Barton Hills Village, Michigan

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April 17, 2006

MINUTES OF MEETING

BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS

BARTON HILLS VILLAGE

April 17, 2006

Present: Trustees Al-Awar, Boddie, Bogat, Butterwick, Laporte, Lindstrom, MacKrell, Perry and Wilkes. Absent: None.

Others attending: Atty. Lillich, Asst. Treas. Redies, Supt. Esch, BHMC President Bultman, resident Maria Paluszny and L. Poley representative Lauren Myers and associate.

The Public Hearing for the Zoning Appeal was convened by President Laporte at 6:23 PM at the Village Hall. Ms. Laporte stated that an appeal had been submitted from four BHV Trustees, objecting to the method used by the Zoning and Planning Administrator to determine if the Probst/Klein house under construction at 280 Barton North Drive complied with the height requirements of the BHV Zoning Ordinance. Public Comment:

--The decision being appealed was clearly presented in the Barton Bulletin, but no explanation was given as to the alternatives available.

There being no further public comment, the public hearing was closed at 6:27 PM.

The Public Hearing for the Variance Application was convened by President Laporte at 6:27 PM. The application was submitted by Louis Probst/Katherine Klein for variance from Section 5.03(d) (maximum height 35') of the BHV Zoning Ordinance to allow construction of a home with a roof height of 37'6" at 280 Barton North Drive.

There being no public comment, the public hearing was closed at 6:29 PM.

The Board of Zoning Appeals was convened at 6:36 PM at the Village Hall to hear the appeal of the Zoning and Planning Administrator's decision concerning the roof height of the house being constructed at 280 Barton North Drive, owned by Louis Probst/ Katherine Klein.

Present: Trustees Al-Awar, Boddie, Bogat, Butterwick, Laporte, Lindstrom, MacKrell, Perry and Wilkes. Absent: None.

Others attending: Atty. Lillich, Asst. Treas. Redies, Supt. Esch, BHMC President Bultman, resident Maria Paluszny and L. Poley representative Lauren Myers and associate.

Zoning and Planning Administrator Perry stated that his decision on the roof height was based on what he felt was the more defendable position of measuring height in the same way virtually all surrounding municipalities measure, given that the BHV Zoning Ordinance is silent on this point. Mr. Boddie gave the reason for the appeal as the fact that changing the method that has been used consistently over the past 10-12 years effectively changes the actual roof height allowed, which becomes a change in the ordinance without proper community input. He expressed concern for the precedent that may be set if the decision stands, adding that the midpoint method allows for greater variation in roof height and does not establish a definite limit. Further discussion included:

--There have not been any homes constructed in recent years that were proposed to exceed the height limit so this issue has not been discussed.

--If the measuring method is changed from contact grade/roof edge to something else, then basements need to be considered as the height may actually be greater.

--The proposed zoning amendment doesn't set limits for turrets, towers and other structures. This should be discussed.

--It would be better to address the Probst/Klein house as a variance and consider changing the Zoning Ordinance without the pressure of a project waiting for decision.

MOTION Mr. Boddie moved to grant the appeal, which would overturn the Zoning and Planning Administrator's interpretation of the Zoning Ordinance as applied to the Probst/Klein construction project. Mr. Al-Awar seconded. The motion carried with Trustees Al-Awar, Boddie, Bogat, Butterwick, Lindstrom and MacKrell voting yes; Trustees Laporte, Perry and Wilkes voting no.

The Board of Zoning Appeals then heard discussion on the application for variance submitted by Louis Probst/Katherine Klein, requesting a variance from Section 5.03(d) of the BHV Zoning Ordinance (maximum height 35') to construct a home with a roof height of 37'6" at 280 Barton North Drive. Lauren Myers, representing Mr. Probst/Ms, Klein, distributed drawings indicating the impact of the currently approved roof pitch on second floor ceiling heights and egress windows. Discussion included:

--The architect was aware of the height limit when designing the home.

--The first floor is 2 feet above grade level--if it were at grade the height difference would be only inches.

--The construction has progressed to framing the second level, but the trusses in question haven't been ordered.

--The question of practical difficulty is less stringent than undue hardship and cases based on architectural/aesthetic concerns have been upheld in court.

--Will this set a precedent of adapting too easily to owner discomfort with the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance and not taking the ordinance seriously?

--Section 10.03 sets forth two situations when a variance may be needed--by reason of exceptional topographical conditions, or by other reasons that make it difficult to carryout the strict letter of the ordinance. This gives a larger measure of flexibility to consider a particular situation on its unique merits.

--Other aspects of this project weigh in favor of the variance, including the nature of the lot, size of the house, lack of impact on neighbors and the small difference being requested.

--The neighbors to the west (Kerry) have phoned the Assistant Clerk twice to say they have no objections to this project.

--The owner is entitled to build a house of this size on this lot, and should be able to have reasonable ceiling heights. This is a minor departure from the ordinance in order to have an aesthetically pleasing design.

--The architect stated that the lower height would not be a practical design--there hasn't been any sneaking in of new plans.

--If this variance is granted, then the Zoning Ordinance is amended, this case will have no value as precedent for the new standards. What the code says at the time is what is enforceable.

Mr. Lindstrom called the question (seconded by Mr. Wilkes and carried).

MOTION Mr. Lindstrom moved to approve the request for variance from Section 5.03(d) to allow construction of a house with a roof height of 37'6" at the Probst/Klein property at 280 Barton North Drive, citing the following factors as establishing practical difficulty:

--the small amount of difference between the required height limit and the requested height,

--the lack of adverse impact on or objection from neighboring property owners,

--the size of the house in relation to the size of the lot,

--the situating of the house on the lot with relatively little of the house visible from Barton North Drive,

--the difficulties that would occur in relation to second story ceiling heights and egress windows, and

--the adverse aesthetic implications of the lower roof height.

Mr. Al-Awar seconded. The motion carried with Trustees Al-Awar, Boddie, Laporte, Lindstrom, MacKrell and Perry voting yes; Trustees Bogat, Butterwick and Wilkes voting no.

The Board of Zoning Appeals meeting was adjourned at 7:40 PM.

Jan Esch, Assistant Clerk     Approved 5/16/06 BHV, affirmed 12/11/06 BZA


  

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