PRESENT:  Board Members – Green. Higgins, Lichtenwald, Pelton and Sutton

ABSENT:    Holthof (unexcused)

OTHERS PRESENT:   Mark Ostgarden, secretary and three people in the audience


The minutes of December 17, 2002, were approved subject to the following correction:

In Old/New Business, the last sentence in the third paragraph should have the word “granted” changed to “heard”.


Petition No. 03-01 – Matthew and Kathy Morley for a variance to permit a garage addition to encroach into a required side yard at 1511 West St. Andrews Road.


The secretary explained that the subject property is zoned RA-1 and located in a developed residential area.  The lot is 100’ wide and 140’ deep.  The RA-1 zone requires an 80’ minimum lot width. The petitioners desire to add onto the house and construct a new garage that will encroach 4’ into the required side yard setback.  One letter of support was included in the packet and one additional letter of support was received at and entered into the record at the meeting.


The Morley’s explained to the Board that they had discussed several alternatives with the architect for the project.  The proposed addition was the most practical alternative for the house built in 1935.  They have already removed a considerable amount of landscaping which hid the house.  They are trying to save trees on the back part of the lot.  There is unique brick on the house, which will be reused on the addition.  The variance will allow only a 21’ wide garage, the minimum the Morley’s thought was needed to park two vehicles side by side.  Setting the garage elsewhere on the lot will take up too much rear yard and destroy a childrens play area.  The side load nature of the existing garage makes it difficult to maneuver a vehicle into and the garage door openings are too small for today’s vehicles.  The proposal keeps the original beauty of the home but meets today’s standards.  There is also a very small kitchen and the variance will allow an expansion of that area.


Sally Sutton observed in looking around the neighborhood that there was a mixture of one and two car garages.  She was concerned about the encroachment and thought an attached garage could be constructed at an angle or a detached two car garage in the rear yard and not encroach onto the side yard.  The Morley’s were concerned about taking up too much rear yard. 


No one else spoke in support of or in opposition to the request.



1.      The property is zoned Residential A-1.

2.      The lot size 100’ (wide) and 140’ (deep).

3.      The house was built in 1935 and has had three owners.

4.      There were two letters in support of the request.

5.      The garage is a double car side entry with a center post.

6.      There is a mixture of garage styles in the neighborhood (one and two car).

7.      The request is a 50% encroachment (into the side yard).

8.      The adjacent structure is more than 8’ from the side property line.

9.      The house occupies 84’ of the 100’ width and 62’ of the 140’ depth.

10. The proposed garage will have tandem parking.


It was moved by Jack Higgins, seconded by Sally Sutton to approve the request based on the Findings of Fact.


Jack Higgins began the deliberation explaining that he thought the property is sufficiently wide and that alternatives were available.


Sally Sutton did not think any of the criteria were being met.  She did not think conformity would be burdensome.  The property is not unique and the problem is self created.


Tim Lichtenwald thought another solution could meet the needs of the petitioners.  The approval would do justice and the property is unique due to the placement of the house in the middle of the lot.  However, he thought the problem is self-created.


Roy Green also thought there were options and that the mixture of garage types in the neighborhood was an important factor.


Woody Pelton thought there were alternatives and the lot is quite ordinary.


  Vote on the motion:

  YEAS:  None

  NAYS:  Green, Higgins, Lichtenwald, Pelton, Sutton


  The variance was denied.

   4.  Public comments before the Zoning Board of Appeals.

 The Morley’s addressed the Board stating they thought aesthetics should be made part of the Board’s decisions.

  5.  Old/New Business.

The secretary reported on the Zoning Ordinance update process.  A review of anticipated key dates in the process was provided.

A Spring Planning Commission workshop is being scheduled.  The date being looked at is April 26th and the ZBA is invited.  The agenda will be primarily a review of the importation changes to the Zoning Ordinance

Sally Sutton and Woody Pelton have terms expiring.  Both indicated they would be interested in reappointment.  The secretary will inform the Manager’s Office and an application will be sent out.

Upcoming Michigan Society of Planning training workshops were discussed.  Any Board members interested in attending were advised to contact the Planning Department.

The annual Michigan Society of Planning statewide conference is scheduled for October 15-18 in Traverse City.  Any Board members interested in attending were advised to contact the Planning Department.

Jack Higgins will not be at the March meeting.


6.  ADJOURN.                                  

The meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Mark Ostgarden, AICP, CFM