Board of Adjustment Hearing

October 27, 2014


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


            Board of Adjustment Members present were:

                        Darryl Brody, Chairperson

                        Jack Hauser

                        Karen Koshak, Alternate

                        Phyllis Newmark, Alternate


The City Attorney, Mr. Patrick Butler attended and the City Clerk, Michele McMahon recorded the Minutes.  Board Members, Jim Barry, Tom Berkeley and Paul Mercurio were unable to attend, as was Alternate Member, Terry Rosenstrauch.


The City Attorney and Chairman explained to Charles Clampett and Donna Block they are present tonight to ask this Board to permit a variance from the Clarkson Valley Code 405.060.E.3. establishing that no structure 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, further explaining that due to unforeseen circumstances, one Member of the Board was not in attendance.  They stated it would take a unanimous decision to pass this request.  He asked the petitioners if they agreed to hold the meeting with a lack of quorum.  They responded affirmatively.  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 the property to which all stated they had. 


After the meeting was called to order and protocol established, the two petitioners, their contractor and those in the audience wishing to speak were sworn in.  Darryl Brody read the Notice of Public Hearing explaining the request for variance encompasses two projects:  one for the water feature and the other for the fence.  The request for a variance from the code at 108 Chippenham Lane to construct a water feature with a fence that will encroach 37’2” into the rear yard setback; 12’9” into the side yard setback and 25’ into the west side yard.


Mr. Clampett introduced himself and his fiancée, Donna Block.  Mr. Clampett explained they did not own the property being discussed tonight but were interested in purchasing the house if their proposal receives approval from this Board tonight.  He also sadly reported he became aware this weekend that Forest Hills Club Estates Trustees were not in favor of their proposal and realizes this would present another future impediment.  He then introduced his contractor, Chris Siewing who is a certified aquatech.  Mr. Siewing described the corner lot along with the building lines, saying the lot poses a particular hardship in carrying out the requirements of the code.  He went into detail explaining the project and then responded to statements that came from the Comment Sheets received from the three neighboring properties, by saying mosquito larva would be eaten by koi fish; the mosquito larva would be minimal to begin with because of the moving water.  There would be 100 tons of rocks terracing the landscaping.  This would replace the deteriorated existing retaining wall.  He reported the Chou’s, neighbor’s to the rear of the proposal, did not want to see the fence and the petitioners agreed to landscape both sides of the fence. 


            There were no comments or questions from the Board.  Approximately 50 homeowners on Chippenham and Crown Manor were contacted by the neighbor diagonally behind the lot being discussed, Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Claycomb, who requested they attend this meeting.  Various questions and comments from the community were broached ranging from the pond liner; to the expense of the project; the number of people in Mr. Clampett/Ms. Block’s family; geese inhabiting the area; 2-acres would be the ideal site for this proposal opposed to 1 acre; the corner lot would make it an eyesore; various animals of prey might inhabit the area; opposition to the major deviation to the code; the Lake Chesterfield Subdivision debacle with the leaking lake.  Mr. Claycomb’s attorney spoke, saying the comment by Mr. Clampett that the project would increase property value could be incorrect, citing the Chou’s predicament with their undesired pool when they purchased their house, saying it was estimated to cost $50,000 to demolish it. 


            Mr. Clampett concluded that only two properties touch upon the property they are proposing to buy.  Both have swim pools that take up the majority of the back yard.  He asked the Board Members to look upon their proposal favorably.


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: to construct a water feature with a fence that will encroach 37’2” into the rear yard setback; 12’9” into the side yard setback and 25’ into the west side yard and then asked the Members for their factual determination of the proposal for the pool, fence and trellis, to which: question (1) one are, three are not, (2) four will, (3) four will not , (4) two will, two will not, (5) two will, two will not, (6) two will, two will not.


The Chairperson then called for a vote of approval/disapproval to grant the desired variance for the water feature and fence to extend beyond the building lines with the following results:  Yeas: Hauser and Koshak.  Nays:  Brody and Newmark.  The Chairperson declared the petitioner's request for variances as not approved. 


            The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.





                                                            Michele McMahon

                                                            City Clerk

                                                            City of Clarkson Valley