MINUTES

Board of Adjustment Hearing

September 9, 2009

 

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

 

            Board of Adjustment members present were:

                        Darryl Brody, Chairperson

                        Tom Berkeley

                        Jack Hauser

                        Phyllis Newmark

                        Terry Rosenstrauch

 

The City Attorney, Mr. Patrick Butler attended and the City Clerk, Michele McMahon recorded the Minutes.  Board Members Karen Koshak and Paul Mercurio were unable to attend.  The Chairman stated that normally all Board Members are required to view the properties but because Mr. Berkeley agreed to take Mr. Mercurio’s place on the Board tonight due to a last minute cancellation, he did not have a chance to view the properties.  He then asked the four petitioners if they had any objections with this, to which they responded they did not.  The remaining four Board Members confirmed they viewed the properties.

 

            After the meeting was called to order and protocol established, all parties were sworn in – consisting of Janet Saverin, Jay Stuckel, contractor for Ms. Saverin, Mr. Steve Sigman, Robert A. Tschopp, Randy and Patty Valli and Steve Such.

 

The Chairperson asked the four petitioners 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 all four agenda items and began with Mrs. Saverin’s request to erect a new fence three feet from the western property line, which would encroach twenty-two feet into the side yard and twenty-five feet into the front yard. 

 

            Ms. Saverin reminded those members present that she came before the Board of Adjustment in October 2008 to tidy the site plan for posterity and to make improvements, with City approval, by acquiring the necessary building permits.  The following items were noted that encroached into the various setbacks: Existing Home (built in 1909); retaining walls, boulder waterfall; brick wall at front of property, iron fencing and gate; and brick walls at courtyard.  She has a pool, which was about the only structure that was within the building lines.  The problem was there were only three sides to the fence around the pool and she wanted the fourth line of fencing to follow the property line, just as the other three had.  She went on to explain that Golfwood Subdivision used to be one lot with her home being the only house and the fence encompassed all the lots.  The code for swim pools in Clarkson Valley mandates the owner of said pool shall erect and maintain thereon an adequate enclosure either surrounding the property or pool area sufficient to make such body of water inaccessible to small children.  Had she known that placing a fence on the property line would require a variance, she would have accomplished that last year.

 

She stated that she is before this Board tonight asking to run the fence 24” inside the property line.  The Chairman questioned the Agenda, which states three (3’) feet.  Ms. Saverin was unsure from where that figure came.  He then asked how she planned to maintain the lawn in that 24” area?  She stated that she and her neighbor share the same lawn company and she would pay them to maintain it.  Board Member Terry Rosenstrauch inquired why the fence couldn’t be placed closely around the pool and decking, to which she responded the steep grade, French drain and limestone dry-stacked retaining wall leaning four (4’) feet beyond, prevented it.  According to the pool company the pool is at least 40 years old.  She did not know when the land was subdivided.

 

The City Attorney, Patrick Butler asked why the fence couldn’t run along the 25’ building line, to which Jay Stuckel, the contractor for Janet Saverin said she would be losing 40,000 sq. feet.  Chairman Brody noted that as far as the aesthetics are concerned, she has three of the fences on the property line.  When asked about the fence material, Mr. Stuckel stated the new fence would be aluminum to look like the remaining fence, which is made of wrought iron. 

 

The alternative fence, mentioned by Jack Schenck, Clarkson Valley’s Building Commissioner, was then discussed.  This would round the fence in; to enclose the pool and be within the building lines on the west sideyard and rear yard but still encroach on the southeast corner of the side building line.  Discussion ensued with the alternate plan, bringing in the fact that she owns the empty lot next door (to the east) and if she were to incorporate the two lots into one, she wouldn’t require a variance.

 

A call for proponents and opponents was made, to which Mr. Steve Sigman introduced himself as opposing the request.  He said that 1.) When he and his wife first moved to Clarkson Valley, they received incorrect information from the realtor regarding fencing.  They didn’t think it was allowed. 2.) When the fence first started being erected, they thought it was on property belonging to them. 3.) If the fence goes on the property line, they would have trouble backing out of their driveway. 4.) They moved sprinklers and would like to have the fence as close to the Saverin’s pool as possible. 

 

Through discussion, what was found acceptable to Mr. Sigman was to match the brick wall line.  He said he didn’t think they would really hit the fence when backing out, but it would visually impair the process.  The vote then came down to two plans: 1.) put the fence three (3’) feet running from the property line behind the brick wall; or 2.) Using Jack Schenck’s suggestion.  It was decided that Mr. Sigman was acceptable to the first one, although he interjected that delivery trucks would have trouble navigating a turn-around. 

 

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 first proposal, for the addition, to which: question (1) four are, one are not (2) one will, four will not, (3) five will (4) one will, four will not, (5) five will not, (6) five will. 

 

The Chairperson then called for a vote of approval/disapproval to grant the desired variance of 22’ with the following results:  Yeas: Berkeley, Brody, Hauser, and Newmark.  Nays: Rosenstrauch. 

 

The Chairperson declared Ms. Saverin’s petition as stated on the Agenda as being approved.  Darryl Brody then advised Ms. Saverin 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. 

 

            Mr. Brody read the second agenda item to reconstruct and lengthen a failed retaining wall encroaching 4.04’ into the required 25’ side yard and to construct a new retaining wall encroaching 16.8’ into the required 25’ side yard.

 

            Robert Tschopp introduced himself saying his house had been on the market for one and one-half years before purchasing it.  The house has a wood shake roof and there was a tree growing through.  They felled the pine tree, which had been crumbling the existing 2-1/2’ tall retaining wall.

The first thing he was going to do from a long list of items - was to replace the retaining wall.  His neighbor spoke with him and through discussion he felt it necessary to build a new 16’ long retaining wall to eliminate exposed roots and further runoff onto the neighbor’s driveway.  Chairman Brody mentioned that it appeared that he began construction of the retaining wall, to which Mr. Tschopp agreed and apologized.  He explained that the two walls he is requesting are no taller than 4’ on one wall, and 2-1/2’ tall on the other. 

 

A call for proponents and opponents was made, to which there were 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: Berkeley, Brody, Hauser, Newmark and Rosenstrauch.  There were no nays. 

 

The Chairperson declared Mr. Tschopp’s petition as being approved.  Darryl Brody then advised Mr. Tschopp 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.

 

            Mr. Brody read the third agenda item to construct a new front porch that would encroach 9’9” into the required 75’ front yard and 5’4” into the 25’ side yard.

 

            Patricia Valli introduced herself and her husband and reminded those present she had also been before this Board last year.  She and her husband are building an addition to the rear of their house.  The house was built on the 15’ side building line that has since changed to a 25’ side yard.  She received a variance to build straight back from the side of the house toward the rear. 

 

When the house was originally built, the front porch received a variance to extend several feet beyond the front 75’ building line.  While having everything remodeled, she decided that a new front porch would be nice, but because there were footings placed under the bay windows and wired to the roof, it was necessary to extend beyond what had already granted decades earlier.

 

She mentioned for the record that she received late approval from one of her neighbor who had been on vacation and asked that it be added to the file. 

 

A call for proponents and opponents was made, to which there were 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: Berkeley, Brody, Hauser, Newmark and Rosenstrauch.  There were no nays. 

 

The Chairperson declared the Valli’s petition as being approved.  Darryl Brody then advised Mr. and Mrs. Valli 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.

 

            Mr. Brody read the fourth agenda item to locate a newly constructed house 15’ beyond the south front yard and garage 19.8’ beyond the northwest front yard. 

 

            Steven Such introduced himself and reminded those present that he, too, has been before this Board with a different house in his subdivision of Kehrs Mill Glen.  He stated that the subdivision lots are challenging and this house in particular because it has 75’ building lines on three sides of the lot, with the back that abuts woods.  He and the owner plotted it originally to fit all four points within the building lines and received a building permit.  However, when it was staked and ready for excavation, he found it to be 10’ into the woods at an upward grade.  The back of the house would feel like it sits right on top of Kehrs Mill Road.  One question came regarding a retaining wall, but Mr. Such said he can control that and maintain it within the building lines.

 

The Board Members discussed this at length wrestling with the fact that it realistically could be built within the building lines and the fact there are two garages.  They also asked if the house might be too big for the lot?  Patrick Butler stated that this is a unique lot.

 

A call for proponents and opponents was made, to which there were 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) three are, two are not (2) four will not, one will (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: Berkeley, Brody, Hauser, Newmark and Rosenstrauch.  There were no nays. 

 

The Chairperson declared that Steven Such’s petition was approved.  Darryl Brody then advised Mr. Such 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 9:20 p.m.

 

           

 

                                                            Michele McMahon

                                                            City Clerk

                                                            City of Clarkson Valley