Zoning Board of Appeals - 2/24/09 - HoMitaKoda


The Newbury Township Board of Zoning Appeals public hearing was called to order by Ray Fidel Chairman, at 7:30 p.m. on February 24, 2009 with Mary Lee Brezina, Tezeon Wong, Glen Quigley and Ken Blair (sitting for Dean Eppley) present.  Ms. Endres presented photos of the site for board review.

All who wished to speak at this hearing were duly sworn and asked when testifying to state their name and confirm being sworn in.  Mr. Fidel read the applicant's request.

Helen Dumski, CEO of the Diabetic Assoc., requests dual area variances for Camp Ho Mita Koda: 1) additional 61 space parking lot 14 ft. from Auburn Rd. (vs. Art V, Sec. 5.02A2 req’d 60 ft. from road Right-Of-Way and 10 ft. from the side lot line) and 2) to restore 2 tennis courts (unused since 2004) 54 ft. from road R-O-W.  The camp located at 14040 Auburn Rd. is a non-conforming use in the R-1 residential district: Art.V, Sec. 5.05 requires 100 ft. from road R-O-W for all buildings, structures and uses, tennis courts are not permitted in Sec. 5.06, any expansion requires relief from Art. XIV, Sec. 14.04 A,B,C,D,E,F uses and 14.05 structures.

Mr. Fidel asked the applicants to state their case.  Ms. Dumski said Ward Dumm would present their position on the projector aerial view.  Mr. Fidel asked that they focus on variance #2: the tennis courts unused since 2004.  Mr. Dumm pointed out the location of the courts, used the photos to show the fences (13 ft. high, treated posts and wire mesh) on north and south sides and illustrate the proposed fence enclosure on the east side to prevent tennis balls and children from straying too close to Auburn Rd.

Mr. & Mrs. Schuette, neighbors to the north, asked whether the courts would be lighted for nighttime play.  Mr. Dumm said no, the courts were for children’s daytime use only.
He confirmed that there would be no additional landscaping east of the courts - the existing shrubs and trees would remain as is.  Mr. Quigley suggested adding conditions to the variance for protection on these items.

Mr. Fidel asked the board for additional comments or questions.  There being no more questions, Mr. Fidel called for a motion to grant the Variance Request for the tennis courts stating that a yes vote would grant the variance.

Glen Quigley moved to grant the variance as requested with the addition of 3 conditions; 1) maintain the natural woodland setting/screening between the courts and the road and
2) erect new 13 high wire fence on east side to enclose/maintain north & south fences,
3) agree that new lighting or any major changes would require a new variance hearing.  Mr. Wong seconded the motion

Mr. Fidel asked whether Ms. Dumski would accept these conditions: she said she would.  He called for a roll call vote.


    Glen Quigley                yes
    Ken Blair                yes
    Tezeon Wong                yes
Mary Lee Brezina            yes
Ray Fidel                yes

Mr. Fidel then addressed the variance request for the parking lots.  Mr. Dumm pointed out the proposed location for the additional 61 space gravel parking lot for use by campers and staff. This area was relatively flat and well drained (approved by Geauga Soil & Water).

Mr. Fidel described the difficulty of exiting to Auburn Rd. from the driveway south of the parking lots and declared this a major safety concern as there are hills both north and south limiting sight distances.  Mr. Petrovich, neighbor on the east side of Auburn Rd, confirmed this dangerous situation due to poor sight visability and the 55mph speed limit.  Ann Harmody (sworn in at this time) suggested using a safer driveway off of Pekin Rd.

Discussion continued regarding the need and maximum use for 61 new spaces, alternate possible parking areas not impinging on the 60 ft. desired setback, the topography showing severe dropoffs west of the existing driveway, location of the septic system at the rear of the main building and separating the new parking spaces in other suitable locations.  Mr. Dumm said he understood these concerns and the camp representatives were willing to explore options suggested by the board to comply with the 60 ft. setback.

Mr. Fidel explained that the board could move for a continuance of this hearing (at no additional cost to the applicant) to allow time to develop another parking lot plan; Ms. Dumski agreed but asked for a time table.  March 31, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. was decided by mutual agreement.

Mr. Fidel asked the board for additional comments or questions.  There being no more questions, Mr. Fidel called for a motion to grant a continuance stating that a yes vote would grant the continuance.

Mr. Quigley moved to grant the continuance to March 31, 2009 at 7:30 p.m., Ken Blair seconded the motion that passed by unanimous vote.

Mr. Fidel informed the applicant his variance request (with conditions) for the tennis courts was 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 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 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.

The board members wished the applicants good luck with the project.


Mr. Fidel adjourned the BZA hearing at 8:25 p.m.

Based on the following FINDING OF FACTS, the Board has voted to grant the reuse of 2 tennis courts 54 ft. from Auburn Rd, R-O-W, with 3 conditions: 1) maintain the natural woodland setting/screening between the courts and the road and 2) erect new 13 high wire fence on east side to enclose/maintain north & south fences, 3) agree that new lighting or any major changes would require a new variance hearing.  

1) The parcel could yield a reasonable return but the tennis courts are a reuse of the original structures without further setback encroachments.

2) The 51% variance is substantial but reasonable.

3)   The essential character of the neighborhood would not be altered and the adjoining property owners would suffer no substantial detriment but benefit from the safety fence enclosure as a result of this variance.

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

5) The owner purchased the property prior to zoning regulations.

6) The property owner’s predicament could not be obviated through some method other than a variance for this legal non-conforming structure and use.

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: neighbors in attendance expressed their concerns but were willing to cooperate to resolve the issues.

Discussion continued regarding future BZA hearings.

Marge Hrabak, Secretary



Signatures of the Newbury Board of Zoning Appeals:




_________________________    ____________________________
Ray Fidel, Chairman    Tezeon Wong


_________________________    ____________________________
Glen Quigley


____________________________    ____________________________
Mary Lee Brezina, V. Chairman    Ken Blair (sitting for Dean Eppley


Attest:__________________    ____________________
Marge Hrabak  Sec’y BZA    Date: