BZA April 6, 2010 Joseph

The Newbury Township Board of Zoning Appeals public hearing was called to order by Ray Fidel, Chairman, at 7:30 p.m. on April 6, 2010, with Mary Lee Brezina, Ken Blair, Bill Skomrock, and Chris Yaecker (sitting for Tezeon Wong) present. 


Mr. Fidel read the applicant's request.  Jeff Joseph requests an area variance to build a 24 ft. x 24 ft. addition to an existing garage beginning 20 feet from the north side lot line (vs. Art. V, Sec. 5.05 requires 30 feet) at property located at 16120 Ravenna Road.  Additional relief is required for extension of a non-conforming structure and use (vs. Art. XIV, Sec. 14.04 A&B & 14.05). 


Jeff Joseph was duly sworn in by the Chairman.  There were no others present.  Mr. Skomrock asked to correct a typing error on the back of the Application for a Zoning Certificate, in the section titled "For Official Use Only", where the address was incorrectly written as 16129 Ravenna Road.  The address was corrected to 16120. 


Mr. Joseph stated that he wishes to build a new garage because the previous owner built the existing garage with a six-foot high door, which does not accommodate his pickup truck or mini-van.  There is a small lean-to shed that is attached to the back of the existing garage, and he would like to attach a new garage next to it.  He said he is unable to build the garage farther to the south due to the location of his septic tanks and a water line and pump.  He is also unable to build it farther west due to the septic leach field.  The waterline does not go into the existing garage.  He plans to run an electrical line to the new garage. 


Mr. Fidel noted that there is a gully in the back, and asked if the residence was built prior to zoning.  Mr. Joseph stated it was built in 1900.  Mr. Yaecker asked when the existing garage was built, and Mr. Joseph said he purchased the property eight years ago, but thought it may have been built in the early 1980's.  It is only seven inches from the property line on the north side, and he owns the wood fence that is on the line.  Ms. Brezina asked if Western Reserve Pole Buildings was going to build the new garage, and Mr. Joseph confirmed it was and he hoped to begin at the beginning of May.  It will be a pole building so will not have footers.  


Asked questions by members of the board, Mr. Joseph said the septic tanks are behind the gravel drive, and the pump head is between the proposed location of the new garage and the septic tanks.  He plans to pave his driveway.  There were no neighbors present, but Mr. Joseph said the only ones affected are the one to the north and the church, and the neighbor to the north told him he had no objections since the garage will be 20 feet from the line.  The front setback is about 168 feet. 


Mr. Skomrock commented that the pump head could be located in the new garage if the new garage was located farther from the side line.  Mr. Joseph said the pump would not be of any use for watering plants if it was inside the garage.  Mr. Skomrock also noted that the topography drops 15 feet on the north side and to the west, and the drive from the road drops from above grade to 12 to 15 feet below towards the west.  With the septic tanks located farther south the proposed location is the only practical one.  He asked if any of the other buildings will be torn down, and Mr. Joseph stated they will not.  He said the lean-to at the back contains his hunting equipment. 


There were no further comments or questions from the board.  Mr. Fidel suggested separating the request:  A) to add on to a nonconforming building, and if that is granted, then B) to allow the new garage to be 20 feet from the line. 


A)  Mr. Blair moved to grant the variance to add on to an existing nonconforming building; Mr. Yaecker seconded the motion that passed by unanimous vote. 


B)  Ms. Brezina moved to grant the area variance to allow a 24 ft. x 24 ft. addition to an existing garage, to be 20 feet from the north side line; Mr. Skomrock seconded the motion that passed by unanimous vote. 


Mr. Fidel advised the applicant that his variance request was granted, and read aloud to Mr. Joseph, "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 required permit can be issued once all requirements regarding this application are satisfied, although if you plan construction it is recommended you wait the 30 days before proceeding.  The challenge could reverse or negate our decision.  At the time you receive your permit you must also comply with all other requirements of Newbury Township zoning."  Mr. Fidel advised that the 30-day period commences with the Appellant's signing receipt of the signed minutes.  They will be mailed by certified return receipt to Mr. Joseph after the board approves the minutes next week. 


Based on the following Findings of Fact, the board has voted to grant the variance request as submitted:


1)  The property will yield a reasonable return without the variance, as it has for the last 100 years, but it does have an insufficient garage. 


2)  The variance is technically substantial, being 33%, but it is not substantial when considering the topography of the lot. 


3)  The character of the neighborhood would not be altered and the adjoining property owners would not suffer a substantial detriment as a result of the variance. 


4)  The variance has no effect on the delivery of governmental services. 


5)  The property owner stated on the Notice of Appeal that he was unaware of the zoning restriction when he purchased the property. 


6)  The property owner's predicament could not be obviated through some method other than a variance due to the septic tanks, water line and pump to the south, and due to the topography of the lot.  After observation it appears to be the only feasible location to build the garage.  The garage will enhance the neighborhood since the owner will store personal items and vehicles inside rather than leaving them outside. 


There being no further business, Mr. Fidel adjourned the meeting at 7:57 p.m. 




Diana Steffen, Secretary Pro-Tem