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BZA Meeting Minutes - October 27, 2014

Chairman Fritz called the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting to order at 6:00pm.

PRESENT AT ROLL CALL: Mr. Bolek, Mrs. Cooper, Mr. Fritz, Mr. Stanard
ABSENT: Ms. Corcoran, Mayor Renda

OTHERS PRESENT: Dave Strichko, Building Inspector, Aimee Lane, Assistant Law Director, Jeff Filarski, Village Engineer, Sherri Arrietta, Clerk of Council

Mr. Fritz stated that since there is not a quorum to approve the minutes from the September 22, 2014 meeting, he is going to defer approval until next month.

Chairman Fritz declared the public hearing open at 6:03pm. At this time, Mrs. Lane administered the oath to those who wanted to speak at the hearing.

Richard Rule-Hoffman
36960 Chagrin Blvd.
Area Variances – Front Yard Setback
(2) Side Yard Setbacks & Driveway Setback

Mr. Richard Rule-Hoffman, property owner, was present at the meeting. Mr. Fritz informed the members that Mr. Filarski determined that the front setback is not required. He further informed them that the required side yard setbacks are 20 feet, not 35 feet as originally thought, therefore, the request for each side yard variance will be for 15.03 feet. Mr. Rule-Hoffman stated that this lot his very narrow (62 x 311 ft.). He stated that he is proposing to build a 52 x 63 ft. house on this lot in order to maximize the available space while still making an acceptable dwelling for a family to live in. Mr. Rule-Hoffman stated that he would require a variance for both side yard setbacks (15.03 ft.) as well as for the driveway, in the amount of 5.03 feet.

Chairman Fritz declared the public hearing closed at 6:05pm.

Mr. Stanard stated that he spoke to one of Mr. Rule-Hoffman’s neighbors, who is also a neighbor of his, and while she is happy that someone is going to be putting a house on this property, she voiced some concern about building within 5 feet of the property line without encroaching onto her property. He stated that on Mr. Rule-Hoffman’s application he stated that the Village in some way gave him the indication that variances based upon hardship are easy to come by. Mr. Stanard stated that he does not believe that our residents necessarily want that to be the norm and would ask if there is any way he could “pinch” it down a little to get a closer to the benchmark. He stated that we had a similar case last month where the applicant was asking to be within 5 feet of the property line and they modified their drawing so as not to be so close to the side yards. Mr. Rule-Hoffman stated that he has really worked with the architect to get to the “bare bones” of what could be an acceptable home for a family on this piece of property.

Mr. Fritz stated that as it relates to the applicant last month that was requesting to be within 5 feet of the property line, they had a little more room to work with and was able to change the orientation and move the house further back. He stated that this existing non-conforming lot is a lot more restrictive than the one last month and members should note that. Mr. Fritz also made mention that the neighbors of Mr. Rule-Hoffman did receive letters and therefore if they truly took issue, they could have been in attendance at the meeting tonight. He stated that altering a request like this in order to get closer to 20’ would be difficult and therefore that should be considered as well.

Mrs. Cooper stated that she appreciates that Mr. Rule-Hoffman has tried to work within his parameters, however, when you add landscaping to the side of the house, that will take up about 2 feet, then you only have 3 feet left to work with to get your lawnmower back there, etc. She stated that she agrees with Mr. Stanard that 5 feet is really tight.

Mr. Bolek stated that he is struggling with this because while he realizes that this is an irregular shaped lot, he can see a gross taking of land with no consideration to try to minimize it. He stated that he does not understand the full 22 feet of pavement for 70 feet of driveway. Mr. Bolek stated that he understands making the driveway wider near the garage in order to get in and out; however, he does not feel it needs to be that wide for the entire length of the drive. He stated that the same could be done for the sides of the house; they could undulate so as to give some relief in areas to the 5 foot setback. It will also be a more attractive side elevation. Mr. Rule-Hoffman stated that they are trying to have adequate space for everyone as well as the ability to get all the cars in and out; they cannot back out onto Chagrin Blvd. nor can they park on it as well. He also stated that he does not want a two story home, so he is trying to have at least 2,000 sq. ft. on one floor. Mr. Bolek suggested the Mr. Rule-Hoffman have his architect take a more creative look at this and he informed him that he would not be inclined to approve such a large variance. He stated that there is a better way to make the side elevations more attractive other than just a blank wall, while also minimizing the variance request. Mr. Filarski also advised that there is some room to work with to the rear of the property, therefore square footage could be added to the rear of the house in order to meet his square footage requirements and lessen the amount of square footage on the sides of the house. Mr. Bolek also suggested coming up with a different floor plan that would minimize the side yard as well.

Mr. Fritz stated to Mr. Rule-Hoffman that he is hearing a lot of feedback that the 5 foot side yard variance is too excessive. He stated that at this time, he is going to defer to Mrs. Lane as to how they should proceed.

Mrs. Lane stated that one of the criteria that this board considers is if the request is the minimum necessary. She informed Mr. Rule-Hoffman that if this board were to vote on this variance tonight and it was denied, he would be barred from coming back to this body at a future date with this same plan seeking approval. Often times, this board will give the applicant a chance to step back and table this request so that they can re-work the plan and possibly come before us again in the future. Mr. Rule-Hoffman agreed to table the issue until a future date.

Mr. Stanard made a motion seconded by Mrs. Cooper to table the side yard and driveway setbacks located at 36960 Chagrin Blvd.

AYES: Mr. Bolek, Mrs. Cooper, Mr. Fritz, Mr. Stanard

Mrs. Cooper made a motion seconded by Mr. Stanard to adjourn the meeting at 6:37pm.

AYES: Mr. Bolek, Mrs. Cooper, Mr. Fritz, Mr. Stanard

Respectfully Submitted,
Sherri Arrietta, Clerk of Council

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