Board of Adjustment Hearing

August 21, 2008


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


            Board of Adjustment members present were:

                        Darryl Brody, Chairperson

                        Walter DeGrendele

                        Stan Green

                        Jack Hauser

                        Terry Rosenstrauch


The City Attorney, Mr. Patrick Butler attended and the City Clerk, Michele McMahon recorded the Minutes.  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, Mr. and Mrs. Bob and Pam Willis and Lauren Strutman were sworn in. 


The Chairperson asked all those sworn in 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 the agenda item regarding Mr. and Mrs. Willis’s request to construct a front-entry garage.


            Lauren Strutman thanked the Members of the Board and informed them that she is the architect for the Willis’s.  She then introduced Mr. and Mrs. Willis and introduced the contractors, Tom Shelley and Andrea Davis.  She described the improvements planned for the house, saying they will be converting the dining room to a pantry and mudroom.  The existing 2-car garage will be turned into a dining room.  The Willis’s would like to construct a new 4-car garage. 


After permission from the Board, a new packet was handed out that included a sketch depicting what the house would look like.  She then went on to explain the hardship with the property due to the grade.  She said that in order to place a side entry garage, they would have to construct a 14’ tall retaining wall, which would damage the septic system.  She said the grade is such that the house is situated 10’ below street level and because of that, it prohibits view of the garage from the street.  She also stated that the Willis’s are aware that if additional retaining walls were needed, it would necessitate an additional variance by this Board.


            Walter DeGrendele commended the applicants for their handouts.  He also mentions a comment from the President of Trustees, Tom Irwin, who stated on his approval sheet that “adequate” landscaping should be included with the proposal.  He “hopes the applicants do not take that word as frivolous”.  Jack Hauser informed the Board Members that after having attended many Aldermanic Board Meetings, the City considers Kehrs Mill Trails to be a unique subdivision.  He also mentioned to the applicants they consider other plantings than pine trees, because he said, they do not grow well in the subdivision.  Terry Rosenstrauch said it was a beautiful presentation; then asked for clarification of the septic tank hardship.  The contractor, Tom Shelley was sworn in.  He spoke about the septic system, how it needs to be close to the kitchen but can’t be too close to the lake, etc.  He also mentioned the tree loss if the project moves to a side entry garage. 


            The Building Commissioner’s memo was entered as an exhibit.


A call for proponents and opponents was made, to which there was none.  Terry Rosenstrauch asked the City Attorney, Patrick Butler, how we do not se a precedent on front-loading garages if this is passed?  Mr. Butler explained to the Board Members that if someone came into City Hall with an application for a variance with a lot that backs to a lake with a septic tank/field that can’t be moved and with a shallow lot on a curvy street – that would set a precedent.  Mr. Butler than spoke of 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) three will not, two will, (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, Green, Hauser and Rosenstrauch.  There were no nays. 


The Chairperson declared Mr. and Mrs. Willis’s petition as being approved.  Darryl Brody then advised them 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 8:10 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,




                                                            Michele McMahon

                                                            City Clerk

                                                            City of Clarkson Valley



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