Board of Adjustment Hearing
November 18, 2015
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, Chairman
Tom Berkeley (arrived late)
Phyllis Newmark, Alternate
The City Attorney, Mr. Patrick Butler, and Building commissioner, Jack Schenck attended and the City Clerk, Michele McMahon recorded the Minutes. Board Members Paul Mercurio, and Alternate Members Karen Koshak and Terry Rosenstrauch were unable to attend.
Patrick Butler and Mr. Brody explained to the petitioners that a quorum was not available for this evenings' meeting and alternatives were discussed. It was determined they would move forward with the four voting Members present knowing each of the two petitions would require a unanimous affirmative vote to receive a variance.
The City Attorney and Chairman explained to the 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 (or structure) shall intrude upon the area required for front, side and rear yards by proving practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships in carrying out of the provisions of the code due to topographic or other conditions.
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 properties to which all stated they had. After the meeting was called to order and protocol established, the Buer's and two contractors were sworn in. Darryl Brody read the Notice of Public Hearing for both agenda items.
1. To consider the request of:
Damon & Jackie Remy
388 Herworth Court
to allow retaining walls to encroach 19' into the 75' side yard setback.
2. To consider the request of:
Richard & Lisa Buer
277 Herworth Drive
to complete construction of a 3' tall, 86.5' long decorative boulder retaining wall to encroach 72.4' into the front yard on the west side, 63.25' in the middle and 69.7' into the front yard on the right side; and a side yard decorative stone wall, 25' long to encroach approximately 11.75' into the side yard and 14.5' into the front yard.
Cory Sweetin with Stone & Vine introduced himself stating the Remy's were unable to attend. He said he was contracted by the Remy's to save their pool from sliding down the hill, explaining the scenario gets worse day-by-day.
Tom Berkeley arrived and the Chairman asked the petitioners if they had objections to him serving as a Member of the Board of Adjustment, to which they responded they did not. The meeting proceeded.
Mr. Sweetin described the lowest wall as leaning forward with block separation and further stated the wall is failing. Above that wall is a rotting tie wall. He explained that the higher wall was placed several years ago to help hold back the earth that the rotting tie wall was no longer doing. He reported that Mrs. Remy spoke with three independent engineers and they all concluded the rotting tie wall should not be demolished.
When it was determined the contractor measured the area from the street and not from a known property marker, he was asked to come back with an exact site plan and an engineer's report. Mr. Sweetin withdrew his request at 8:10 and will come back at a later date.
Darryl Brody read the second agenda item and gave the floor to the petitionerís contractor, Tony Frisella. Mr. Frisella introduced himself saying he is the owner of Frisella Nursery and is the lead designer for this proposal. He apologized to the Board for starting the project without a permit, explaining how he thought this property was in the City of Chesterfield and he knew Chesterfield's rules and regulations for constructing retaining walls. However, upon finding out the project was in our City, he applied for the permit only to find he required Board of Adjustment approval. He said he stopped working on the project as soon as he discovered his mistake.
The landscaper discussed the steepness of the front yard, driveway, and hill. He said he wants to landscape the front yard to retain the hill. He described the hill slope as 1 to 3, stating one of his subcontractors could not get their truck up the driveway. He said the front lawn has a lot of erosion and a grass lawn would be the best thing for the Buer's however, it would be impossible to mow. He is recommending they level a portion to support the hill further stating they could not mulch the lawn because it would not stay. The difference in elevation is 15'.
Mrs. Buer spoke, saying she has four young children, one of whom has special needs. For her it is a safety issue, not one of aesthetics.
The Chairman called for opponents or proponents, to which there were none. The Building Commissioner had nothing to say on the matter.
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 upon agreement from all, changed the side yard request from 11.75' to 12'. He then asked the Members for their factual determination of the proposal to complete construction of a 3' tall, 86.5' long decorative boulder retaining wall to encroach 72.4' into the front yard on the west side, 63.25' in the middle and 69.7' into the front yard on the right side; and a side yard decorative stone wall, 25' long to encroach approximately 12' into the side yard and 14.5' into the front yard 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 to complete construction of a 3' tall, 86.5' long decorative boulder retaining wall to encroach 72.4' into the front yard on the west side, 63.25' in the middle and 69.7' into the front yard on the right side; and a side yard decorative stone wall, 25' long to encroach approximately 12' into the side yard and 14.5' into the front yard with the following results: Yeas: Barry, Berkeley, Brody, Hauser and Newmark. There were no Nays.
The Chairperson declared the Buer's request for variance as having been approved. Darryl Brody then advised Mr. and Mrs. Buer the variance granted by the Board is based upon what took place tonight. Any change making the variance greater than what was presented will negate the variance that was granted at this meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
City of Clarkson Valley