Zoning Board of Appeals Agenda 09-12-2017

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                                               CITY OF MUSKEGON
                                            ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
                                               REGULAR MEETING


DATE OF MEETING:                           Tuesday, September 12, 2017
TIME OF MEETING:                           4:00 p.m.
PLACE OF MEETING:                          Commission Chambers, First Floor, Muskegon City Hall


                                                               AGENDA
I.        Roll Call

II.       Approval of Minutes of the Regular Meeting of March 14, 2017.

III.      PUBLIC HEARINGS

       A. Hearing; Case 2017-03: Request for a variance from Section 404 of the Zoning
          Ordinance to allow an addition to the home with a rear lot setback less than 30 feet at
          1603 Nelson St, by Nils E Bodman.

       B. Hearing; Case 2017-04: Request for a variance from Section 404 of the Zoning
          Ordinance to allow an addition to the home with a rear lot setback less than 30 feet at
          1545 Edgewater St, by Randall S Norden.

IV.       New Business

V.        Old Business

VI.       Adjourn




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                                                   Ann Marie Cummings, City Clerk
                                                           933 Terrace Street
                                                         Muskegon, MI 49440
                                                            (231) 724-6705
                                  TTY/TDD: Dial 7-1-1 and request that a representative dial 231-724-6705
                                  CITY OF MUSKEGON
                               ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
                                   REGULAR MEETING
                                       MINUTES

                                         March 14, 2017

Chairman R. Hilt called the meeting to order at 4:02 p.m. and roll was taken.

MEMBERS PRESENT:              R. Hilt, E. Fordham, S. Warmington, T. Halterman

MEMBERS ABSENT:               W. German, excused; B. Larson, excused

STAFF PRESENT:                M. Franzak, D. Renkenberger

OTHERS PRESENT:               T. Frens, 233 Irwin Ave.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES

A motion that the minutes of the regular meeting of February 14, 2017 be approved was made by
S. Warmington, supported by E. Fordham and unanimously approved.

PUBLIC HEARING

Hearing; Case 2017-02: Request for a variance from Section 2311 of the zoning ordinance to
allow construction of a garage on a lot without a principal structure in an R-1, Single-Family
Residential District at 221 Irwin Avenue, by Thomas Frens. M. Franzak presented the staff
report. The applicant owns the home at 233 Irwin and the vacant lot at 221 Irwin Avenue; the
two lots are separated by an alley. He would like to build a garage on his property, but further
development on the lot with the house is limited by the sloped terrain and a large tree in the back
yard. Mr. Frens would also like a garage larger than what would be allowed on the lot with the
house. The vacant lot across the alley at 221 Irwin is a buildable lot but has no principal
structure (house) on it. The zoning ordinance does not allow accessory structures (garages) to be
built on lots without a principal structure. Normally, the lots would be combined to make one
buildable lot. However, these lots cannot be combined because of the alley that separates them.
In order to legally combine the lots, the alley would have to be vacated and the block would have
to be replatted. That would not be practical and could potentially limit the alley use for other
homes that rely on it. The applicant is seeking a variance to construct the garage at 221 Irwin
Avenue because that is the simplest way to remedy the problem. The vacant lot at 221 Irwin
measures 61’ x 130’ and is zoned R-1, Single Family Residential; the surrounding properties
have a mix of business and residential uses. In fact, the home at 233 Irwin is actually zoned B-2,
Convenience and Comparison Business District, and the home at 211 Irwin is zoned B-1,
Limited Business District. Notification letters were sent to properties within 300 feet of the
subject property. The McLaughlin Neighborhood Association wrote a letter in support of the
request. B. Young of 1468 Terrace also expressed support for the request. Board members
were provided with a list of the applicant’s responses to the variance standards. Staff agreed that
this was the best way to construct a garage for this property. Vacating the alley would be
detrimental to the rest of the block.
E. Fordham asked what size garage would be allowed. M. Franzak stated that the garage could
not take up more than 50% of the total lot size, had to be located behind the front building line of
the house on the adjacent property, and had to meet setbacks. S. Warmington asked if the lots
could be combined, with an easement allowing the alley to go through. M. Franzak stated that
the alley was already an easement. R. Hilt observed that there were 4 or 5 garages that opened
onto that alley, and vacating it would cause a hardship for those residents. T. Frens stated that he
would use quality materials in the garage construction, and it would match the house, as he
wanted it to look cohesive.

A motion to close the public hearing was made by R. Hilt, supported by S. Warmington and
unanimously approved.

R. Hilt asked why there were so many different zoning classifications in this area. M. Franzak
stated that it was an older neighborhood from a time when small businesses were more
prominent in neighborhoods. This street had several small businesses located on it. Board
members discussed the review standards, and the following findings of fact were offered: 1)
That there are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applying to the property
in question or to the intended use of the property that do not apply generally to other properties
or class of uses in the same zoning district, 2) That such dimensional variance is necessary for
the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right possessed by other properties in
the same zoning district and in the vicinity; 3) That the authorizing of such dimensional variance
will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property and will not materially impair the
purposes of this chapter or the public interest, 4) That the alleged difficulty is caused by the
Ordinance and has not been created by any person presently having an interest in the property or
by any previous owner, 5) That the alleged difficulty is not founded solely upon the opportunity
to make the property more profitable or to reduce expense to the owner, and 6) That the
requested variance is the minimum action required to eliminate the difficulty.

A motion that the findings of fact be accepted and that the variance request to allow the
construction of a garage at 221 Irwin Avenue be approved, subject to the conditions that: a) The
garage be set back at least as far back from the road as the home at 233 Irwin Avenue, b) The
garage meets the other development standards for accessory structures in Section 2311 of the
zoning ordinance, and c) any necessary permits are obtained, was made by S. Warmington,
supported by E. Fordham and unanimously approved, with R. Hilt, E. Fordham, S. Warmington,
and T. Halterman voting aye.


OLD BUSINESS

None

OTHER

None.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:44 p.m.
                                 CITY OF MUSKEGON
                              ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
                                   STAFF REPORT
                                   September 12, 2017


Hearing; Case 2017-03: Request for a variance from Section 404 of the zoning ordinance to
allow an addition to the home with a rear lot setback less than 30 feet at 1603 Nelson St, by Nils
E Bodman.

BACKGROUND
 1. The property owner would like to build a new garage that would be attached to both the
    house and the current detached garage, which would combine all of the structures.
 2. The current detached garage sits 3’6” from the rear lot line, which meets the ordinance for
    accessory structure setbacks. However, connecting it to the house would make it part of
    the principal structure, which requires a 30-foot rear setback. The odd shape of the lot
    prevents this addition from meeting the zoning ordinance requirements for a 30-foot rear
    yard setback. It would meet the 30-foot rear setback if it were put on the northern side of
    the lot, but this is not feasible the way the lot has been developed.
 3. Please see the enclosed site plan for reference of where the garage placement is proposed.
 4. Notification letters were sent out to properties within 300 feet of this property. At the time
    of this writing, staff has not received any comments from the public.
 5. Please see the enclosed answers to the variance request questionnaire.


      1603 Nelson St – Area where the proposed new garage addition would be placed
Zoning Map




Aerial Map
VARIANCE REVIEW STANDARDS
Questions to consider when reviewing a variance request:
    a. Are there are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applying to the
       property in question or to the intended use of the property that do not apply generally to
       other properties or class of uses in the same zoning district?
    b. Is the dimensional variance necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a
       substantial property right possessed by other properties in the same zoning district and in
       the vicinity?
    c. Will the authorizing of such dimensional variance be of substantial detriment to adjacent
       properties?
    d. Is the alleged difficulty caused by the ordinance and not by any person presently having
       an interest in the property, or by any previous owner?
    e. Is the alleged difficulty founded solely upon the opportunity to make the property more
       profitable or to reduce expense to the owner?
    f. Is the requested variance the minimum action required to eliminate the difficulty?


DETERMINATION:
The following motion is offered for consideration:

I move that the variance request to allow a building addition with a 3’6” rear setback (only
applying to the portion of the property extending 30 feet north from Ohio St) at 1603 Nelson St
be (approved/denied), based on the following review standards listed below (found in Section
2502 of the Zoning Ordinance) and subject to the following conditions (if any):
    a. That there are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applying to the
        property in question or to the intended use of the property that do not apply generally to
        other properties or class of uses in the same zoning district.
    b. That such dimensional variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a
        substantial property right possessed by other properties in the same zoning district and in
        the vicinity.
    c. That the authorizing of such dimensional variance will not be of substantial detriment to
        adjacent property and will not materially impair the purposes of this chapter or the
        public interest.
    d. That the alleged difficulty is caused by the Ordinance and has not been created by any
        person presently having an interest in the property, or by any previous owner.
    e. That the alleged difficulty is not founded solely upon the opportunity to make the
        property more profitable or to reduce expense to the owner.
    f. That the requested variance is the minimum action required to eliminate the difficulty.
Hearing; Case 2017-04: Request for a variance from Section 404 of the zoning ordinance to
allow an addition to the home with a rear lot setback of 19 feet at 1545 Edgewater St, by Randall
S Norden.
BACKGROUND
 1. The property owner would like to build a two-story addition to the rear of the principal
    structure. The proposed addition would leave only a 19-foot rear setback, instead of the
    required 30-foot minimum rear setback.
 2. The current home is setback about 50 feet from the front property line, but only a 15-foot
    front setback is required. It appears that there are other options to place an addition to the
    home.
 3. Please see the enclosed site plan for reference of where the garage placement is proposed.
 4. Notification letters were sent out to properties within 300 feet of this property. At the time
    of this writing, staff has received one comment form the neighbors at 3205 Brighton Ave
    who are in favor of the request. Staff has also talked to another neighbor who is opposed to
    the request and plans on attending the meeting.
 5. Please see the enclosed answers to the variance request questionnaire.

                                      1545 Edgewater St




                                          Back Yard
Zoning Map




Aerial Map
VARIANCE REVIEW STANDARDS
Questions to consider when reviewing a variance request:
    a. Are there are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applying to the
       property in question or to the intended use of the property that do not apply generally to
       other properties or class of uses in the same zoning district?
    b. Is the dimensional variance necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a
       substantial property right possessed by other properties in the same zoning district and in
       the vicinity?
    c. Will the authorizing of such dimensional variance be of substantial detriment to adjacent
       properties?
    d. Is the alleged difficulty caused by the ordinance and not by any person presently having
       an interest in the property, or by any previous owner?
    e. Is the alleged difficulty founded solely upon the opportunity to make the property more
       profitable or to reduce expense to the owner?
    f. Is the requested variance the minimum action required to eliminate the difficulty?


DETERMINATION:
The following motion is offered for consideration:

I move that the variance request to allow an addition to the home with a rear lot setback of 19
feet at 1545 Edgewater St be (approved/denied), based on the following review standards listed
below (found in Section 2502 of the Zoning Ordinance) and subject to the following conditions
(if any):
    a. That there are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applying to the
        property in question or to the intended use of the property that do not apply generally to
        other properties or class of uses in the same zoning district.
    b. That such dimensional variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a
        substantial property right possessed by other properties in the same zoning district and in
        the vicinity.
    c. That the authorizing of such dimensional variance will not be of substantial detriment to
        adjacent property and will not materially impair the purposes of this chapter or the
        public interest.
    d. That the alleged difficulty is caused by the Ordinance and has not been created by any
        person presently having an interest in the property, or by any previous owner.
    e. That the alleged difficulty is not founded solely upon the opportunity to make the
        property more profitable or to reduce expense to the owner.
    f. That the requested variance is the minimum action required to eliminate the difficulty.

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