BZA April 5, 2011 Habitat

The Newbury Township Board of Zoning Appeals public hearing was called to order by Mr. Ray Fidel, Chairman, at 8:00 p.m. on April 5, 2011 with Board members, Mary Lee Brezina, Bill Skomrock,Sr., Tezeon Wong and Glen Quigley present.

All in attendance for this hearing were duly sworn and asked when testifying to state their name and confirm being sworn in. Ray Fidel read the applicants request:
Will McCullam, agent for Geauga County Habitat for Humanity, requests site plan approval for new construction of an addition to an existing non-conforming building at 12180 Kinsman Rd. in the B-1 Commercial district. The proposed 6000 sq. ft. addition to the existing 12,812 sq. ft. building would be 584 ft from the rear lot line and 120’6” from the R1 residential district line (R1-rdl) that bisects the lot 500 ft. from the centerline of Kinsman Rd. The applicant requests a zero foot setback for expansions south of the R1-rdl and expanded 55 parking spaces, less than 10’x20’each, less than 25 ft. from the east side lot line and 75 ft. from the Kinsman Rd. R-o-W with two-way driveway portions less than 30 ft. wide; (vs. Art. VI, Sec. 6.07 A&E req’d 150 ft. front (with no storage, parking or display in the 1st 75 ft.) & Sec. 6.07F req’d 25 ft. side setbacks & Art. XI, Sec. 11.01 req’d 92 spaces & Sec. 11.03 req’d 10’ x 20’ size & Sec. 11.07A req’d 30 ft. wide drives). Extension of non-conforming uses and structures requires relief from Art. XIV, Sec. 14.04 A,B,C,D,E&F. Sec. 6.02H requires construction of a fire pond & dry hydrant for buildings over 12,000 sq.ft. & Sec. 6.13 requires landscaped yards 150 ft or less from R-1 to be BZA approved for a permitted variance.
Mr. Fidel asked the applicant to state his case. Mr. Al Zack said he would represent Geauga County Habitat for Humanity. He began with a brief history: Habitat had leased a portion of the the property (to 2012) to establish a retail re-store facility that has been very successful requiring an expansion of the existing buildings with the anticipated property purchase after the lease expires. Habitat needs to know if all of the 500 feet commercial B-1 zone can be used without a setback from the R1 residential district line (R1-rdl) that bisects the lot.
Mr. Quigley asked to hear the entire presentation prior to addressing each individual variance item. Mr. Fidel asked where the septic system was located. Mr. Zack replied they were unaware that the system was directly behind the existing building until advised by the health department inspector – 80 feet behind and 6 feet from the side lot line. He said their building plans were flexible as to exact placement on the lot.
Ms. Endres explained that the 50% lot coverage required in B-1 could all be in the R-1 zone north of the R1-rdl. Mr. Fidel asked if Habitat could use the entire building, now leased by the Tree Company, after 2012? Mr. Zack said that space would still not be enough to accommodate all the materials now stored in Teague’s barn – building expansion is still needed. Mr. Zack said Habitat intends to purchase the property if they can build to the R1-rdl that is in the bottom land.
Ms. Kimbrew said the site plans were drawn before the location of the septic system was known. Discussion continued regarding other possible locations for the building addition including across the rear of the existing structure.
Mr. Quigley asked about a fire pond – if the soils support one. It was noted that no other B-1 businesses in the area have fire ponds as the soils are sand and gravel based. Mr. Quigley said he could not grant a “carte blanc” variance without a defined site plan.
Mr. Skomrock asked whether there was a firewall in the existing building – Mr. Zack replied Habitat had installed a firewall at their spring 2010 move-in.
Discussion then turned to parking: the front and side gravel lot, good for drainage, later (expensive) paving, number of spaces required as a furniture store, adequate parking for present customers, etc. The building was built in 1984 with adequate parking; Habitat uses 6000 sq. ft. now.
Mr. Yeacker offered a brief history of the Zoning Commission’s attempts to solve the split zoning issues and make each lot one zoning district. Time and money still restricts any full-township resolution of the split lots.
Mr. Fidel recognized comments from the audience. Mr. Chepes, neighbor to the north, said he was concerned that the present green space not be paved over for parking.
Mr. Wong said he thought the property owner should be able to utilize all the 500 ft. B-1 area. Discussion continued regarding the 150 ft. setback requirement from the R1-rdl vs. 150 ft. setback from the north property line.
Ms. Brezina asked whether the planned addition would be adequate given all the material now stored in Teague’s barn. Mr. Zack said the addition would meet their 5 year needs, that extras would continue to be stored in Teague’s barn. Habitat finds this property ideal as it is centrally located in Geauga County. Mr. Skomrock Sr. said he favors a 25 ft. side setback for any building addition and parking. Mr. Zack said Habitrat needs options for future uses consistent with normal B-1 setbacks.
Mr. Fidel proposed granting a 50 ft. setback south from the R1-rdl; Mr. Zack said he could accept that. Ms. Endres said Mr. Zimperman, the fire chief, would like a fire pond if feasible. Mr. Skomrock proposed a 25 ft. side setback.
Mr. Zack revised, and signed, the original site plan to reposition the 60 ft. x 110 ft. building addition adjacent to and north of the rear of the existing building.
Mr. Fidel asked the board for additional comments or questions. There being no more questions, Mr. Fidel called for a motion stating that a yes vote would grant the variance.
Tezeon Wong moved to grant a variance for the revised site plan for a 6100 sq. ft. building addition with a 25 ft. westside setback and with no commercial encroachment 50 ft. south of the R1-residential district line - with the following four conditions:
1) allow parking for 55 spaces no further east that the existing parking lot,
2) fire pond to be built contingent on Soil & Water feasibility,
3) this variance is contingent on GC Habitat for Humanities’ purchase of parcel 23-071350
4) as a buffer, preserve 150 ft. from the north property line in the natural vegetation state.
Mary Lee Brezina seconded the motion.

A roll-call vote was as follows:
Mary Lee Brezina yes
Tezeon Wong yes
Bill Skomrock, Sr. yes
Ray Fidel yes
Glen Quigley no

Mr. Fidel read to the Appellant and audience, “Within 30 days after service of the minutes granting your request, if someone wishes to challenge this decision through the court, he or she may. The challenge could reverse or negate our decision. Mr. Fidel informed the Appellant and the audience that the 30-day period commences with the Appellants’ signing receipt of the signed minutes. They will be mailed registered return receipt to the Appellant. All persons receiving notice of the hearing will receive copies of the minutes. At the time you receive your permit you must also comply with all other requirements of Newbury Township zoning”.
Mr. Fidel adjourned the BZA hearing at 9:45 p.m.
As the applicants left, Board members wished them good luck.
Board members resumed their meeting to establish the conclusions of fact:
Based on the following FINDING OF FACTS for the variance requested:

1) The parcel could yield a reasonable return without the variance but the applicant would not purchase the property without the ability for expansion.
2) The 25 ft. side setback is not substantial, or is the 50 ft. R1-rdl setback considering the remaining R1 areas can represent lot coverage.
3) The essential character of the neighborhood would not be substantially altered and the adjoining property owners would suffer no detriment as a result of this variance.
4) The variance has no effect on delivery of governmental services.
5) The property lessee was unaware of the zoning restrictions – property not yet purchased.
6) The property owner’s predicament could not be obviated through some method other than the variances.
7) The spirit and intent behind the zoning requirement would be observed and substantial justice done by granting the variances. Such other criteria, which the Board believes relates to determining whether the zoning regulation is equitable; objections by the adjacent property owner in attendance were addressed.