BZA Ho Mita Koda Camp August 28, 2012

The Newbury Township Board of Zoning Appeals public hearing was called to order by Ms.Mary Lee Brezina, Vice Chairman, at 7:30 p.m. on August 28, 2012 with Board members, Bill Skomrock, Sr.,  and alternates Ken Blair and Lou Tomsic Jr. present.  Ms. Endres presented photos for board review. All in attendance who wished to speak at this hearing were duly sworn and asked when testifying to state their name and confirm being sworn in. s. Brezina read the area variance request:


Tina Milano, agent for Diabetes Partnership of Cleveland, requests an area variance for a 960 sq. ft. memorial tree house at Camp Ho Mita Koda located at 14040 Auburn Rd. in the R-1 district (vs, Art. XIV, Sec. 14.04 B,C,D & F extension of non-conforming uses). 


Ms. Milano asked board member Ward Dumm to present the variance request.  Mr. Dumm pointed out the present location of the camp buildings on the screen and indicated the fire ring that would be the site of the memorial tree house structure, left of the boy’s cabin with walkway access to adjacent buildings.  The proposed site is remote, at least 1000 feet from any camp boundary, so there are no setback issues.  The building would be a pole barn construction with the elevated second floor a look-out to the south and west camp views.  There will be a lift installed for handicap accessibility.


Ms. Brezina asked about the building use: as a look-out for campers’ observation activity center that could also be used for sleep-overs.  There will be swings under the second floor for use in rainy weather.


Ms. Brezina asked the board for questions or comments.  Mr. Skomrock Sr. asked about the building utilities:  Electricity would be buried cable but there would be no water or heat as the shower/bathrooms are very close by.  Vehicles are not permitted on the walkway while camp is in session but the walkway, about 200 feet from the gravel road, can be used for emergency access per fire regulations.  Mr. Dumm said they have a golf cart to access the walkway and other remote areas.  He said he will contact the Newbury Fire Dept. (Doug Zimperman or Ken Fagan) for adequate rescue squad access to the tree house.


Mr. Tomsic asked about Building Permits – Mr. Dumm confirmed permits have been obtained.


Ms. Brezina opened the discussions to the audience.  Mr. Ronald Schuette, a neighbor on Auburn Rd.,  noticed lights were on and questioned night-time lighting. Mr. Dumm replied there would not be any flood lights at the tree house site.  There is a care-taker on site during the winter months when the camp is closed down. 


Mrs. Merlyn Schuette questioned how a fire would be controlled specifically during such a dry year as this.  Mr. Skomrock Sr. assured all that the Fire Dept. is well equipped to handle off-road sites.  Mr. Dumm said the camp staff cleans up leaves and debris in the spring and fall plus adequate pumper water is available from their lake and pool.


Ms. Brezina asked the board for additional comments or questions. 



There being no more questions, she called for a motion stating that a yes vote would grant the area variance as requested.


Ken Blair moved to approve the Area Variance as requested; Bill Skomrock, Sr. seconded the motion that passed by unanimous vote. 


            Ken Blair                                                         yes

Bill Skomrock, Sr.                                           yes

Lou Tomsic, Jr.                                               yes

Mary Lee Brezina                                           yes


Ms. Brezina 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. Ms. Brezina 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”.


Ms. Brezina adjourned the BZA hearing at 7:50 p.m.  As the applicants left, Board members wished them good luck. 


The board established the Findings of Fact:

1)      The lot could yield a reasonable return without the variance however the owner needs this variance to enrich the camper experience

2)      The variance is not substantial to add a building to the middle of existing camp facilities.

3)      The essential character of the neighborhood would not be altered nor would adjoining properties suffer substantial detriment as a result of this variance.

4)      The variance would not adversely affect the delivery of government services.

5)      The lot owner purchased the property before zoning restrictions existed.

6)      The owner’s predicament could not feasibly be obviated without this variance.

7)      The spirit and intent behind the zoning requirement would be observed as the variance merely adds a memorial tree house to an existing permitted/non-conforming camp. There were no neighbors in attendance to object to this variance.

Ms. Brezina adjourned the meeting at 7:55.


Marge Hrabak Secretary                    




Signatures of the Newbury Board of Zoning Appeals:



_________________________                                              ____________________________

Mary Lee Brezina, V. Chairman                                             Bill Skomrock, Sr.


_________________________                                              _________________________

Ken Blair, Alt.                                                                        Lou Tomsic, Jr. Alt.


_________________________                                              __________________________

                                                                                                Marge Hrabak, Sec’y  BZA

                                                                                                Date: ____________________