Text size: A A A

APPROVED MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
OF THE KENTWOOD ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
CITY COMMISSION CHAMBERS
NOVEMBER 17, 2014, 7:00 P.M.
 (return to index)
 
  1. Chair Derusha called the meeting to order.
 
  1. Roll Call
MEMBERS PRESENT:, William Benoit, Les Derusha, Anita Hitchcock, Richard Lenger, Kemal Hemulic, Robert Houtman, Monica Sparks
MEMBERS ABSENT:  Alan Lipner,
OTHERS PRESENT: Planner Joe Pung, Staff Secretary Monique Collier, the applicants, and 2 residents.
 
  1. Approval of the Minutes and Findings of Fact
 
 Motion by Lenger, supported by Houtman, to approve the minutes of September 15, 2014    
 
  • Motion Carried (7-0) –
  1. Public Hearing
 

Appeal #V-14-18

 
Applicant:                   Corrie Sommerdyke   
Location:                     3429 – 52nd Street SE
 
Request:                      The applicant wishes to execute a lot split/combination in order to acquire property from the adjacent parcel to the east.  The property acquisition would include a 1,200 square foot accessory structure which the applicant wishes to retain.  The applicant’s property currently has two accessory structures (576 square foot attached garage and a 1,008 square foot detached accessory building); the transferred structure would be the second detached accessory building on the property and the third accessory building overall.  Section 3.15.D.1 of the Zoning Ordinance limits the property to two accessory buildings and Section 3.15.D.4 limits the property to one detached accessory building.  The requested variances are to permit two detached accessory buildings on the property and three accessory buildings overall.
 
 
Corrie Sommerdyke, 3429 52nd Street, and Attorney Brian Pearson were present representing the request. Sommerdyke stated the property to the east has a barn owned by his twin brother who has passed away. He stated at one time the two houses and the two barns were all on one parcel. Sommerdyke stated when his parents died he and his brother each took a house and a barn. He stated their wish is to keep as much of the property in the family as they can. Sommerdyke stated the house to the east was inherited by another person not in the family.  He stated the barns they would like to keep with the other house. Sommerdyke stated nothing has changed just the boundary lines. The barns have always been there.
 
Derusha asked for clarification on splitting the property into three parcels. Pung stated in 1991 the 3 parcels were created as they stand now. Pung stated there is one house on each parcel and there is a third vacant parcel that sits behind the two that front on 52nd Street.
 
Attorney Pearson stated there is an irregular outline to the east of Sommerdyke’s property. He stated Sommerdyke (Corrie) owns the barn to the north and his brother transferred the barn to the south to him prior to his death in August of 2014. Pearson stated the lot line would be redrawn if approved. Pearson stated there is currently a white fence on the bottom and it would run north to south. Sommerdyke stated aesthetically wise nothing changed. Pearson stated functionally it would look the same as when it was a single parcel.
 
Derusha questioned the maximum size of a detached accessory buildings. Pung stated for an unplatted lot of more than an acre 960 square feet. Derusha ask if the barns they have are grandfathered in. Pung stated that is correct they would not need a variance for size since they are already non-conforming.
 
Benoit questioned how the size is grandfathered in but not the number. Pung stated right now it is conforming with respect to the number of accessory buildings. Pung stated when it was the prior variance was approved the lot was larger one big parcel, now you have the 2 homes and 2 detached accessory buildings on separate lots. Pung stated once they split it the property that the variance was granted for no longer existed. Pung stated it will need a variance to allow 3 accessory buildings on the property plus the two detached accessory buildings. Discussion ensued.
 
Attorney Pearson stated they have new lot lines regardless of the Board’s decision. Pearson stated the barn is either going to become Sommerdyke’s property or he is going to have to explore other options. He stated that this appeal is unique because they are not asking to build anything, nor asking to alter anything; the buildings are in great shape; good repairing, new roof, new siding put on them etc. Discussion ensued.
 
Houtman ask if they plan to purchase the other land from new owner of the house to the east. Attorney Pearson stated no, his brother sold Sommerdyke the property before he passed.
 
Lenger stated the Board has the option if it grants the variance, to put on a condition that if one of the buildings is torn down that it could not be rebuilt or another accessory building put up. Pung stated the Board has the option to put conditions on the variance request. Pung stated they can put in the condition, if they chose, that the buildings have to stay in their current locations.  Sommerdyke stated that would be acceptable to him.
 
Attorney Pearson stated Mr. Somerdyke is not doing this for a financial gain, it should not affect the neighborhood and it has been discussed with the neighbors.  The barns have been there over 40 years, they are simply looking for what has been there a long time to remain.
 
Derusha opened the public hearing.
 
There was no public comment.
 
Motion by Lenger, supported by Hemulic, to close the public hearing.
 
  • Motion Carried (7-0) –
 
Benoit stated point 1 is met the uniqueness of the property, they are larger parcels the barns were installed when the parcel was much larger and then there was a change to create 3 different parcels. Benoit stated point 2 is met, this situation is unique with the parcels, they are larger parcels. Benoit stated point 3 is met, they have already indicated this is not for financial return and the property itself is not going to change we are not approving a new building the building is already there.
 
Houtman stated point 1,2 are met in part to the history of the property, but point 3 he thinks is not met. He’s struggling with if such variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right similar to that possessed by other properties and he doesn’t know what that “right” is.
 
Lenger, Hitchcock, Hemulic, Sparks and Derusha concurred with Benoit that points 1,2 and 3, have been met.
 
Benoit stated point 4 is met, the barns have been there for 40 years the changing of the lot line is not going to a detriment. Benoit stated point 5 is met he is still stuck on the old variance and at what point is there a significant enough change to say the variance is not valid. He doesn’t think we are going to impair the intent of the ordinance. Benoit stated point 6 is met the property was donated to him by his brother.
 
Houtman, Lenger, Hitchcock concurred that points 4,5 and 6 have been met.
 
Hemilic stated points 4,5 and 6 have been met adding under point 5 a condition stating no tearing down or rebuilding is possible.
 
Sparks stated she agrees that points 4,5, and 6 have been met, However with a condition stating if Sommerdyke wants to tear down the barn that he’s ok as long as there is no rebuilding.
 
Derusha agreed points 4,5 and 6 have been with the understating of doing general maintenance and repair and anything beyond that is tear down.
 
Motion by Benoit, supported by Lenger, to approve V-14-18 adding the condition that these accessory buildings be maintained, but they cannot be moved or rebuilt.
1.      That there are exceptional and extraordinary circumstances or conditions applying to the property that do not apply generally to other properties in the same zoning district. The property is large, the structures existed prior to current lot buyout. Only change will be to lot lines.
2.      Due to the exceptional and extraordinary circumstances applying to the property, the condition or situation of the specific piece of property for which the variance is sought is not of so general or recurrent a nature as to make reasonable practical the formulation of a general regulation for such conditions or situations.
3.      That such variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right similar to that possessed by other properties in the same zoning district and in the vicinity.
4.      The variance will not be detrimental to adjacent property and the surrounding neighborhood.  There will be no visible change to the property or buildings, no new buildings will be constructed.
5.      Due to the exceptional and extraordinary circumstances applying to the property, the variance will not impair the intent and purpose of this Ordinance.
6.      That the immediate practical difficulty causing the need for the variance request was not created by any action of the applicant.
 
  • Motion Carried (7-0) –
 
 
 
Motion by Lenger, supported by Hemulic, to adjourn the meeting.
 
  • Motion Carried (7-0) –
 
 
Meeting adjourned at  7:30p.m.
 
                                                                        Respectfully submitted,
 
                                                                        Alan Lipner, Secretary