTES

Board of Adjustment Hearing

August 19, 2013

 

The Clarkson Valley Board of Adjustment, pursuant to notices posted, met at City Hall in the Clarkson Executive Center to consider two agenda items.

 

            Board of Adjustment Members present were:

                        Darryl Brody, Chairperson

                        Jim Barry

                        Jack Hauser

                        Paul Mercurio

                        Phyllis Newmark

 

The City Attorney, Mr. Patrick Butler attended and the City Clerk, Michele McMahon recorded the Minutes.  Board Members Tom Berkeley, Karen Koshak, and Terry Rosenstrauch were unable to attend.  Mayor Scott Douglass also attended.

 

The City Attorney and Chairman explained to the two petitioners they are present tonight to ask this Board to permit a variance from the Clarkson Valley Code 405.060.E.3. establishing that no building shall intrude upon the area required for front, side and rear yards by proving practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships in the carrying out of the provisions of the code due to topographic or other conditions.  A Board for these adjustment requests consists of five members and a concurring vote of four (4) members of the Board shall be necessary to effect a variation in the Zoning Ordinance.  The Chairperson then asked the petitioners if they had objections to any of the Members of the Board of Adjustment, to which they responded they did not.  He then asked the Board Members if they had an opportunity to view both properties to which all stated they had.  After the meeting was called to order and protocol established, the petitioners, their contractors, and a Trustee of the Westhampton Home Owners Association were sworn in.  Darryl Brody read the Notice of Public Hearing for both agenda items. 

 

Mr. Carlos Kerr introduced himself and his contractor, Ken Valli.  He stated he was present tonight to request a variance to construct a garage addition that would encroach 14.0' into the front yard setback (through/lot, double frontage).  

 

            He described the double-frontage scenario, stating he backs up to Clarkson Road which gives him a 75’ rear setback, giving him a very small building envelope.  He is before this Board tonight with a request to encroach into that restricted area to construct a third bay for his garage. 

 

There were a few questions asked of Mr. Kerr, one of which was answered by the Trustee present at tonight’s meeting, Julie Buehler.  The question regarded the landscaping seen along Clarkson Road and who was responsible for maintenance thereof.  Mrs. Buehler responded the subdivision is responsible from the road to the fence and anything beyond the fence is the homeowner’s responsibility.  Comments from the Board Members regarded such things as noise emanating from Clarkson Road and that the garage would be higher in elevation than Clarkson Road.

 

Paul Mercurio asked the petitioner for the height of the existing retaining wall with the response being 4’.  He also asked if there was going to be a landscape buffer and wanted to know if there was going to be a sidewalk alongside the retaining wall?  The point being that certain elevations of walls require a fence, in which case an additional variance would be in order.  After further discussion, the City Attorney stated this discussion is outside the scope of the Board and the Chairman called for proponents or opponents, to which there were none.

 

There were no further questions.  There was no one from the City to speak on the proposal.

 

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. 

 

Darryl Brody read the Agenda item again and then asked the Members for their factual determination of the proposal for the retaining wall, to which: question (1) five are, (2) four will not, one will, (3) one will not, four 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 for the garage to extend approximately 14.0' beyond the rear building line with the following results:  Yeas: Barry, Brody, Hauser, Mercurio and Newmark There were no nays. 

 

The Chairperson declared the Kerr’s request for variance for the garage as having been approved with further clarification for the records:  This Board did not approve the fence or wall that may or may not extend beyond any building lines nor did it approve any code requirements for required fencing.  Darryl Brody then advised Mr. Kerr that the variance granted by the Board is based upon what took place tonight.  Any change will negate the variance that was granted at this meeting. 

 

Darryl Brody gave the floor to Mr. and Mrs. Bill and Kristy Howard who are requesting a variance to construct a pool fence and retaining wall 20’ beyond the building line from an original variance granted 05/1997 for 10’.  For clarification sake, it was determined the request was for 30’ encroachment beyond the building line. 

 

            Mr. Howard introduced himself and his wife, Kristy.  He said he and his family moved into their home in Clarkson Valley five years ago.  He explained the original variance granted a 10’ encroachment for the required fence but made the area between the fence and the pool very tight.  What they were requesting at this evening’s meeting was to move the fence back so it would not be so restrictive.  He passed around pictures depicting the tight nature of the decking – especially at the northeast edge of the pool area.  He stated there is a huge buffered area at the rear of the property between neighboring properties and they likely would never see the fence.

 

            Board Member, Paul Mercurio, asked how tall the proposed retaining walls would be to which the response from Mr. Howard was anywhere from 34” to 2’ tall.  He said he used a laser level to make that determination.

 

            Mr. Barry asked why the Howard’s were requesting 30’ and the response was they would like to have more of an open-space feel.  Mr. Barry replied, in his opinion, they did not need all of that space and asked if the Howard’s would be amenable to a lesser encroachment request?  Paul Mercurio commented there is some validity to the encroachment request and spoke of ways in which the project might be moved closer to the pool area.  Mr. Howard stated he would consider whatever the Board has to offer.  The question then became, are you willing to compromise for an additional 20’ and not 30’?

 

            The e-mail from the Dunhill Trustees was discussed along with mention of “possible” water runoff problems from unknown/unidentified party with no further clarification from the Board of Trustees.  This was eventually dismissed and deemed to be a Building Commissioner issue and not a Board of Adjustment issue.  Although Mr. Howard lent comment that he spent $2,800 this year to eliminate a drainage issue and can’t imagine how additional drainage from his proposed project would be a concern.

 

            Mr. Howard approached the dais with his site plan and through discussion, it was determined they would change their variance request from 30’ to 20’ to locate the fence and retaining wall.  Further discussion ensued regarding the height of the request for the retaining wall and it was determined, without the ability to further evaluate this with an appropriate instrument, the request would be “not to exceed 8’ in height.).

 

A call for proponents and opponents was made, to which there were none. There was no one from the City to speak on behalf of the proposal.  There were no further questions. 

 

The City Attorney, Patrick Butler reminded the Board Members of the intent of the zoning code and the merits and conclusion portion contained therein. 

 

Mr. Brody then asked the Members for their factual determination for the pool fence and retaining wall (not to exceed 8’ in height) to encroach beyond the rear yard setback by 20’, to which: question (1) five are not, (2) four will, one will not, (3) four will not, one 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 for the pool fence and retaining wall (not to exceed 8’) to encroach 20’ beyond the 50' rear building line with the following results:  Yeas: Barry, Brody, Hauser, Mercurio and Newmark.  There were no nays. 

 

The Chairperson declared the Howard’s request for variance for the pool fence and retaining wall not to exceed 8’ in height) to encroach 20’ beyond the rear building line as having been approved.  Darryl Brody then advised Mr. and Mrs. Howard that the variance granted by the Board is based upon what took place tonight.  Any change will negate the variance that was granted at this meeting. 

 

            The meeting was adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

 

 

 

                                                            Michele McMahon

                                                            City Clerk

                                                            City of Clarkson Valley