MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS,

WHICH TOOK PLACE ON TUESDAY, MAY 18, 2004,

AT 6:30 P.M., IN COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL,

MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

1.   ROLL CALL.

PRESENT:  Board Members – Dunn, Green, Holthof, Lichtenwald, and Sutton

ABSENT:    Higgins (excused)

OTHERS PRESENT:   Jon Lynch, Assistant City Manager and five people in the audience

APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

It was moved to approve the minutes of the April 20, 2004 meeting, the motion was unanimously approved with the following corrections:  page 2 #2 total of 372 sf, spelling would; page 3 second paragraph pole instead of sign; #11 spelling fluorescent; The program is “self” created; page 4 #9 spelling irregularly; add 16. Setback of 32’ existing at Wilson Court and Jefferson Avenue; page 5 spelling encroachment; Page 6 Findings #12 Petitioners…  Third paragraph Sally Sutton…A wrap around porch is an alternative option.

2.   PUBLIC HEARINGS AND CONSIDERATION.

 

No. 04-07 – Randy and Terri Applegate, for an area/dimension variance to permit a second story addition at 109 Ripley Street.

Jon Lynch pointed out the location on the location map in a RA-1 Zoning District.  A series of single family residential occupied dwellings encompasses the entire block in our subject area.  To the south we have a mixture of uses that encompass things like office buildings and parking.  The subject location is located within the West Main Street Historic District.  The subject lot is generally 60 feet wide and 60 feet deep.

The existing structure is classified as a nonconforming structure by virtue of existing setback dimensions.  The proposal encompasses the demolition of a single story portion of the home.  There is a portion of the structure with a flat roof that they wish to replace.  The proposed two story addition would extend to within 10 feet of the rear property line.

Essentially there are two variances from the Zoning Ordinance that the Zoning Board of Appeals will be discussing.  The first has to do with Section 24.1A of the Zoning Ordinance, this section requires a minimum side yard setback of 8 feet on one side and 12 feet on the other side of a residential dwelling located in a single family residential zoning district.  There is a second provision of the Zoning Ordinance and that is Section 32.1A which has to deal with nonconforming structures. 

A number of comments have been received regarding this petition.  We did receive one telephone call in the office yesterday in opposition to the petition.  The caller indicated that she felt the density of the proposed dwelling was not appropriate for the lot or the neighborhood.  We also received comments of support from property owners at 516 West Main Street, 608 West Main Street, and 115 Ripley Street. 

Terri Applegate, the petitioner, spoke to the board addressing Sally Sutton’s questions.  The fence in the back of her yard belongs to the property behind her.  They have lived there for four years.  They had the idea of renovating when purchasing, since they were in the historic district and they wanted to bring it back to historic standards.  They currently enter the side of the garage and go up to the upper level.  They want to move the garage over three feet to enter from the garage.  They can park in the garage but they can’t get out of the vehicles.  The flat roof additions were built in 1939 and all the roofs and additions leak. 

Hank Holthof asked how far back is the house being cut back?  Are the stairs going to be totally remodeled?  The foundation is staying intact.  They are demolishing the roof and the steps will stay.

The petitioner stated that it is a full basement with cement floors and an exposed beamed ceiling.  They would like to maintain the footprint but it is not functional.  To get a full bath an extra room is necessary.  Their alternative would be to move.

Randy Applegate, the petitioner, stated they tried to put the van in the garage a couple of times and it was too difficult, the doors hit the side and you can’t get out.  They did pursue alternatives.  They are adding an entrance to the garage here that will eliminate that problem.  Also, they are adding a new entrance door to provide elderly access. 

A letter from a home on 115 Ripley is the neighbor abutting on the side they are asking for a variance.  He would have the most impact.  The letter of opposition didn’t want the second floor, nor the moving over of the garage. 

The petitioner displayed a picture of the house in 1910 showing the electrical lines.  The picture shows the original porch.  The house was seperated and the addition will make it historically correct and bring it back to its original status.

Sally Sutton asked if the porch would be in alignment with the neighboorhood porchs and the setback from the sidewalk be comparable. 

The petitioner stated that the new porch will be covering more area sideways but not toward the sidewalk.  With an addition in the historic district you want it to match but you want to make a slight change in the roof line so someone can see the new addition and the original. 

The petitioners came to the Zoning Board of Appeals first before going to the Historic District Commission for approval on the new porch.  They are on the calendar to meet with the HDC on the porch. 

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

Findings of Fact:

 

1.      Property is zoned Residential A-1 with the lot equaling 25% of a normal RA-1 lot, 60’ x 60’.

2.      Three letters in support from property owners in the area in the historic district and one phone call against the proposed addition.

3.      Proposed setback on the east side of the property is proposed to be 3’6”.

4.      Existing 5’ setback is on the west side of the structure.

5.      Petitioner stated that they are unable to park a car in the existing garage and exit the vehicle.

6.      One of the reasons for structure demolition stated was insect infestation.

7.      House is within the West Main Street Historic District.

8.      10’ setback in the rear with the remodeling.

9.      Petitioners have lived in the house 4 years.

10. Original part of the house was constructed in 1865.

11. The additions, which will be the demolished, were built in 1939.

12. The house is currently nonconforming because of setback requirements.

13. A full basement exists under the original structure and part of the addition area.

14. A covered front porch existed on the original house when it existed on Main Street where the Centennial Park is now.

15. The house has never had a rear entrance.

16. Original house was split into two houses and existed as a two story home.

17. A picture of the original structure was shown by the petitioners and the picture was taken in 1910.

18. The roof portion of the addition is in need of total replacement.

 

A motion was made by Sally Sutton and seconded by Roy Green to approve petition no. 04-07 for an area dimension variance to expand a nonconforming structure based on the findings of fact. 

 

In the board’s deliberation, Hank Holthof stated the first criteria is the burden of the size of the lot.  It has a lot of constraints with the West Main Historic District and the maintenance of the base structure.  The second criteria, it would do justice to the neighbors and the property owners, in bringing the home back into a more historic view and get rid of bugs and the poor condition of attached structures.  The house is in the historic district making it unique.  The lot size is 25% of the normal lot size.  The problem is not self created.  It was established long before the current RA-1 regulations ever existed.  Petitioners have normal room sizes and can’t infringe on the original structure.  All four criteria are met.

 

Sally Sutton agrees with Hank on all of them.  She would like to add that the house originally did not exist on that lot.  It is unique because it was moved there. It will help the neighborhood and owners for functionality as well as aesthetics and preservation of the historic district.  She supports with all four criteria being met.

 

Roy Green stated that the plan will add to the quality of the housing in the area and the petitioner’s house in particular.  This is a large house on a small lot and the plans are positive in changing that.  He supports this entirely.

 

Tim Lichtenwald agrees that all four criteria have been met and agree with the comments made previous to his comment.

 

Joe Dunn stated that the lot size is small especially the depth.  Unique due to original portion on a small lot and to make it more functional becomes restrictive to meet the current setbacks.  Renovation will do justice for the petitioner plus the neighborhood.  He supports this.

 

Hank Holthof stated that there is no way to put a detached garage on this property.  They just want a single car garage. 

 

Vote on the motion:

Yea:  Dunn, Green, Holthof, Lichtenwald, and Sutton

Nay:  None

The variance was approved.

 

                                   

  3.  Public comments before the Zoning Board of Appeals.

   None 

  4.  Old/New Business.

A joint meeting of City Council and Planning Commission has been scheduled for May 20, 2004 at 6:00 p.m. and they are all invited. 

Officer elections will take place in June, place on the agenda.

 

5.  ADJOURN.                                  

        The meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Jon Lynch, AICP,

Assistant City Manager