BZA Toohig November 1, 2011

The Newbury Township Board of Zoning Appeals public hearing was called to order by Mr. Ray Fidel, Chairman, at 7:30 p.m. on November 1, 2011 with Board members, Mary Lee Brezina, Bill Skomrock,Sr. and Glen Quigley present. Photos were distributed to the board.

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:

Liese Toohig requests area variances to remodel an existing non-conforming structure: 1) that does not meet setback requirements (with 3 parcels owned by the applicant) (vs. Art. V, Sec. 5.05 req’d 16 ft. side & 40 ft. front setbacks) at 14305 View Dr. in the Kiwanis Lake Subdivision, 2) the structure is worth less ($16,100) than 40% of its replacement value ($107,050) and needs relief from Art. XIV, Sec. 14.03 and 3) to build an attached garage that straddles parcels 23-039750, 23-039751 & 23-039752 with a circular drive that does not meet the 10 ft. side and rear setbacks (vs. Art. XI, Sec. 11.07C). Documentation for approved septic system is required per Art. XVIII, Sec. 18.01M.

Mr. Fidel asked Liese Toohig to state her case.

Liese gave a brief history: said she bought this long-neglected property, started working on it, does not intend to increase the house size but wants to add an attached garage. There was never a garage on the property but one is needed. The roof was redone to add a second story outdoor porch. Excavating/leveling and ditching (for piping) to correct the uphill drainage has been delayed by the frequent rains

Ms Endres said the septic system would require inspection/approval by the Health Dept. as the property has not been lived in for over 6 months. Liese said the system seems to be working when she stays in the rear section of the house as she detects no smell.

Mr. Skomrock asked Liese if she was familiar with the need to tie the lots together for any future sale by means of the Affidavit of Fact (AFF). Liese said she was willing to file the appropriate AFF. She said all her remodeled houses are improvements and this one will also be attractive with a fence – she said she plans to live there when completed. Mr. Skomrock concurred that the remodel would be an improvement to the neighborhood.

Ms. Endres explained that the current and remodeled values were supplied by the auditor’s office but may not reflect market value of the completed project. Liese said she thought the auditor’s value was higher than would sell in Kiwanis Lake.

Discussion continued regarding the usual method of attaching the AFF as a condition to the variance vs. amending the application. Ms. Hrabak told Liese she could have the AFF notarized and recorded at the County Recorder’s office for a fee of $28.00. Ms. Hrabak will complete the AFF with an instruction cover letter mailed to Ms.Toohig.

Mr. Fidel asked the board for their comments. All said the remodeled house fits into the character of the neighborhood and they had no objections to this request.

Mr. Fidel asked the audience for comments. Mr. Spencer said his concern was that the house remain a single family and not end up as a duplex or with multiple families living there as has happened before in Kiwanis Lake. He reiterated the need for a proper working septic system mandated by the Health Dept. plus erosion controls and “doing things right”.

Liese said she likes Kiwanis Lake although it has had a bad reputation, the people are nice and she’s never had a problem there. Mr. Fidel acknowledged that the septic system is the county responsibility, not part of the BZA jurisdiction. Discussion continued regarding the various septic system requirements, how often the approved systems change and how often they don’t work leaving the home owner with money spent without the required results.

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 area variance as requested.
Glen Quigley moved to grant Ms. Toohig’s variances as requested for the setbacks, valuation and attached garage addition with the condition that an Affidavit of Fact ties the 3 parcels 23-039750, 23-039751 & 23-039752 together for any future sale; Mr. Skomrock, Sr. seconded the motion.

Mary Lee Brezina yes
Glen Quigley yes
Bill Skomrock, Sr. yes
Ray Fidel yes

Mr. Fidel informed the applicant her area variances were granted.

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 7:50 p.m. As the applicant left, Board members wished her good luck. Mr. Skomrock, Sr. added that these improvements are pulling the Lake communities “up by their boot-straps”.
Board members resumed their meeting by establishing the conclusions of fact:

Based on the following FINDING OF FACTS for the area variance:

1) The parcel could yield a reasonable return without the area variance but the garage will add usefulness and value to the property.
2) The rebuilding (value) variance is substantial but unavoidable, the area variance is minimal given the small 3 lot parcels.
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 area variance has no effect on delivery of governmental services.
5) The owner purchased the property with no specific knowledge of these zoning restrictions.
6) The property owner’s predicament could not be obviated through some method other than the required area variances.
7) The spirit and intent behind the zoning requirement would be observed and substantial justice done by granting the variance. Such other criteria, which the Board believes relates to determining whether the zoning regulation is equitable; this remodel is a vast improvement and the garage is a useful addition; the concerns of the adjacent property owner in attendance were addressed.

Ms. Endres informed the board of the violation topics covered in the October Zoning Report: she is being sued by Louis Soplata because she refused to issue a permit for a > 400 sq.ft. shack that was uninhabitable as it never had plumbing, heating or wiring. Mr. Soplata went ahead anyway, adding new windows, doors, siding, etc. Discussion continued regarding resolution via court action with Abe Cantor representing her and the township. She has requested guidance from the prosecutor’s opinion.

The board adjourned at 8:00 p.m.
Marge Hrabak
Secretary