OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

March 23, 2004

Agenda

MALLORY - VARIANCE - DIMENSIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR PARCELS - 9896 WEST M AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-29-355-021)

A regular meeting was conducted by the Oshtemo Charter Township Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday, March 23, 2004, commencing at approximately 3:00 p.m. at the Oshtemo Charter Township Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Millard Loy, Chairperson
Grace Borgfjord
Dave Bushouse
Duane McClung
James Turcott

MEMBERS ABSENT: None

Also present were Mary Lynn Bugge, Township Planner; James W. Porter, Township Attorney; and five other interested persons.

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 3:00 p.m.

MINUTES

The Board considered the minutes of the meeting of March 9, 2004. Mr. McClung made a motion to approve the minutes as submitted, and the motion was seconded by Grace Borgfjord. The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

MALLORY - VARIANCE - DIMENSIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR PARCELS - 9896 WEST M AVENUE - (PARCEL NO. 3905-29-355-021)

The Chairperson indicated that the next item on the Agenda was the consideration of the application of Gladys Johnson and Nancy Mallory. The Chairperson said the subject property is located at 9896 West M Avenue, being Parcel No. 3905-29-355-021, which is located in the "RR" Rural Residential District. The applicants were seeking relief from dimensional requirements to permit the parcel to be buildable. The Chairperson asked for a Staff Report. Ms. Bugge presented a report dated March 23, 2004, and the same is incorporated herein.

Ms. Bugge told the Board that the applicants were requesting a variance to make a nonconforming parcel buildable, which currently lacks sufficient frontage, area and exceeds the 4-to-1 depth-to-width ratio. She said that the parcel did not meet the dimensional criteria for a parcel, or a lot or building site in the Rural Residential District, and therefore, could not be reviewed under Section 66.203 of the Zoning Ordinance. Therefore, the applicant was requesting a variance from the dimensional criteria.

Ms. Bugge informed the Board that the parcel was a legal, nonconforming parcel until 1996, when an addition of 275 feet of depth removed its grandfathered status. She said that the additional area did bring the parcel closer to the area requirement, but also resulted in making the parcel exceed the 4-to-1 depth-to-width ratio. No change in frontage occurred. Ms. Bugge explained that the parcel currently had 100 feet of frontage, and an area of approximately 43,800 square feet, resulting in 4.75- to-1 depth-to-width ratio.

Though not relevant to the Board's consideration, Ms. Bugge told the Board she thought the applicant might wish to utilize the existing home while building a new home, which could be permitted by the Planning Director pursuant to Section 66.155 of the Zoning Ordinance.

Ms. Bugge reviewed the Standards of Approval of a Nonuse Variance (to-wit: practical difficulty). The first standard was whether the conformance would be unnecessarily burdensome, and Ms. Bugge suggested that the Board ask the question of whether there were reasonable options for compliance available, or whether reasonable use of the property exists with denial of the variance. Ms. Bugge again pointed out that the property was a legal, nonconforming parcel until 1996. She said that the property could continue to be used "as is"; however, she noted that the applicants did bring the property more into compliance with regard to area by adding additional property. However, she noted that no building permit could be issued for further constructions, renovation or remodeling without a dimensional variance.

Ms. Bugge told the Board that the second standard was substantial justice, and asked that the Board consider how the Ordinance should be applied to the applicant, as well as to other property owners in the area. Ms. Bugge then reviewed past Zoning Board of Appeals' decisions for consistency in considering the applicants' request. Ms. Bugge reviewed the following requests: Hoikka, Parker, Campbell, Eichelberg, Pattison, Rief, Ekema, and Bianco and noted that it was most similar to the Campbell request.

Ms. Bugge explained that the next standard to consider was whether or not there were unique physical characteristics. She said she was not aware of any in this case.

Ms. Bugge next turned the Board's attention to the standard of whether or not the hardship was self-created, and she noted that the additional property was the result of the applicants' actions.

The final standard that Ms. Bugge raised with the Board was whether or not the spirit of the Ordinance could be observed, the public health, safety and welfare secured, and substantial justice done if the variance was granted. Ms. Bugge pointed out that Section 66.206 of the Township Zoning Ordinance does allow the Zoning Board of Appeals to grant variances from dimensional standards when there are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships, and the spirit of the Ordinance is still observed, public safety, health, and welfare secured, and substantial justice accomplished.

The Chairperson asked if there were any questions for the Township Planner. Hearing none, he asked to hear from the applicant. Nancy Mallory told the Board that she may have misled Ms. Bugge with regard to her intentions. She said that they did not want to live in the house while constructing their new home, but that she had asked whether the Ordinance would allow that, if they chose. However, she told the Board that it was their intent to totally demolish the existing home and build a new home in relatively the same location as the current home.

Ms. Mallory told the Board that the addition to the home was not placed on a foundation or cement footings, but rather on a wood foundation. She said that, in addition to the poor foundation, the roof leaked, resulting in black mold in the home. She said given the cost to rebuild the addition, it was more cost efficient to demolish the existing structure and build a new home on site. Ms. Mallory introduced the Board to her mother, who owns the property east of the subject property, and her uncle, who owns the property west of the subject parcel.

Ms. Mallory asked for the record whether her uncle or mother objected to the granting of the variance. Both her uncle and Ms. Mallory's mother indicated that they did not object to granting the proposed variance.

The Chairman asked for further comments. Mr. Earl Mawson asked if it was legal to use treated lumber for a foundation. The Chairperson said that it is not the business of the Zoning Board of Appeals to address such issues. Ms. Bugge clarified for the Board that, regardless of Ms. Mallory's intentions, she was not asking for Board action on the issue of having a temporary second dwelling, and therefore, it was not an issue for the Board to address regardless of the applicants' intentions.

Mr. Bushouse asked if the parcel from which the additional property was purchased for the subject parcel was nonconforming. Ms. Bugge indicated that the parcel was nonconforming, but a deviation could still be considered pursuant to Section 66.203. Mr. Bushouse asked if the property owner should be notified of this fact, and it was the consensus of the Board that the Township should wait and provide this information if they request a building permit.

Mr. McClung asked if the only reason the subject property was nonconforming was the depth-to-width ratio. Ms. Bugge said that it was not only nonconforming due to the depth-to-width ratio, but it did not have sufficient frontage or area to be considered a buildable parcel within the "RR" Rural Residential District.

The Chairperson asked if there were any further questions or comments, and hearing none, he closed the public portion of the meeting. He asked the Board to begin its deliberations.

The Chairperson began by saying that he thought the current application was similar to other requests brought before the Zoning Board of Appeals. Mr. Bushouse asked that it be noted that the property had been brought more into compliance by adding more property to the subject parcel. Mr. McClung said he thought it was significant that the property had been brought more into compliance. He said granting the variance was not significant, given the property had previously been considered a grandfathered parcel, and now it had been enlarged to bring it more into compliance with the area requirements of the Ordinance. Ms. Borgfjord said she was satisfied with the request. The Chairperson asked Mr. Turcott for his input. Mr. Turcott said he was fine with the variance request.

The Chairperson explained that the Board had considered a number of depth-to-width ratio cases over the years, and that they typically were not granted if there were other options available. He added, in this case, that he did not see a lot of options, and the fact that the subject property was brought more into compliance was a significant factor.

The Chairperson asked if there was a motion to grant or deny the variance request. Mr. McClung made a motion to approve the variance as requested. The motion was seconded by Mr. Turcott, and the Chairperson called for comments in support of the motion. It was the consensus of the Board that the requested variance was similar to other variances granted by the Board. The Board noted it was significant that the lot had previously been a grandfathered lot, which had been added to, bringing it more into compliance with the area requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. Also, the Board members believed that denying the variance would be unnecessarily burdensome in that the property would be unbuildable. The Chairperson asked if there were any further comments, and hearing none, called for a vote on the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

OTHER BUSINESS

There being no other business, the Chairperson adjourned the meeting.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at approximately 3:21 p.m.

OSHTEMO CHARTER TOWNSHIP
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

By:
Millard Loy, Chairperson

By:
Grace Borgfjord

By:
Dave Bushouse

By:
Duane McClung

By:
James Turcott

Minutes Prepared:
March 26, 2004

Minutes Approved:
, 2004